We love our garden. But it’s taken a while to get it child-friendly in the sense that it’s safe, plus attractive for our little gremlins to play freely.
Since the pandemic hit, and we spent a lot of time at home, we have grown to love our garden even more.
The last few months has seen our garden become an extended part of our house. It’s been used as a place to let off steam, somewhere to excersise, to play, to relax, to entertain, to eat, to cool off.
We count ourselves very lucky that we have this space to use, and we have looked after it during the pandemic.
What Does Your Perfect Garden Look Like?
When you think about your perfect garden, do you picture a vast expanse of beautiful landscaped, green lawn?
A tranquil space to sip ice-cold wine in the sunshine whilst listening to the gentle trickling of a water feature.
The dog lazing in the shade of a tree whilst the birds and squirrels collect seeds. You could also get pigeon proof bird tables.
Whilst that may be reality for some, for those with children, a perfect garden may mean somethng entirely different.
Picture this; having your children run out of the house with glee, enjoying their Backyard Playground or jumping onto their trampoline and bouncing right off to chase the dog.
Your kids helping themselves to some golden rasberries they helped grow whilst they stir mud pies.
Doing cartwheels on the lawn, then climbing onto their swings whilst they sing their favourite song.
How To Create A Child-Friendly Garden Kids (and Adults) Will Love
Since I’ve been a mum, it’s been important to me to create a space that we can all enjoy outside, so here I share my thoughts on how to create the perfect child-friendly garden…
Invite nature in
If it’s important to you to nurture not just the humans that like your outdoor space, there are a few things you can do to attract some lovely wildlife. You can start by maintaining a healthy lawn, then you can visit a plant nursery to pick out the plants and shrubs you want to grow in your garden.
Make bird feeders
You can of course buy bird feeders, bird baths and nesting boxes, but you can also create some really beautiful features out of some household objects.
Kids love to get hands-on, and they will find it so much more satisfying to see wildlife starting to habitate in their creations.
Try using teacups to create a beautiful bird bath like this, as well as hanging hollowed-out coconut shells to put seeds in.
You can even use plastic bottles to create a lovely feature in a corner of your garden that birds will love to explore.
Create a hotel for bugs and bees
Children love to explore under rocks and dig up worms, don’t they?
Well how about creating a lovely natural habitat to encourage bugs and bees to nest in?
You can collect anything from your garden that you think would be comfy and interesting for critters, such as:
Then, find something to create little areas in – or rooms of the hotel shall we say!
We used a wooden crate we found in our garage, but you could use anything from an empty yoghurt or butter pot, or a wooden box of some sort from around the house.
Then you lay it down, or hang it up, and wait for the bugs to find their exciting new home.
Consider artificial grass
Now, real grass is beautiful, especially when you get it to grow thickly and evenly!
But if you’re anything like us, you sometimes leave the sunbed out for weeks then realise the grass underneath has withered away.
Or the dog keeps peeing all over the grass and now you have yellow patches everywhere.
Or he kids keep playing football and kicking lumps out of the grass with their studded boots – any of this sound familiar?
There is a solution…
We’ve used it before when we didn’t have much sun on our garden.
We had such poor conditions, the grass we could grow would die off come winter and we’d have to start all over again.
This was not fun, so we went artificial.
Suddenly we had this bright green lawn that stayed beautiful all year round!
Some other pros of artificial grass we found:
- Low maintenance – more time for play
- Brilliant for sports enthusiasts – no more ruined grass
- No harmful chemicals needed
- Cheap artificial grass is brilliant quality, and looks and feels really real
- More space for kids toys in the shed / garage due to lack of equipment needed
- Cushioned landing for children who love to climb!
- No mud stained clothes – hooray!
- Quick drying – brilliant if the kids want a play sesh after a downpour
- No grass cuttings being walked in your house – that drives me nuts
- No cut grass smell
- The outlay can be high depending on the area you want to lay artificial grass
Give your mini masterchefs their own kitchen
Whilst you’re out barbequeing, the last thing you want is your little ‘helpers’ trying to poke the food with a stick.
Besides, it’s dangerous, and annoying! Ha.
Creating an area in your garden for a mud kitchen is a brilliant way to teach kids about al-fresco cooking in a child-friendly way.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a mud kitchen, you can make them pretty cheaply and easily out of pallets.
Paint pebbles for the food, and use your old wooden and stainless steel kitchen bits you don’t mind getting messy in the garden.
Dedicate a shaded area for chillout time
If your kids are anything like mine, they need the occasional reminder to chill out!
Creating a nice space for them to read a book, do some colouring, or simply to sit and enjoy the fresh air is a great idea.
Consider adding a canopy, parasol or teepee to the area so your children can cool down in the shade, and get some privacy. You may also consider hiring pergola builders to install a retractable shade cover in your backyard. Some shade covers will even protect you from a light rain, perfect for those unpredictable summer storms.
Encourage child-friendly water play
Most children love playing with water, but it can be dangerous if guidelines are not adhered to, especially with younger children around.
Providing you follow the water rules for gardens, you can create a safe area where your children can enjoy playing with water without it ruining anything!
I like to use a tuff tray, fill it with an inch or so of water and a bit of soap, and it makes a brilliant bath for babies, a car wash, a bubbly paddling pool, a boating lake…
Choose hardy plants
If you want some greenery in your garden, but you have ball game loving children, you’ll want to make sure you plant the hardiest of plants.
The amount of times a football has been kicked at our plants and trees and bushes is ridiculous.
No matter how often we ask our kids to avoid kicking balls at the plants, it’s inevitable they will damage them whilst playing.
Use an outdoor rug
Something we really like in our patio seating area is an outdoor rug.
The rug helps when Beau is toddling around and picking at food on the table to not trip over the uneven patio tiles.
Plus it looks great out there too!
Dedicate a digging spot
Want children to stop digging up your garden?
Well I suggest creating their very own digging spot where they can dig and make as much mess as they like.
If you create a wooden border round it too, it will help to contain the mess!
Add a sand pit
Sand pits are excellent for kids, and some dogs love them too.
We have ours under a shaded spot, and we have spades, buckets, diggers and sand toys that live in there.
We do have to give it a new lease of life occasionally due to the kids throwing the sand out of it, but it has lasted years and been an area that our kids play with time and time again.
Coloured sand is also fun in a sand pit!
Think about lighting in your child-friendly garden
During the summer months, if you like your kids to play out until dark, it would pay to install some lighting.
A combo of sensor lights and solar lights would suffice, which also create a lovely ambience when the kids are in bed and it’s adult time.
Outside electric is also very handy!
As long as it’s covered, and out of reach from children, electricity outside can be a very handy feature in a garden that gets a lot of use.
We use our outside electric for:
- Charging battery powered rides ons
- Summer laptop homework (and I’ve worked in the garden a lot whilst the kids play)
Lastly, consider adding a playhouse
This is one thing out of this list that we have not invested in, but want to.
Playhouses are great for:
- Chill out time
- Pretend play
- Hide and seek
So That’s How You Create A Child-Friendly Garden…
Here we’ve covered a few ideas that turn your garden in a space that both children and adults will love being in.
The great thing about a well-thoughtout garden is that once all the things are installed, you can sit and enjoy a bit of peace whilst the kids play and explore! Win win.
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Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Lucy Clarke