Creating an outdoor space that both you and your children will enjoy spending time in can be a challenge. However, with some strategic planning and design, you can craft a garden that caters to youngsters without sacrificing style or sophistication. Follow these five tips when aiming to design a family-friendly garden.
Incorporate a Designated Play Area
Rather than have toys and play equipment strewn about the garden, designate a specific zone for the kids. Section off an area of the lawn or a corner of the garden and equip it with a playhouse, sandbox, chalkboard, hopscotch mat, and other engaging items. Keeping these elements corralled helps the rest of the garden maintain an orderly appearance. Select play items made of durable wood or plastic, which blend into natural environments.
Invest in a Summer House
A charming summer house serves multiple purposes in a family garden. It provides shelter on hot or rainy days so the kids have a place for crafts, reading, or napping. With added electricity and furnishings, it also offers extra living space for play dates. A summer house with flower boxes underneath its windows or a green roof also adds visual interest to the garden. Opt for a location along the garden’s edge so the structure doesn’t dominate the landscape. Cheap summer houses are affordable and will enhance your garden in the best possible way.
Include Child-Friendly Plants
When selecting plants and flowers for a kid-centric garden, opt for interesting textures, colours, and shapes that will capture young imaginations. Ruby-red stalks of rhubarb, towering sunflowers with chunky seeds, fluffy ornamental grasses and sweet peas twining up a trellis all appeal to kids. Durable, low-maintenance shrubs like boxwood and compact evergreens make nice informal hedges but won’t scratch little bodies. For fragrance, include lavender, rosemary, and other herbs.
Add Water Features
The sight and sound of flowing or falling water fascinate children. Integrate a kid-safe water feature like a birdbath fountain, a rock-lined runnel, or even just an outdoor tap over a stone basin. Supervise youngsters around ponds or water gardens to prevent accidents. Fanciful gazing balls, ceramic mushrooms with openings to catch and redirect water, and other ornamental touches turn drainage areas into playful features.
Mind Maintenance Duties
When planning and installing your family-friendly garden, keep future upkeep in mind. Opt for durable hardscaping materials like stone, gravel and wood chips that require little preservation and withstand heavy use. Select native or adapted drought-resistant plants over thirsty exotics to minimise watering duties. Use borders and pathways to contain loose materials like bark nuggets or pea gravel so they don’t migrate and create tripping hazards. By planning ahead for easy care and cleanliness, you’ll spend more time enjoying your garden with your kids.
Invest some strategic thought into how you and your little ones will utilise the garden. Chat with your children about what outdoor elements might bring them joy. With some clever planning, you can create a landscape all family members can share for years to come.