Children’s Garden Design – Children vary in their needs and temperaments as much as adults do, and their desires change with alarming speed as they grow up. So think carefully before starting with children’s garden design and investing in any of the playground-style equipment that you see in the shops, however well made and designed, it has a limited life.
Very young children need a secure place to play in, preferably fenced in and close to, and visible from, the house. Give it a soft surface – a thick mulch of bark chips will provide a soft landing. It doesn’t take much for a fall on to hard ground, let alone paving, to cause serious injury. Plan the children’s garden design with an eye to the future.
When it is no longer needed as a playground, can it become a vegetable garden, a herb patch, an extension to the patio or a place for a teenager to pull apart a motorbike?
Wheeled toys such as tricycles and scooters need a hard surface of children’s garden. Certainly, a child can go round and round on a patio, but the fun soon palls. Could you create a mini-grand prix circuit with paths right around the garden? Would linking the patio, lawn and vegetable garden with paths help in the running of the garden in any case? Would such a system of paths help tie the whole children’s garden design together? A cycle track could also provide the venue for head to head races with radio-controlled cars.
Start children off with easy to grow salad crops and flowers. These non-hearting plant can be picked over for summer salads.
On hot, sunny days, youngsters like nothing better than to splash about in a shallow paddling pool. For this, an area of grass is essential. Neither is there a good substitute for grass when it comes to practicing footballing skills, though a strip of artificial grass can reduce the wear and tear on cricket wickets.
A basketball net and back board can often be fitted above a garage door. On a more cerebral note, outdoor chess and draughts boards are getting increasingly popular and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Garden lighting will extend the playing time well into the summer evening.