Designing your garden with family in mind is easy as long as it is thoroughly planned – here are some tips for designing your perfect family garden. If you have a particularly large garden, it may be worth hiring a garden landscaper who will be better at tackling a larger challenge. Below is a list of issues you will need to consider before going ahead and making alterations to your garden:
- 1.Garden design
Does your garden have to look pristine and flower-show perfect, or is a bit of wear and tear ok? Or would you like to find the perfect balance between attractive and practical? Whatever use you have in mind, this will be the crux of your design. A patio area or decking will provide the family with a great al fresco area to utilise in the summer months. Consider main features and areas that you want to include in your design plan and work from there.
Cost: decking or a patio can cost anything upward of £20 per sq.metre
If you’ve got children, grass lawn is the perfect playing area for ball games, hide and seek and other such frivolities! A clean stretch of grass will provide your kids with an ideal playing pitch perfect for running amok in. Make sure you keep your greenhouse away from this area (flying footballs and glass = damaged plants).
Cost: turf grass costs around £2+ per sq.met
- 3.Garden compartments
Think secret garden and you’ve got the idea. Whilst this is a luxury small gardens can’t afford, it’s a great idea to add more depth and character to your garden and children love their secret gardens. You could use fencing or shrubbery to section off an area, perhaps hiding a child patio set, perfect for those wonderland-inspired tea parties!
Cost: child’s patio set £20 to £50
- 4.Multi purpose garden items
When combining aesthetics with practicality, it is a good idea to look for items that have more than one use. For example, whilst a brashly coloured plastic swing set may be an eyesore, an old fashioned rope and tyre swing hanging from that big oak tree will look quaint and serve a purpose too. Trees can also be used as climbing frames, goal posts, hammock holders and if the branch is right, even a volley ball court! If your children have lots of outdoorsy toys, purchase a bench with a storage area underneath, to keep unsightly toys out of view when not in use. Garden arches are a beautiful addition to any garden and many can be bought with a swing that can be dismantled when not in use.
Cost: outdoor storage bench £70+
- 5.Water and sand in the garden
Whilst water and sand might translate to “beach!” for most children, they can be hazardous and measures must be taken to ensure safety. If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool, make sure it is fenced off and gated from the rest of the garden. The same goes for ponds and any streams that may run through your garden. You can make a sandpit from using treated timber plants, a great way to cover this when not in use is through split bamboo. Specialised play surfaces are expensive and may require professional installation, however if you have a climbing frame, bark acts as a child friendly surface.
- 6.Garden plants
Opt for an all purpose seed mix for your lawn, it can stand the inevitable wear and tear that children unleash. As for actual plants, go for the toughest kind, whilst pretty delicate flower boarders might look stunning, they won’t after a couple of footballs have landed in them. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could grow a mini jungle, using plants such as tall bamboos and cornus, amidst the ‘jungle’ you could grow climbers over cane dens for natural hide outs; the perfect environment for cowboys and Indians.
- 7.Children’s growing space
Section off a small area of your garden for your children and encourage them to grow their favourite veg such as runner beans and sweet peas. There is nothing better than harvesting your own crops and eating them for tea. This will not only engage your child in gardening but also promote healthy living and get them well on their way to their five a day.
Cost: Packets of seeds £1 to £5
- 8.Garden wildlife
Attract wildlife to your garden to encourage children to notice their surroundings. A bird table could bring an array of birds throughout the seasons, or you could even invest in a pond with fish. It’s always best to hire a professional when installing a pond.
Cost: Bird table £20+, Pond £1000+