Guest Post: How to Make Sure Your Garden is Child-Friendly
Most people have an incredibly romantic image of what having a child-friendly garden means. They envisage twisting pathways that lead to fairy-tale hideaways, beds full of tactile plants and plenty of climbing equipment. The truth is that whilst this may seem like an ideal garden for children to play in, kids actually need a far more practical space. This guide will give you some ideas on how to make a low maintenance garden for kids that will allow them to play safely whilst enjoying lots of child-friendly activities.
Making your garden fun for kids
What kids need to really make the most of the garden is space in which to run around and be free. Give as much of your garden as possible over to a lawn and they will have hours of fun playing football, creating dens and tearing around.
If you are looking for good value play equipment, a trampoline is a great investment for kids of all ages. When it comes to other play equipment such as climbing frames and slides, however, many parents find that they have wasted their cash. These types of play equipment tend to be quite short-lived when it comes to entertainment value, so you might be better off saving these kinds of activities to be enjoyed at your local park.
The same goes for building a play house in the garden. They often become overlooked quite quickly and end up full of damp and creepy crawlies. A far better option is a pop-up Wendy house or den, which can be put away when not in use, but is always ready for a bit of creative play when the time is right. If you’ve got a suitable tree, however, a homemade swing can be an enormous amount of fun!
If the main purpose of your garden is to give the kids somewhere to run around, you won’t want to invest all your energy in perfectly manicured flower beds; they just won’t survive. That said, kids of all ages love to grow things, so fast growing flowers and a vegetable patch are great additions to a child-friendly garden. Not only will they learn a lot about where their food comes from, they are far more likely to eat healthily if they have grown it themselves.
Keeping your kids safe in the garden
Although a garden should be a fun filled space, child safety is an important factor to bear in mind. Steer clear of poisonous flowers such as foxgloves, yew, daphne and laburnum and keep prickly or scratchy plants to a minimum too.
Ponds should also be avoided, especially when young children are involved. A child can drown in just a few inches of water, so it’s best to steer completely clear of installing a water feature until they have grown up. A paddling pool during the summer is a different matter, but never allow your children to play unsupervised.
Encourage as much wildlife as possible into your garden. Not only is it fun to find different bugs and animals whilst they are playing, but creatures such as ladybirds and hedgehogs will act as natural pest control, which will help you keep your garden a chemical free zone.
Gardens should be about freedom and fun but within a safe space so your kids are able to explore without endangering themselves. Put yourself in their shoes and look at your garden from a child’s perspective. It will help you to see how to maximize your outdoor space for their enjoyment.
This guest post was written by Francesca, a blogger with an interest in home and garden design. She writes on behalf of Green Thumb, who specialize in providing lawn care solutions.