Let's face it; the typical American backyard-- or for that matter, the typical American home-- is not exactly a friendly place for folks in wheelchairs, with limb differences or mobility issues. That broad expanse of lawn is hard as heck to roll a chair across, and a lot of decks and patios have a couple of steps up and down. The uneven surface of the grass is very hard on Jer's feet, and mowing the lawn is really tough for him. So we're probably not doing our property values any good with the changes we're making, like taking out most of the lawn and replacing it with a patio space, building a deck with ramps and putting in high raised beds. Luckily we're planning on being in this house forever, so we're not overly concerned about what we're doing to our ability to resell by making the yard more accessible for our whole family instead of just me. The space should hopefully be pretty attractive by the time we're done, even if it's not the conventional mowed green expanse.
Honestly it makes me a little mad that I even have to worry about that sort of thing. Wouldn't it be so much easier if homes were built so that everyone could have full access to them, inside and out, and not just healthy young people? As Connor gets older, there are friends of ours that it's more and more difficult to see because we can't get his wheelchair up the stairs or through doors in the house. While I understand that older homes weren't built with accessiblity in mind and I can't expect everyone to retrofit their homes just for my family, I do get a little ticked whenever I see new houses going up that have steps up to every entrance, bedrooms all on the second floor and a tiny guest bathroom downstairs. I just have a hard time understanding why anyone would spend all that money to build a brand new, state of the art house that they can't live in if they break a leg.
So we'll keep plugging along in the backyard to make it available to everyone in our family, and hopefully in another six or seven years we'll have a gorgeous space back there we all can enjoy. Maybe if we find we need to sell the house a few decades down the line, everybody else will have caught on to the idea and our kind of house and backyard won't be a liability rather than an asset.
I sure hope so.
You can find Jess at her blog, Connor's Song, where she writes about her daily life as a stay at home mom, military spouse and roller derby queen.
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