If, like us, you are a family who love to be outdoors then you will no doubt know that there is nothing better than having a garden which can be used and enjoyed by both children and adults alike. This is especially relevant during the school holidays when you might not have the time or money to go on day trips but still want the kids to be able to burn off their energy.
The best way to approach a child-friendly garden is to split it into zones. It doesn’t matter whether you have a large space to fill or a small garden, there should be a way of effectively splitting it into different parts.
Firstly, the adults section. If you want to use your garden to entertain then you’ll need an area which can be used to set up garden furniture and perhaps a BBQ. You might not have the space to leave outdoor living furniture out all summer but having space for this where it won’t be in the way of children playing is key. Even if you just want somewhere to set up a deckchair to enjoy the sun and fresh air yourself, create a small kid-free section of the garden in which to do this.
For children, ideally try to give them an area which can house all of their items be it a swing set, a trampoline, a sand pit and all their other bits and bobs. If you have young children and you want to be able to keep an eye on them then you should have this area closest to the house. If you have older children then it makes sense to have this area at the very rear of the garden to keep any balls away from breakable windows and to allow them their own space to tear around.
A dedicated playing area for children can ensure that you can keep any flowers or plants clear of being trampled on, that children know where to play and that you can create a surface which works and can handle wear and tear. You might decide to lay bark chipping down or astroturf or just stick with a plain expanse of lawn. Something soft for landing on which is easy to maintain is going to be the name of the game here.
You could also invest in a large storage unit which can be used solely by the kids to throw all of their outdoor games and toys in after a long day spent playing. It should have a secure lid but be easily accessible so that the kids can just help themselves whenever they want something rather than having to disturb you. You also won’t need to worry about them having to navigate the shed or garage trying to get something out either.
Garden toys can be expensive if you invest in everything going. In our personal experience if you are going to invest in anything then a trampoline is a excellent option; you can get them in various sizes to fit most gardens and we have had one for the last three years with it being used all year round when the weather is clear. It is a great energy burner and one which never seems to get old. Just be sure your children are old enough to use the trampoline and make sure you include a net to stop any accidents should they fall when bouncing.
It is also important to ensure that your garden is secure and that any gates are locked (with the locks out of reach of smaller people) so that children can’t let themselves in and out. Check that any hedging or borders you have are also secure and have no gaps which a child could squeeze through. This will just help to give you peace of mind when the kids are playing in the garden.
Although it might seem obvious it’s always worth pointing out that any water, be it pond or paddling pool should be kept covered and/or drained if there are no adults present in the garden. No matter what age your kids it only takes a minute for an accident to occur.
If your children are keen to get involved with cultivating their own plants, flowers or vegetables then you might want to give them over a section of garden for this as well. Wildflowers tend to be very hardy and colourful which usually goes down well with younger kids and can be more easily maintained.
Now kick back and enjoy your garden over the summer!
Do you have any garden tips for a child-friendly space?
*This is a collaborative post