Children like to play in the mud, run, climb trees, climb rock piles and play hide-and seek. Adults like outdoor patios, tidy lawns and gardens. A child friendly garden accommodates both children and adults.
The child friendly garden
Check the boundary to eliminate gaps that small children can crawl under or squeeze through. Be mindful of plant characteristics like thorns. Place climbing equipment away from fences, shrubs and walls. Remove sharp objects, and keep pathways smooth and clear. If there are poisonous plants on the property, teach children which plants are not to be eaten.
A place of their own
Give children a small section of their own. Tools of their own and waterproofed clothes specifically for gardening. Pick children-friendly plants for their gardening endeavours. Choose plants with deep roots and that are tough enough for children’s play. Quick growing vegetables like radishes, creates excitement for children when they can see the vegetables growing and eventually eat them. Children love to weed although supervision is essential you never know what they will find in the soil. Help them to recognise food from weeds. Make watering into a game.
Sandpits keep small children engaged for hours. Place one in an area that is easily visible. Place a covering over the top when children are not using it. A shady place during a hot summer is an ideal location.
Older children value privacy. Screen off a corner of the garden by planting taller plants. Fill their area with wood, stones and soil. Add other items that stimulate their senses like wind chimes. Once the children grow older, convert the area into a well-constructed play house.
If there is enough room, encourage games that require many team members, and pick out grass that can handle trampling.
A recent study by a gardening centre revealed that eighty percent of children like playing in the rain as much as in sunshine, and six to seven-year-olds love water. Paddling, splashing and fun on a hot summer day is on their list of great garden activities. If space permits, move a pool around the lawn to prevent damage to the lawn, and select areas in which stones will not puncture the lining. For safety, if the pool is in-ground, fence it off and keep it locked when adults are not supervising.
The same study discloses that children love sunflowers, mazes and fountains. Ask your children what they consider to be a good garden design.
Designing a comfortable, manageable and safe garden for children and adults is not daunting. With proper planning the garden brings families close together.