A growing child’s desire for independence can be nurtured by giving them a space of their own. A tent or arrangement of blankets provides a great temporary area if you are worried about committing to a permanent den or hideaway, but permanent areas can make for great additions to a garden.
- Playhouses are perfect for younger children and come in all manner of shapes, sizes and styles. Wooden houses are much sturdier for children than plastics and they blend much easier into a garden space due to their use of natural materials.
- Tree houses are an option if you have an appropriately placed tree. These are usually built DIY so require a little more time and effort, but can create the perfect playspace for a burgeoning young imaginative.
- Willow living dens can be constructed with living willow, creating an ever-evolving space that blends into the garden environment. Including your children in the building process will also help them better connect with the space.
Remember: dens provide a place of shade and rest which is crucial in the summer months. They also give cover from the rain, meaning play can continue when the sun stops.
Lots of lawn
Having a decent sized lawn area is crucial for playful and energetic kids. Grass offers a soft landing for falls, jumps and handstands, allowing for fun that would otherwise be dangerous. A bigger lawn will also prevent the risk of children disappearing into flower beds, ruining all of your lovely plants!
Speaking of plants, you might want to give a little thought to what you’re planting. Thorny and spiky plants that can scratch or do harm should really be avoided, especially in accessible areas. You also need to consider toxic plants. Young inquisitive children have a habit of putting things in their mouths, which can be dangerous with certain garden additions.
Here are some toxic plants to be cautious of...
- Water hemlock
Climbing frames and apparatus
Climbing frames, swings, slides, trampolines - for many kids these are what gardens are all about. If you have the space to spare and want the kids to appreciate the outdoors, you can’t go wrong with getting one (or a few!) of these. But you don’t have to ruin your garden in the process.
- Trampolines are a favourite for children, but they can be big and unsightly. That’s why many clever parents have started to dig them down to ground level, which also reduces the risk of falling off, making them much safer.
- Wooden apparatus, such as climbing frames and mud kitchens, generally blend well into a garden’s style and will often last much longer than cheaper plastic alternatives.
- Designing your garden around your child’s play areas and structures is rarely ever done, but there is no reason why garden lovers shouldn’t plan their outdoor spaces for all the family. Considering your children in garden designs will encourage them to get out and play.
Just like you would inside, considering storage outside immediately makes the garden more child-friendly. Knowing exactly where all the toys are will better motivate kids to get outdoors and play.
- Sheds are a classic garden storage option. There might be space in yours for a toy box or some drawers, but be conscious of what else is accessible. Dangerous tools, weed killers, fertilizers and other chemicals should be kept safely away from children, so might not be best placed next to the toys.
- Outdoor storage boxes work perfectly for keeping children’s toys, and there are many on the market to choose from, so you can pick one that's the right size and style for your space.
- Indoor storage is also an option if you have a porch area or utility room. It might be a way of keeping the garden tidier, but also consider how easy it is for the kids to access their toys. Remember, the more accessible their toys are, the more likely they are to get out there!
Make your home connect with the outdoors
Creating a home that better connects to your garden or outdoor space will again make it much easier for kids to get outside, as well as creating a healthier space overall.
For young children, merely a view of the garden will often make them want to get out and play. For older children, increased accessibility to the outdoors will make it much harder for them to say no. Here are our top tips.
- Views of your garden are a constant reminder that your outdoor space exists, much like an advert on a billboard. Increasing your views can be done through implementing more windows, glass doors and even structural glass.
- Increasing access to the garden is a popular design choice when homeowners extend. Open-plan homes ease access by removing barriers from living spaces, while bifold doors can be opened so wide they remove the barrier between inside and out.
- Bringing the outside in is a simple way to harmonise the indoors and outdoors. This can be done with houseplants, fresh air and natural light, all of which contribute to a healthier home environment overall.
Learn more about making your home ‘connected’.
If you are looking for a space that is better connected to the outdoors, or if you want to know how your home and garden can reach their full potential, discuss your design options with our experts. Book a free consultation today.