Gardens are an integral part of an active, playful, and free childhood. They represent the ultimate playground that teaches little ones valuable lessons and invites them to follow their innate drives and curiosity. The good news is that there is no shortage of features that are functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing.
One thing to note, though, is that you do have to invest a lot of time and creative effort in planning your space. We have compiled several key tips on how to put it together and embrace outdoor living at its finest.
First of all, you need to put together a child-friendly and safe environment that young adventurers can explore and play in. The types of precautions you need to take depend on the age of the children.
Bodies of water, for instance, are precarious for very young kids. A toddler can drown in as little as few inches of water in a bucket. So, if you have fountains or ponds, surround them with purpose-built safety fences.
Furthermore, make sure to avoid surfaces like gravel that neither support play nor are nice to fall on. While at it, check for plants that are potentially toxic or can cause poisoning and irritation.
Create different zones
Next, try to envision separate zones. Set up barriers to restrict access to some areas of the garden reserved for adults and their equipment. They can take the form of dense shrubs, woven hazel hurdles, a farm gate, or something else.
Usually, the area immediately around the house is the safest and it enables easy oversight. Here, it is preferable to have plenty of areas with soft grass or bark chippings to prevent rough landings and fall injuries. At the same time, have flower beds, trees, and shrubs to enable chasing, hide-and-seek, and other fun escapades.
Stick to organic materials
One common mistake is parents adding too many manmade structures and artificial materials. This ruins that sense of pristine wilderness that children adore so much. Therefore, do not eat up nature.
See to it that there is enough open space for kids to burn off their energy. Pay close attention to design materials and place your features strategically. You are better off using stone than brick and sand instead of rubber pallets.
You cannot go wrong with wood, the natural paragon. Use it as a material of choice for benches, sheds, and other constructions.
Comfy common space
It is a good idea to have a place where you can spend quality time together. Ideally, it is something sheltered like a gazebo or a patio covered with quality commercial shade sails that keep scorching sunrays at bay.
In any event, you want to invest in comfortable outdoor furniture—that way, children will have a nice hangout hub when the friends start coming around. Namely, as teenagers, they fancy secluded sitting areas more than playgrounds.
See to it that this space has all the comforts, flair, and coziness of the indoor environment. You can also consider having a striking focal point such as a fire pit.
A dedicated play zone
A play area is an absolute must. Feel free to add the usual staples like swings, slides, makeshift dens, tents, Wendy houses, hammocks, toys, and other equipment.
Features such as climbing frames are quite costly and require you to level the ground and create a safe landing zone. Also, children tend to outgrow them rather quickly.
So, you can start small, with a DIY tire swing on a branch and explore modular building materials like wooden apple bins.
At last, assemble a mud kitchen. Everything you need to set the stage for this dirty business is a set of old pots and pans, as well as a few sideboards.
It takes thorough planning and a bit of forethought to bring a children-friendly oasis to life. But, this project pays off in numerous ways.
Note that safety must come first: you want to have peace of mind even when they play out of sight. This does not mean, however, that you cannot also have a garden that is beautiful and inspiring.
Create separate zones and bring the indoors out. Have a garden both you and your children will love. You have a chance to let them flourish and forge quintessential childhood memories to last a lifetime.
Robert Clayton is a blogger with a degree in engineering based in Sydney. His interests and passions include DIY, green technologies and home improvement. He also loves good food, music, dogs and enjoys spending time by the ocean. He’s a regular contributor for Smooth Decorator, An Australian Home improvement website.