When you start having children, the first thing that goes out of the window is what you want the house to look like. Your focus now is to make sure they are safe and enjoy as much space as the house can give. Forget about a reading nook or a gazebo in the garden where you can sip your afternoon tea. Your house is going to be filled with plastic toys and climbing structures. When they are bigger, your pathway is where they will learn to bike. These spaces may not be as clean as you want them to be, but they will be filled with memories.
With enough creativity and effort, your garden doesn’t always have to look like it’s an outdoor playground for the kids. You can incorporate most of its existing features to accommodate what your kids want to see. Many lawn and landscape companies can help you design a garden and backyard that have kid-friendly features the adults will love, too. Remember that although it is vital for your kids to feel safe and enjoy what little outdoor space they have at home, your mental health and well-being also hinge on the amount of time you can rest and recharge.
Keep it Natural
Your garden doesn’t need to turn into a concrete jungle that paves over grass and other natural features. You can use what’s in your garden to create, for example, an obstacle course. Instead of just grass, you can place steppingstones with numbers or letters painted on them. Those will turn the garden into a kind of learning and play area. If you chopped a tree, don’t pull the stump. You can use that as part of the mini obstacle course. Kids have plenty of creativity rushing through their veins. They’ll think of something for that tree stump.
Make Space for Play Equipment
Always give ample space for a slide, swing, or see-saw. You can always incorporate your children’s toys and equipment into your garden. For example, you can add a sandbox to the deck. This way, your children can play on the deck while you entertain guests. You can also include a makeshift swing near the gazebo. Make sure that the design of the gazebo will also blend well with the design of the swing or slide.
Make sure that the ground is soft enough for your kids to do cartwheels and handstands. Remember that kids don’t mind if they get dirty as long as they’re enjoying it. They’ll lay on the grass and throw balls at each other. Lay some turf so that it’s a soft landing for them. In the area where your kids will most likely play, use easy-maintenance plants and flowers that will not wither and die when they get trampled on.
Add Hard Surface
Kids need to play on the grass. However, as they grow older, they will want to learn how to bike, too. That’s when they need a path in the garden where they can do that. Consider designing curved and quirky paths. A straight path is boring, whereas a path that wriggles its way across the garden and even around the house will be something that kids can enjoy every day.
Design a Sensory Garden
It is always important to stimulate your kids’ senses. Bright flowers like marigolds and sunflowers are for the sight. During quiet moments when they are playing in the sandbox, they’d love to hear the sound of rustling grasses. Sage, with its downy leaves, is something that children will love to touch. For smell, a pot of herbs such as mint and rosemary is going to give your garden a relaxing scent. Consider planting curry plants, chocolate cosmos, and strawberries, too.
Build a Camp
Children love hideouts, camps, and forts. If you cannot have your own treehouse, the least you can do is set up camp. It can be something as simple as a shaded corner with some light curtains tied to a post. Or, you can create a teepee complete with a sunken firepit nearby. Children will go gaga over the idea of “camping” in the yard.
There are simple solutions to the dilemma of having kids when you want a relaxing space in the yard. You can always call professionals to help you decide which features to keep and which to forego. And while it will take time for you to get used to seeing your beautiful garden turn into a playground, your kids’ smiles will be your reward.