How to create a wonderful garden for kids
With the summer holidays here, now is the time for kids to forget school work for a few weeks, to turn off their computer and TV screens, and to get outside and have fun.
Gardens are wonderful spaces for kids to spend time in; safe and stimulating environments in which to play games, explore and have adventures. Gardens also provide an opportunity for kids to learn about nature and wildlife - all wonderful and valuables experiences for youngsters to have, to cherish memories of.
Any garden space can be a great play area, but what features and considerations should you look at to make your garden wonderful for kids? Here are our TOP 5 suggestions:
1. Stimulate an interest in wildlife
Even in urban settings, gardens provide a fantastic place for kids to experience nature first hand.
There are lots of ways to make your garden a haven for wildlife. Making a ‘bug hotel’ can be fun for kids to get involved in and build. The outcome is a perfect home for all sorts of insects and bugs. Bug hotels can be dual-purpose, just like the one shown (pic 1), which Papillon built in a garden in Aberdeenshire; this doubles-up as a table for holding magazines.
Kids can also learn about aquatic invertebrates and all sorts of pond life by adding a water feature for them to make home.
2. Create a safe environment
We want our kids to roam and explore, but we also want to know that they’re not in any danger.
Water features are an obvious potential hazard to be aware of, especially with very young children. But, an easy and unobtrusive solution is to fit a cover. We love the design featured here by Adrian Rayment. Here, he turns this safety feature into something quite beautiful. This was a bespoke pond cover fitted in a garden in Colchester.
Any large drops are probably best avoided if possible. Grass, bark chipping, or bonded rubber surfaces will provide a softer landing than concrete or gravel, so are good options, especially around any climbing frames.
3. Fun play areas
Swings, slides, climbing frames; all will be popular with kids, but be careful not to clutter your garden too much!
Building slides into the design of a garden can be a great way of making better use of space (see Pic ). This is photo of a garden slide that Papillon built into the design of a garden it constructed at Crathes in Aberdeenshire. It looks fantastic and the kids will be pleased to know it is fully functional too!
These outdoor chalkboards look great and add a different dimension to outdoor play.
Tree houses are lots of fun to build and will be enjoyed by kids of all ages. We also love living willow tunnels and living willow domes, which make fantastic natural play areas and hideaways.
4. Add a touch of colour to stimulate imagination
Adding features, furniture and even wall art, can lift a garden, especially on a wet day.
This pic shows a boardwalk that Papillon constructed at Aberdeen Science Centre’s sensory garden, which opened earlier this year.
This walkboard was used to add colour and made to look like a vibrant stream running across the garden and breaking up the grass and hardcore surface.
5. Get them involved
Kids of all ages can really enjoy getting involved in gardening, so where possible get them involved.
Whether they want to create their own “fairy garden”, or build a little hide-away hut, or grow vegetables; kids will love being given the freedom to use their imagination to create their own little garden space to enjoy.
Simple tasks, like watering plants or raking leaves, can be great fun for kids of all ages. They’re never too young to be introduced to the pleasures of gardening!
Giving youngsters the opportunity to enjoy, explore and learn about nature and wildlife is fantastic for their development, and can lead to a life-long love for gardens and the outdoors in general. We hope that our suggestions have helped give you some inspiration for making your own garden a wonderful place for your children.
Papillon specialises in garden design and can offer suggestions and ideas to make your garden special for those who will be enjoying it, whether that be kids, adults, grandparents or pets. To see more of what we love for kids, visit our Pinterest Play Board. To discuss how we can help you design the perfect garden, please contact us here.