Your back yard should be a haven for the whole family, the kids included. It should be a place where they can express themselves, make as much noise as they want, get plenty of fresh air and exercise and have all the fun in the world. It should also be a space that is safe, and attractive to the rest of the family.
In this post, we are going to look at some of the ways in which you can create the ultimate kid-friendly back yard, with tips for making it fun, calm, safe and enjoyable for everyone all year round. Ready to find out how? Let’s go!
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Incorporate natural elements
Where possible, incorporate as many natural elements int your garden. In terms of sustainability, this is much better for the environment, but it also gives children the chance to really connect with the natural world around them and explore textures, smells and sounds. For example, you could use decorative rocks for landscaping, dig out a rockery to make a little natural sandpit, have rope or tire swings hanging from the branches from trees – just make sure that they are strong branches first!
Use playground tiles
If you have decided to put up swings and slides, you may well be concerned about the safety and giving them a soft landing space if they were to fall. While bark chippings and grass are ideal solutions, if you are looking for something easier to lay down and maintain, rubber or foam playground tiles are a great choice.
They come in a wide choice of colors, so you can have them to blend in with nature or bright ones to add a fun pop of color. The usually interlock, and can often be made of recycled materials, such as rubber tires, so they can be environmentally friendly.
Creating a seating area for the grown-ups
We would say the kids need somewhere to sit, but it is rare for most kids to stay sitting down for more than a few minutes at a time. Instead, when it comes to your seating areas, keep the adults who are on supervising duty in mind.
Make sure that there is a clear and unobstructed view of the garden, particularly if you have any water features or play equipment or steps or younger children. A raised patio or decking area is usually a good option for this. Think about making sure they are comfortable and have somewhere to put down their book or drink when they inevitably have to run to tend to a grazed knee or a rogue child in the treehouse!
Kids love drawing, usually where they are not supposed to! Direct their creativity by covering one of your walls or fences with chalkboard paint, which is cheaply and readily available at most hardware stores. Give them a tub of playground chalks and let them loose; you never know, you may have the next Picasso on your hands!
Build a treehouse
Treehouses are the ultimate in childhood garden fun. Big or small, rustic or professional, kids will love climbing up and hiding out with a blanket and some snacks, and watching the world from up high.
If heights are not your thing, or you do not have any trees, a summer house or playhouse is a good alternative. This gives your kids somewhere to go that is sheltered from the elements and gives them a bit of privacy, as well as encouraging role play and imaginative play.
Build a wonderful water world
When kids are grumpy, bored, arguing and bickering with each other, just add water! Your garden is the perfect place to set up a water play area. A plastic paddle pool or a water tray make great places to float toy boats in and splash about in. If you have some old guttering or pipes, attach them to a fence or a wall to make a water wall for hours of free and easy entertainment.
Repurpose household items
Look around your house and yard; what is lying about that can be used for something different? For example, some old pallets could become a mud kitchen, or if you are particularly handy, a kids picnic bench. Old guttering could be used in the water world we have mentioned above, and all sorts of containers from the house can be used to grow plants and make it a little more fun for the kids- old gum boot plant pots, anyone?
Light it up
Who says the fun has to stop when the sun goes down? Extend those summer evenings even further by lighting up your garden. Twinky fairy lights hung from the fences and walls, solar-powered lanterns and tealights in glass jars are all low cost and simple ways to add some light to your garden, giving the children much more playtime in the garden, and creates a sense of ambience and calmness for the adults who are supervising them.
Throw some shade
A shaded area is vital if you have children, to protect them when the sun is at it’s strongest. There are various ways you can do this – by planting lots of big trees and bushes to create natural shade, or by building up gazebos and arbors. If you want something a little less permanent, tents and teepees make ideal places for the kids to go and chill out when the heat gets too much – throw in some pillows and you have yourself a cute little reading and relaxing nook.
Space is out
The most important thing that you can give your child in their back yard is space. If they have a big, flat area, they can have hours of fun playing soccer, basketball, hula-hooping, riding bikes and trikes and taking out toys from the house. Whether you opt for a concreted spot, rubber matting or lawn, it is entirely up to you.
By putting just one or two of these elements into your garden, you will create the ultimate kid-friendly back yard that not only provides them with hours of fun but you with plenty of peace and quiet!