Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Design Needs

Design Basics

Exteriors and Interiors

Exterior Design Elements

Interior Design Elements

Landscaping

Landscaping can be used effectively to help people with vision loss find their way. For example, bushes planted on either side of a building’s main doors can help provide tactile and olfactory (fragrance) indicators of the building’s entrance.

Landscaping can also negatively impact the usability of pathways if permitted to encroach into walking routes and cast shadows that reduce visibility and affect the melting of snow and ice. Ongoing maintenance along accessible routes is important.

Planters and other landscaping elements should be located out of primary paths of travel. The edges of planting beds that abut accessible routes should be clearly defined using curbs or changes in paving materials that incorporate colour and texture contrast. Potential obstacles such as tree gratings should be cane detectable. Guy wires should never be located within an accessible route.

Avoid planting thorny plants, poisonous plants, plants with large seed pods or fruit-bearing trees in or near public spaces. Their branches may grow and interfere with the path of travel, or they might drop leaves, berries or other matter that could cause slips and falls. Overhanging objects and plantings within building landscapes should be no lower than 2,030 mm along walking routes.

To accommodate guide dogs and other service animals, provide a grassy area or an area with a permeable surface as a relief area, as well as an easily located garbage can for the disposal of waste.

Use low landscaping to disguise amenity elements that must be provided but could potentially impede pedestrian routes. For example, landscaping can act as a buffer between pedestrians and fire hydrants, gas meters and fire hose standpipes while still allowing maintenance and safety personnel easy access to them.