Believe it or not, Spring is just around the corner. Despite the polar vortex currently sitting over the Uk, the weather will soon be getting warmer and the children will want to spend more time outdoors. This is great news as warmer months are in short supply if you live in the northern hemisphere. February and March is a good time of the year to sort your garden out for the warmer months so that your family can spend time enjoying it over the Easter holidays and beyond.
If you have children it will be important to create a garden that is safe and child friendly.That may seem an impossible task when you garden is the size of a postage stamp and your lawn is dominated by a huge trampoline! Time can be an issue too, with dashing here and there to work, after school clubs, doctors appointments and shops. Try to prioritise tasks or simplify them, for example did you know that you can order your medical prescriptions online and get them delivered direct to your door? Read more about how to use a Simple Online Pharmacy and save oodles of time to get into the garden!
The design of your garden is key to creating a space both for your children to play and somewhere for you to relax with a glass of wine at the end of a heavy day. A lot of child friendly gardens end up being functional rather than attractive. This article aims to give pointers as to how you can achieve a garden space that is both!
Before you start planning a fish pond full of ornamental koi, you need to take a step back and look at your garden space through the eyes of a child with regards to keeping them safe.
A little like a mini risk assessment, look for potential hazards. Water of any kind is a big “no”, as young children can potentially drown in only a couple of inches. Check that the boundary fences and walls to your garden are in good repair, to prevent any potential escapees. Have a look at garden structures and play equipment, are they safe with no sharp edges and loose bits? Even the plants that are growing in your garden need to be checked to see if they are poisonous or have irritant properties. Many plants have very tempting looking berries during Autumn and winter, so either remove them from your garden or be extremely vigilant in teaching your child not to eat them.
It’s a good idea to divide your garden into specific zones. Try to keep child designated spaces close to the house where you can see them. Look at the condition of your grassy areas, if it’s worse for wear due to being under a trampoline or has been worn away with ball games it would be a good idea to replace it with astro turf.
Allocate part of the garden for relaxing and sitting in and get some garden furniture to make the area comfortable.
Plan storage – children’s toys tend to be brightly coloured and made of plastic, so it would be good to store them away at the end of play. There are plenty of shed designs to choose from as well as storage boxes that would do the job. Another important aspect to safety is the safe storage of garden tools. Lots of potential damage could be done with a three year old wielding a garden rake!
Create an area for growing vegetables
Children love to grow things and it’s a fantastic way of teaching your child where their food comes from. You don’t need to create a full blown allotment in your garden, even though it would be fab if you had the space! Vegetables and fruits can be grown in the smallest of spaces, like window sills and pots on the patio.
Growing fruit and veg can also be fun, you could consider growing a magical living bean tent which will provide hours of fun as well as some tasty beans for tea. Another benefit of growing fruits and vegetables is that your child is likely to eat them if they grew them. There is nothing more delicious than raspberries strait of the plant, or peas eaten straight from the pod.
A garden without flowers is dull and they are so easy to grow! Annual plants can be grown literally by sprinkling the seeds straight on to the ground. Garden centres have a huge array of pot grown plants. Perhaps you could consider growing plants for their smell such as sweet peas and roses, a herb garden would be a lovely addition to any garden and will be useful in the kitchen. Children and adults could take part in a sunflower growing competition, they are simple to grow and really brighten up the garden with their sunny yellow colours. The winner of the competition would be the person who has grown the tallest sunflower. Children learn how to grow and care for plants during this activity, if they forget to water the flower it will simply die!
Play equipment needs to be purchased with the view that it will grow with your child. Try to purchase equipment that will last many years. A climbing frame and swing is a good investment and lots of children and adults love trampolines. Make sure you site the play equipment on soft ground, you could consider using bark chippings to make a soft landing if accidents occur.
The main reason for creating a garden that all the family can enjoy, is to use it and have fun! The benefits of getting outside away from screens are immense, not to mention the exercise and vitamin D benefits of being outdoors.
Finally children love to learn about wildlife. Start feeding the birds and they will be thankful for the extra nutrients before breeding season. You could create a haven for hedgehogs, which are sadly in decline, or go on a bug hunt armed with a magnifying glass and identification chart.
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