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Occasional Research Papers

HMinfo Occasional Research Papers are individually commissioned research papers on existing or emerging issues in home design and home modifications for older people, for people with disability, or for carers. Read more

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Landscape Modification: an alternative to residential access ramps and lifts

Authors: Bridge, C., Carnemolla, P.
Published: 11th July 2014
Audience: Consumers, Government/NGOs/Peaks, Industry, Librarians/Researchers/Students
ISBN: 978-0-7334-30


This research paper explores and analyses the approach of improving accessibility to homes by modifying the surrounding landscape as an alternative to installing a ramp or lift. The ability for landscape modification to effectively resolve accessibility problems to a home is not a new concept (Mace, 1984), however it is an underexplored access solution. Although ramps and lifts effectively provide access, they can also detract from the heritage or aesthetics of a home (Smith, 2006), reduce perceived home value (Behe, 2005) and contribute to a sense of vulnerability to crime (Vincent, 2009).

This analysis is presented as a best-practice guide to landscape modification for homes and considers three case studies that implement an accessible landscape modification concept.

Publication History

1st edition Landscape Modification: an alternative to residential access ramps and lifts by Phillippa Carnemolla and Catherine Bridge, March  2012.  Reprinted July 2014

Table of Contents


Publication History 

Contribution of Authors 


Liability Statement

Reproduction of material


Executive Summary 

Project Aims 

Overview of Results 




Problem Statements 

Research Methodology 

Literature Review  


Case Study Approach 

Scope of Work 


Foundations for accessible landscape solutions 

Modification and Redesign Approach 

Landscape Assessment and Classification 

The Residential Landscape 

The home entrance 

The front garden 

Landscape theory and landscape modification for accessibility 

Benefits of a landscape modification approach 

Issues with Existing Approaches 

Limitations of a landscape modification approach 

Reference Guide – assessing for and modifying accessible landscape entrances 

Stage 1: Site Assessment

Stage 2: Accessible Built Environment Elements 


1.2 Inclusive garden design elements 

Links: Walkways 

Access – threshold entrance design 

3.2 Providing vehicle and parking access 

3.3 Weather Protection 

3.4 Turning area and door access 

Elements that can support accessibility 

Retrofitting accessible landscapes 

Case-Study Examples 

Australian Residential Architecture Types 

Selection criteria for housing styles 

Final selection of housing styles 

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