It’s that time of year when we reflect back on the past 12 months, some of us happy to wave it off, others misty eyed with happy memories. Then it’s time to look forward to the year to come. When making grand plans about what you would like to achieve in 2015, how you are going to be happier, healthier, and fitter than ever, don’t neglect your garden. This outdoor space is an integral part of your family-life and including it in your New Year’s Resolution making will put you on the right path to success.
#1 In Your Ideal World Visualize your ideal outdoor space. What does it look like? What do you use it for? In the Summer? In the Winter? Is the play equipment out of view, or have you devoted the entire area to children? How much time would you like to spend maintaining it? Is gardening a pleasure or a chore. Now compare this ideal scenario with what you have right now. Some of the things you would like to change can be implemented easily and inexpensively. Tackle these first. Then later in 2015, repeat the visualization exercise and plan your next move. When you look at the gap from where you are now to where you would like to be, the amount of work needed can feel overwhelming. Focusing on the quick wins first makes it easier to get started.
#2 What Frustrates You Creating your dream garden is as much about eliminating the negative as focusing on the positive. Make a list of the frustrations, time-sucks, and unpleasant chores that bother you about your garden. For each of these problems research potential solutions. Hate mowing the lawn? Get a gardener. Fed up of having an unusable boggy lawn 6 months of the year? Look into grass alternatives. Then once you have lined up your potential solutions, you need to make a commitment. Either the problem bothers you so much you are prepared to invest time and money in the corresponding solution, or you are happy to put up with it and move on.
#3 Developmental Appropriateness You know how every day your child looks the same to you, until someone points out how much they've grown, then you suddenly notice the difference? It might be time to look at your play equipment with those fresh eyes too. Sure the slide posed a real challenge to your 5 year old, but now they are 8, perhaps they are looking for something new to attack. Take a look at the equipment you currently have and consider what needs to be adapted or replaced. Your garden should contain a mixture of toys that can be used with ease, be a springboard for their imagination, and which challenges them physically. Adding monkeybars to your climbing frame or swapping a ladder for a climbing net or rock walls are quick and easy ways to adapt existing pieces for older children.