If you are planning your back garden from scratch, here are our top tips for making it a kid-friendly zone.
1. Plan Defined Areas Draw your space out on paper and set clearly defined zones within the garden. Keep barbecues and hard structures well away from play equipment and climbing frames, so there’s nothing hard nearby for children to fall onto or bump into.
2. Include Age-Appropriate Play Equipment Incorporate some age-appropriate play equipment that offers a suitable level of challenge for your children. After a day at school sitting still in the classroom, children need to exercise their large muscle groups by climbing, swinging, pulling, pushing and running.
3. Safety First Look at the garden from a child’s perspective. Is there anything dangerous they may run into or trip over. Has all play equipment been positioned a safe distance from structures such as raised flower beds, or even plant pots. Surround any play equipment with purpose made safety mats. There are designs available that allow the grass to grow through, so within a few weeks the mats will no longer be visible.
4. Stimulate All The Sense Your garden should provide stimulation for all the sense. We typically think of gardens as a place of visual stimulation, beautiful and colourful, but plants can be used to create all types of sensory pleasure. Evergreen, berry bearing shrubs will encourage birds and the song that accompanies them, while strongly scented bushes like lavender and rosemary will infuse the air with their aroma every time the children push past them.
5. Somewhere To Sit You will enjoy your garden a whole lot more if you have somewhere comfortable to sit with a cold drink and watch your children play. When selecting garden furniture, there are a few things to consider. Firstly many of the softer, more comfortable chairs and benches need to be stored in a shed or be protected by a waterproof cover. Be realistic about how likely you are to bother doing that. If you are just popping outside for a quick cuppa will you perch in a doorway and leave the furniture unused? You may be better opting for a more durable wooden or metal bench, then adding cushions when you intend to use it.
6. Shelter It’s not just the rain you need to shelter from. Your garden should offer some shady protection from the Sun also. An awning mounted to the back of the house, large free standing parasol, or a well positioned tree will offer a shaded area for children to play in.
7. Vegetable Patch Growing your own vegetables is a fantastic way to teach children about where their food comes from, while equipping them with gardening skills for later life. No matter how small your garden, there can still be a small space for growing potatoes in a bag or carrots in a tub.
8. Fairy Garden Use a large container, or a small sectioned off area of flower bed to create a fairy garden, a small garden, complete with flowers, stepping stones and tiny houses for the garden fairies to live in. This is a great way to get children involved in the garden, as each can have their own space to be responsible for.