Some years ago an old friend’s wife had a severe stroke which left her paralysed on one side and confined to a wheelchair.
These friends lived on a sloping road, and to make things worse the house could only be accessed from the road by a set of steps that included a ninety degree turn and then a long (80 feet approximately) slope with steps at intervals, up to the back door of the house. The front door was up another set of steps off the side of the slope. The gardens were either alongside the slope or up yet more steps at the rear of the house. Both of my friends were devoted to the house so staying put was their preferred option.
After an initial period of confinement, my friends wife said she would like access to the rear garden if possible, so my friend and I started discussing ways and means of realising this. We discussed several ways of achieving the desired result including ways of accessing the road and gardens.
We even discussed the possibility of a water powered lift as used to negotiate steep cliffs at several seaside locations. I even made a short mock up to prove the method, although sheer logistics prevented this method the cost would not have proved prohibitive.
The adopted solution was to make a chequer plate ramp from the back door, around the house side and up onto a patio at the rear. The back door had steps down to an existing path and the slope, but the path round the house was not level, narrow, and steep in places, with a set of steps up to the patio. It was decided to make the ramp from the back door level and to gently slope it up to the steps, with a steeper but quite short ramp up the steps and to even out as much of the slope as possible. A lift up section and short ramp was incorporated next to the back door to allow access down onto the slope to the road. A gate, railings, and short set of steps were incorporated into the ramp at the rear of the house to give access to other parts of the garden. Railings and a gate were added to the long slope parts. Other lift up sections were added near the back door/top of the lng slope area to be used if required. The lift up parts used trailer Antiluce fittings to hold them in the raised positions.
An electric scissor lift was made and sunk into the ground next to the front door, to allow access to a small patio overlooking the valley.
To complete the access the slope was modified by removing the few in-built steps and a wheelchair lift placed next to the steps onto the road. A gate was made to prevent unauthorised access to the wheelchair lift area.
Incorporated into all this was a winch to prevent the wheelchair from running away down the long slope.
The ramps were steel chequer plates about three feet by three feet, each one had recessed lifting handles and retaining catches. The chequer plates were supported on two inch steel angles and short steel legs as needed.
The whole construction took several months to complete, working evenings and weekends and was finished in green paint with non slip plastic “beads” incorporated on all walking surfaces. The gates were finished in nylon reinforced black gate paint.