Throughout this and many other accessibility guides it’s strongly suggested that surfaces be firm and slip resistant. The importance of this is extremely high as people with sight loss and other perceptual challenges may have compromised balance. For people living with sight loss, texture and high colour contrast aids in navigation especially in out door spaces. 

The following recommendations were developed by DeafBlind Ontario Services in 2020 in order to provide information on accessible spaces for people who are deafblind.  

CNIB would like to thank DeafBlind Ontario Services for their permission to reproduce a small extract from their report. The full document (in English only) can be found here.  

Lighting levels (in Lux) required by various public spaces.
Materials Pros Cons
Asphalt Slip resistant. Smooth and hard; good for mobility aids. Easy to maintain. Good for patios, walkways, pathways, gazebo floors May become rough with time. Colour may fade reducing contrast to adjacent surfaces. May break over time, especially over roots of trees. Proper drainage required to prevent water from pooling. Sealants may be required over time
Interlocking Stones Variety of textures. Variety of colours. Good for patios, walkways, pathways gazebo floors. Aesthetically appealing May be slippery when wet. May provide firm, bumpy surfaces (depends if edges are bevelled). Stones need to be properly installed to ensure level surfaces. Periodic lifting of stones with freezing and thawing resulting in potential tripping hazard
Paving Stones Smooth; ideal for mobility aids. Variety of colours. Suitable for patios, walkways, pathways and gazebo floors. Easy to maintain and clean Slippery when wet. Tripping edges, due to movement over time
Poured Concrete Not slippery when wet provided surfaces are brush finished or stamped with a texture. Very smooth; ideal for mobility aids. Suitable for patios, walkways, pathways, porches and gazebo floors More expensive and difficult to maintain than individual paving slabs. Mainly white/grey although concrete may be coloured with chemical finishes. Subject to cracking
Rubberized Surfaces Slip resistant when surfaces are textured. Available in smooth and textured material. Smooth and level. Excellent resilience. Easy to clean. Comes in a variety of colours. Easy to maintain May be expensive. Staining may occur. Smooth textures may cause slipping. Grease spills may create slipping problems. May instigate environmental allergies
Cedar and Pressure – Treated Woods Provides some resilience. Slip resistant when dry. Firm but bumpy surface. May be stained in a variety of colours. Easy to maintain. Suitable for decks, porches and gazebo floors Slippery when wet. Deteriorate with time and exposure. May break under pressure
Woodchips Slip resistant when dry. Available in a variety of colours. Resilient, good for those prone to falling. May be used for pathways and floors. Requires ongoing maintenance to ensure ruts are filled, and surfaces are well covered. Weeding may be required. Surfaces need to be replaced. Difficult to move mobility aids over.
Wood Composite and Engineered Decking Most manufactured decking is slip resistant dry or wet. Looks and feels like wood. Firm surface but bumpy. Resilient, easy to maintain. Variety of colours. Suitable for walkways, decks, porches. Low tolerance to vibration. Bumpy. May be expensive.