Kid holding a plant with her mom

Beyond Aesthetics: 3 Ways to Cultivate a Kid-Friendly Garden

When designing gardens, people usually consider one thing and one thing alone: aesthetics. The mix and match of colors should be right. The textures should be balanced. The focal points must be on point—all these to achieve a visually-appealing space that people would enjoy. The catch, though, is that there’s one group of people who is often overlooked there: kids. It’s ironic that most gardens aren’t designed to accommodate kids, when in fact, it’s the kids who love to spend time in the outdoor space. It’s time to make your garden kid-friendly. That said, here are some tips to help you:

1. Create pocket areas for discovery

Outdoor spaces are opportunities for kids to explore things. While there may be plenty of plant species kids can memorize and study in the garden, it pays to make discovery more fun and thrilling for them. For this reason, create hidden nooks around your space. This will make kids remember secret, magic places they see in fairy tales and cartoons, thus enticing them to indeed go and explore these areas. Create arched walkways using arbors. Let climbers grow in those fixtures, then add some benches to that tiny nook. Take note of the paving materials you’ll use leading up to this area, too. Aside from it, matching the overall design of your garden, it should also be safe for kids. Now, aesthetics doesn’t have to take a backseat in your design just because you’re prioritizing a kid-friendly garden. You can have copper plant containers, mini-fountains, or Italian garden statues, which you may get from reputable suppliers such as Authentic Provence, in these nooks to improve their aesthetic appeal.

2. Build a playhouse

Girl using a telescope in a playhouseA kid-friendly garden isn’t complete without a tree house. This area will serve as a perfect space for them to play pretend, exploring different roles as they interact with friends, or it can simply be a safe place where they can retreat to when they want privacy or solitude with nature. Now, an important thing you need to consider here is the kind of tree. There are lots of patterns you can check out online, but note that yours will most likely be different since you have trees that are thicker, farther apart, closer together, or weaker. You need to assess these factors to make sure that you’re building on a solid foundation.

Another thing you should consider is letting your kids take part in the design and build process. They will have a far greater appreciation for their tree house if they’re involved right from the beginning. A playhouse also hits your aesthetic goals for your garden in a way as it will definitely be a cute addition to your design.

3. Offer sun protection

Kids spend lots and lots of time in outdoor areas, so they’re almost always under the sun. A little bit of sunshine is good, but too much can lead to skin problems. Hence, make sure to provide sun protection in the garden. Now, this is another opportunity for you to hit your aesthetic appeal goals while keeping the garden design child-friendly. There are lots of visually appealing sun shades out there, from pergolas covered in drapes or patios decorated with awnings to decks protected with retractable canopies.

It’s not enough to consider aesthetics when styling your outdoor space. Keep the kids, the very people who frequently spend time in your garden, in mind as well. In the process, you might just pull off a better-looking space.

former owner of a commercial landscaping service business. Retired at the age of 44 after selling his business. Tony spends his free time reading the paper and watching house flipping and real estate shows on the FYI Channel.

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