Gardens used to be formal affairs with borders, delicate topiary and flowers not to be touched. Children were allowed nowhere near these perfectly manicured lawns. While there are still plenty of formal gardens around, most of us these days have relaxed in our view of the garden needing to be as manicured and contrived as perhaps they once were. Gardens are now a place for all ages to be together and enjoy. Gardens of today are not child-free zones but places of fun and interest.
A family garden doesn’t just have to mean a huge trampoline ruining the grass but the key is to find a garden that appeals to everyone. A perfect blend of play and adult relaxation is what’s required. Gardens can be educational places for children too and encouraging them to get involved in gardening combines fun and learning in a practical way.
Kids love getting stuck in and while this might be time consuming, it should be encouraged. Give them little jobs that only they can do and be responsible for. Encourage their enthusiasm and let them touch and smell plants as this helps them to explore their senses. Let them dig, plant seeds and get mucky and they will love this time spent with you in the garden.
When thinking about designing a family garden space you’ll need to consider the following things:
Is there room for permanent play equipment? If not, you will need to look at equipment that can cleared away but if there is then there nothing quite like Wood Climbing Frames to get both the kids and grown-ups excited. For more information, visit http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames.
Brighten things up with lots of colour – a family garden will benefit from bright splashes of primary colours. Walls can be painted or trellises and garden furniture. Plant lots of brightly coloured flowers to create a rainbow garden. Anything that you plant will have to be quite hardy and easy to maintain. Will it stand up to footballs and impromptu sword fights? If you have little children then avoid anything with thorns.
How about some wildlife features? Children love finding out about nature so why not think about installing a safe pond, bird feeders or bird baths. Find out some ways to attract wildlife into your garden and let the kids keep a diary of what they spot. Ponds can be dangerous for very young children so you could wait until they’re older or fit a grille over the surface. Children do love the water though, paddling and catching tadpoles, identifying insects and looking for frogs.
A play area near the house is perfect for younger children but consider that older children might want more of a retreat somewhere further away. Maybe surround an area with shrubs to make it private and designate it a strictly no grown up area.
A dining area is fantastic for the summer months and there is nothing nicer than eating al frsco with your loved ones. If you can, try to incorporate a patio area large enough for a table and chairs and maybe even a barbecue!