A good family friendly garden should be designed to work for everybody who uses it, whatever their age. Gardens make fantastic play space for children and with careful design and planning you can create a really fun space for the kids, without sacrificing the real ‘garden’ part.
Plus, if the garden is safe and suitable, it will give you a much needed break for a few hours. Follow our planning advice and you too can create a safe and interesting garden that still looks like a garden, but will give your children somewhere to play.
Start by deciding on a list of your top priorities, what you want in the garden, what your kids would like and then plan your garden accordingly. Try and layout your garden so that it evolves with the changing needs of you and your family.
A good family garden needs to meet the demands of family life and meet a number of different needs. From a play area for the kids to your garden furniture and planting etc. The key challenge you face is to create a space that is great fun for the children without compromising on on the actual garden side of things.
The main priorities for most families is to incorporate a safe play area for the children and a comfortable patio eating area for the adults, with of course a bit of the pretty, by way of grass and planting etc.
Play area vs garden design
Families tend to swing between two extremes, either the entire garden becomes a play area full of stuff for the kids, worn grass etc. Or we go the other way and the garden is just not a fun space for the kids to enjoy. However, there is a solution of sorts…
Our advice would be to plan your garden carefully, a well designed garden can incorporate many different elements, that can come together to work as a whole. And if you have the budget, then why not hire an expert?
A garden designer or landscaping company will have the relevant skills to create your family’s dream outdoor area, to give you all the elements you need in a way that works as a whole.
Create a safe child friendly garden
The key to a family friendly garden is safety. It has to be safe for your children to use. Yes you want it to look good, but there is no point in using materials or adding garden decor that is not safe.
At then end of the day, the garden is about relaxation for us adults, but for children you want to let them loose. Not feel like you have to supervise them!
I can remember a garden that Marshalls’ showed at the Chelsea Flower show a few years back. It was called the Garden That Kids Really Want. You can read about it in more detail on their website.
It was developed in conjunction with primary school children and it featured all these elements that the kids wanted. Lots of things to climb and scrambling over. All of the children’s ideas were incorporated into the design but it still looked good. But most importantly, it was safe and fun.
Design & Planning
So how do you go about planning a family garden? In a large garden this is a little easier, as you can section different areas to create distinct play zone, dining area etc. In a smaller garden though, the layout needs to be a little more creative.
However, there’s a few key components you can include to help make your garden a true family affair…
- Play equipment
If you’ve got room for a permanent slide or timber swing set or climbing frame, then get one. They look much better. If not, use equipment that can be stored away, so its not left outside to weather and fade, plus you can turn the garden back to an adult zone if need be. A playhouse is another great addition
A family garden needs colour. The brighter the better. Why not paint walls and fencing? And make sure you fill it with bright flowers.
When it comes to family gardens, our only advice is just make sure it is easy to maintain and resilient enough to withstand footballs, pets and play fights?
- Easy to maintain materials and furniture
And finally, go for furniture etc that can be left uncovered all year and is ready to use weather permitting. Likewise, construct patios etc from materials that are easy to clean. Children will make a mess, so if you can blast it down with a hose, than all the better!