As a good proportion of us at Thames Valley Landscapes are parents, we’ve first-hand experience into how difficult it is to convince our kids to get outside and reclaim their rightful space in nature. Yet we also notice that, once they’re out in the great outdoors, they quickly reconnect with the elements and start enjoying the freedom that only being outside can bring.
With the summer holiday’s looming, we want to share some of our ideas into how to create a garden that will help lure your little ones outside, keep them amused – and give you a bit of space.
Don’t worry. It doesn’t involve turning your garden into a giant sand-pit or obstacle course. Because when designing a child-friendly garden, we always remember that you’ll be using it too!
Here are a few of our suggestions for how you can create a kid friendly garden – that grown-ups will also love to use:
Zone your garden
Try to zone your space so that there is a place for the kids to play and explore, as well as somewhere for you to relax. You may want to arrange this so that you have a clear view of the area where the children are playing from your chill-out zone.
If space is at a premium you could always double up by installing a swing seat; the perfect place for adults to relax and for children to play combined (but do make sure that any swing seat you choose will not trap little fingers).
Children do not need expensive equipment to have fun in the garden. There’s no doubt they’ll enjoy a swing, a climbing frame or a trampoline if you install one, but there are other, much less expensive options which you can adapt as children get older. A mud kitchen, for example, is a treat for toddlers and young children.
All you need are a few old pans and spoons and you’re away!
If you do want to add purpose built play equipment, consider options that will blend in with your garden; bright plastic play equipment will stand out, but the wooden versions (although more expensive) will look much nicer. A sunken trampoline, similarly, will stand out much less than the raised kind – and might be a safer option too.
Every child loves a den and no child-friendly garden is complete without a hidey hole of some kind. The possibilities are endless.
Use woven willow for a living den, put up a teepee, a Wendy house or even build a tree house if you have a suitable tree. If there is a chance children will be jumping from the den (or indeed any area of the garden) make sure a soft landing area is installed.
Get the kids involved
Gardens provide a great place for kids to play and learn at the same time. When you’re thinking about designing a garden for kids, don’t forget that they love to plant seeds, watch them grow and, most importantly, pick and eat the produce.
Strawberries are a lovely option. They look and taste good and add to their five a day!
Sunflowers are always a hit with kids and herbs like mint provide another sensory dimension with wonderful smells.
Turf, as well as being the perfect surface for play, is good for crawling, toddling and soft landings. Kids will appreciate a good area of grass for running around, football, handstands and cartwheels.
If turf won’t work in your garden, you could try soft bark chippings as an alternative.
Brick, stone and concrete make good surfaces for bike riding and ball bouncing, but are not good for soft landings, so plan carefully where these will go. Kids love to follow a path, so try to include some sort of trail around the garden.
Contact Thames Valley Landscapes
So there we have it, five ideas for filling your garden with curiosities that will help fill their days. If you’re keen to give your garden a family-friendly make-over in time for the summer, then don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can’t guarantee the sunshine, but we can promise an outdoor space that will provide safe outdoor entertainment for the kids that older family members can also enjoy.
Call us on 01628 629720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.