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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
  • Acknowledgements
  • Liability Statement
  • Reproduction of material
  • Glossary
  • Executive Summary
    • Project Aims
    • Overview of Results
    • Conclusion
  • Introduction
  • Aims
  • Problem Statements
  • Research Methodology
    • Literature Review
    • Analysis
    • Case Study Approach
    • Scope of Work
    • Limitations
  • 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
    • Space
      • Inclusive garden design elements
    • Links: Walkways
    • Access – threshold entrance design
      • Providing vehicle and parking access
      • Weather Protection
      • 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
      • How the Cases are documented
    • Case 1: Interwar Californian Bungalow
    • Case 2: Strata Title Block
    • Case 3: Queenslander
      • Overview of Case Studies
      • Results
  • Conclusion
  • Further Research
  • References
  • Appendices
  • A: Literature Search Strategy
  • B: Planting Guide for access and enablement
    • Plants and accessibility
      • Accessible Garden elements
      • Planting Schemes
  • C: Australian and International Legislative Context

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