Creating a kid-friendly garden is all about engineering an exterior living space that the whole family will enjoy. And not just enjoy, but continue enjoying for many years to come. It’s one thing to create a masterpiece that’s perfectly suitable for a three-year-old, but this would inherently mean that a couple of years down the line, they may have outgrown it.
Of course, changes and upgrades will be required along the way, in order to keep things as enjoyable and indeed safe for kids as they grow. So for those looking to create the ideal kid-proof garden as the summer months once again begin to draw in, here’s a quick roundup of just a few essential tips and tricks from the experts:
- Create zones
First of all, rather than simply looking at your entire garden as a whole, think of it instead in separated areas or zones. This is really the only way you are going to make it work for everyone children and adults alike. When it comes to things like playhouses, slides, swings, trampolines and so on, it simply makes sense to position them in one specific zone, rather than scattered all over the place. This not only makes it easier to create additional zones for other purposes, but also massively simplifies supervision of kids during play.
- Future focus
As already mentioned, it’s a good idea to think about the kinds of things that can either be repurposed or removed with ease at the required point in the future. For example, if you strategically build a playhouse with size, position and accessibility in mind, it could easily be converted into a potting shed or storage facility. If you hang a swing from a tree, it creates a gorgeous and timeless addition to the garden, over and above a metal swing set. Likewise, the right sandpit in a strategic position can be transformed into a fire pit or pond. Think about what you can do with everything you install in the future, rather than now.
- Time for trees
There are many incredible things that can be done with trees, when looking to create a child friendly garden. Obvious examples include building tree houses, installing swings as mentioned above, creating shaded play areas underneath and so on. It can also be great to plant trees with the kids while they are younger, so that they can watch them grow as they themselves grow. Of course, it’s also important to be careful with trees that may pose any dangers such as falling branches, sharp spikes, poisonous fruits and so on.
- The perfect pond
There’s nothing better for getting kids to take an active interest in wildlife and conservation than the perfect garden pond. For obvious reasons however, larger ponds represent the kinds of dangers that may not be suitable for younger children in particular. Nevertheless, creating a tiny pond which will still attract wildlife and be as simple as taking something like a washing up bowl and filling it to the required depth, before adding stones and other decorative touches. You’ll find hundreds of guides online for creating quick and easy water features that are great for kids.
- Soft surfaces
If you create a play area that includes anything like swing sets, climbing frames, slides and so on, it’s also a good idea to install a soft, protective surface beneath. There are plenty of widely available and affordable products created specifically for this purpose, though there’s also the option of using nothing more than simple wood chip. Anything that’s environmentally friendly, affordable and serves as something of a protective cushion is worth considering.
- Borders and boundaries
For younger children, it can be beneficial to establish specific borders and boundaries around the garden which are easily identifiable. This is basically an alternative to putting up physical barriers instead teaching and showing kids the areas of the garden where they are and are not allowed to go. This can make it so much easier to work with a zoned approach to the design of your garden, keeping things safe and secure in the kid-friendly areas.
- Keep it simple
It’s worth remembering that the simpler your garden is, the more enjoyment your kids will get out of it. At the other end of the scale, gardens with vast expanses of plants, shrubs, vegetables and so on can put you in the kind of position where you are always on edge as to what your kids may or may not be destroying. Which can in turn take something that is supposed to be relaxing and turn it into something stressful. For the time being at least, it pays to err on the side of simplicity.
- Create shade
Last but not least, it’s imperative that kids be protected from the sun’s harmful rays during the warmer months of the year, which shouldn’t mean having to bring them indoors. Once again, planting trees or working with existing trees can be a great way of accomplishing this, creating wonderfully relaxing shaded areas the whole family can enjoy.