When we think of child-friendly gardens, we often imagine a short lawn covered in brightly colored swings and slides. However, it is possible to create a child-ready garden that kids and adults can both enjoy. Here we take a look at a few tips on how to do just that.

Relax

Children will kick footballs into your prized hydrangeas and make mud pies in your flower beds, but try not to worry; plants will recover and children can be bathed. If you’re going to design a garden for both adults and children, you will need to approach it with a relaxed attitude.

Prioritise safety

You won’t be able to relax and let the children play if you’re constantly worrying about them hurting themselves, so make safety a priority.

Water is usually a bad idea because small children can drown in just a few centimeters of water. If you already have a pond, fill it in or install a safety grid.

Hedges and wooden fencing are nice-looking ways to keep children in the garden and away from the road.

If you’re installing equipment such as climbing frames, make sure that there are no hard surfaces below. Lawns make for soft landings.

Finally, make sure that you haven’t planted any toxic or irritating plants. For more information on the kinds of plants to avoid, see https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/bites-and-stings/Pages/Plant-dangers-garden-countryside.aspx.

Compromise

You may not want gaudy swings and slides ruining the aesthetics of your garden, but you can compromise by installing play equipment that’s easier on the eye. For example, there are some beautiful children’s wooden climbing frames on the market, such as those sold by ni climbing frames.

Create zones

You’ll want at least two zones: one for adults and one for kids. You may also want to divide the children’s zones into areas for younger and older children. Zones don’t need to have hard barriers and may overlap, but it’s nice to build in some adult space right from the start.

Buy second-hand

Climbing frames made from natural wood can be very expensive, and used garden play equipment becomes available all the time as children grow out of it or families move. It makes sense to shop around for used equipment, which may be available at bargain prices.