How to Make Gardening Easier as You Age

Gardening can be harder on your body as you get older, but there are simple changes you can make so you don't have to give up this hobby.

A couple smiles while gardening.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rachel Baer, 56, loves working in her large garden in East Lyme, Conn., but over time the big jobs have become more physically taxing. Last year, she decided to create a garden with plants designed to attract bees and butterflies. “I had a huge amount of soil delivered,” she says, but distributing it around the garden, something she used to be able to do in one day, had to be spread out over several days. “It was one wheelbarrow at a time,” says Baer, who teaches yoga to seniors. “I had to accept that I wouldn’t get it done at the same speed and rate as I would have in the past.”

Gardening can be harder on aging bodies. Joints stiffen up, kneeling for prolonged periods hurts, and bending and reaching can strain muscles. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up this hobby. You just may need to garden differently, add special tools and know your limits.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Alina Tugend is a long-time journalist who has worked in Southern California, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., London and New York. From 2005 to 2015, she wrote the biweekly Shortcuts column for The New York Times business section, which received the Best in Business Award for personal finance by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Atlantic, O, the Oprah Magazine, Family Circle and Inc. magazine. In 2011, Riverhead published Tugend's first book, Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong.