Home modifications outside the house: making the outside more accessible for people with disability

Home modifications outside the house: making the outside more accessible for people with disability

When planning NDIS home modifications, the focus is often on what goes on inside the home rather than outside. However, accessibility goes beyond indoor modifications – in many cases, the NDIS will also provide funding to modify the outdoor environment.

Just as indoor modifications can make homes more accessible and liveable, outdoor modifications also play a big role in affecting participant’s independence, safety, and routines. Few NDIS participants will spend all their time indoors, after all – whether it’s going to the shops or continuing a gardening hobby, outdoor modifications are key in enabling and empowering people with disability.

Oftentimes, the emphasis is on indoor modifications. While important, helping participants meet their goals requires a holistic approach towards building modifications that looks both inside and outside the home itself. That’s why today we’ve put together this article discussing the various ways our NDIS builders in Melbourne can make outdoor spaces safer and more accommodating for people with disability.

NDIS builders in Melbourne concreting flat garden path, creating even ground and removing tripping hazards


How outdoor modifications can…

… help participants participate in the community

The NDIS provides funding to promote the health and wellbeing of people with disability. This goes beyond physical wellbeing and health – it also encompasses mental health, social wellbeing, and overall quality of life. Many participants will have goals such as:

  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • Shopping and run errands independently
  • Attending work or school

Removing outdoor barriers allow participants to leave and return home independently. And that in turn can have a big impact on a participants’ mental and social wellbeing.

… improve safety

Many people who live with disability are at a higher risk of injury or accident. Others may not be able to recover from an accident such as a fall easily. Home modifications play a crucial role in preventing accidents and helping avoid outcomes such as these.

In many cases, the outdoor environment can pose just as many risks as the indoor environment. Outdoor NDIS home modifications focus on identifying the most likely causes of such accidents in front yards, gardens, garages, and more, and providing modifications that reduce or eliminate the risks.

… reduce maintenance

It isn’t just mobility that needs to be factored in when modifying outdoor spaces – equally as important is maintenance. Outdoor areas often require ongoing maintenance:

  • Mowing lawns
  • Watering plants
  • Pulling weeds
  • Attending to garden beds

People who live with disability may find it difficult to keep up with tasks such as these. Fortunately, there are ways to modify outdoor spaces to reduce the amount of maintenance required for gardens and outdoor areas.


What NDIS landscaping services are available? Our NDIS builders in Melbourne explain outdoor modifications

Improved access with house ramp installation

Many houses in Australia are built on uneven blocks of land. Others may have entrances that are up a series of steps. Is it any wonder that house ramp installation is one of the most common outdoor modifications requests?

In addition to installing new ramps, the NDIS may also fund modifications and upgrades to existing ramps. Participants’ needs can change over time, and that may mean extending ramps or replacing them with gentler, less steep ramps.

Decking installation

A deck can be for so much more than outdoor entertaining. For people with disability, a wooden deck can significantly improve accessibility and allow them to enjoy the outdoor areas of their home.

A deck, patio, alfresco, or extended landing provides a flat and even surface for participants when they step out of the home. In houses with detached garages or sheds, decks and patios can be extended to reduce barriers and make moving between these different areas easier. Finally, decking can be combined with ramps and built to sit flush with exits, providing stepless access outside as well as in.

Low-maintenance garden design

Low-maintenance garden design reduces the amount of work needed to maintain outdoor spaces, making life easier for people with disability. NDIS landscaping services may swap maintenance-heavy lawns for decking or gravel to reduce mowing, replace existing plants with less fussy ones, or cover garden beds in mulch to stop weeds.

In addition to making maintenance work easier, modifications such as these can also make outdoor spaces safer. For example, low-maintenance gardens are less prone to out-of-control garden growth, reducing tripping hazards and obstructions.

Accessible garden design

Accessible garden design focuses on removing barriers and obstacles that most designers and homeowners don’t account for. This can include:

  • Levelling off uneven ground
  • Installing barriers and guardrails along paths and garden beds
  • Removing garden clutter that might create debris and other hazards
  • Building easily-accessible sitting areas for participants to rest
  • Improving drainage to reduce muddy and slippery surfaces

Accessible garden design is about more about supporting mobility, however. Some participants’ goals may be to maintain their current lifestyle. In cases like this, gardens may also be updated with modifications like raised garden beds, allowing residents to continue their gardening hobby.

Driveway and garage modifications

Car ownership can open many opportunities and provide a higher level of freedom for people with disability. This is why the NDIS will often provide funding to modify cars, making them easier to drive safely for people with disability.

In addition to modifying cars however, the NDIS will often fund modifications to garages, parking spots, and driveways as well. Modifications such as ramps, transfer equipment, and raised garage platforms can make entering and exiting a car easier. And that in turn allows participants to come and go more freely.

Door and outdoor gate modifications

Conditions that affect fine motor skills can turn ordinary locks and latches into barriers that make it hard for people to participate in the community. Replacing these fittings with more accessible alternatives can allow people with disability to come and go with ease. In some cases, the NDIS may also provide funding for assisted or automated opening mechanisms.

The NDIS may also provide funding to replace worn-out gates and locks. While a rusted side gate latch or finnicky lock may not post a problem for most, it can create challenges for people who live with disability. An NDIS builder in Melbourne may be able to reduce these barriers by replacing these worn fixtures with new ones.

Creating accessible pathways

For some NDIS participants, even small irregularities in surfaces can pose significant tripping hazards. Paver and stone pathways are aesthetically appealing, but their uneven surfaces can create tripping hazards for mobility aid users, especially if there are large gaps between stones.

To reduce the risk of falls, NDIS landscaping might:

  • Fill gaps in a path or driveway
  • Widen footpaths and walkways
  • Flatten existing paths
  • Resurface paths with non-slip textures

These are just some of the ways our NDIS builders in Melbourne can create more accessible pathways – it all depends on the property and the participant.


Not all outdoor modifications involve moving dirt, laying down new pathways, or building ramps. In some cases, all it takes is better lighting to reduce risk and make the outdoor environment more accessible for NDIS participants.

In many cases, the NDIS may provide funding for outdoor lighting to illuminate pathways and identify potential hazards for participants who live with vision impairments. While it’s a small change, it can have a big impact and help reduce the likelihood of trips and falls.


Our NDIS builders in Melbourne offer a range of different home modification services

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to home modifications. Each person’s needs and goals are unique, requiring a bespoke approach. Moreover, it requires an NDIS builder that has experience providing modifications in all parts of the property, including outdoors.

At Restore Home Modifications, our team of Master Builders have worked with NDIS participants to offer comprehensive accessibility solutions. In addition to outdoor modifications and landscaping, we also have experience in:

Whether we’re working with you directly or supporting occupational therapists with home modifications, our team is ready to support you every step of the way. You can reach us by phone at 1300 333 746, by email at info@restorehm.com.au or by filling in an online quote.