Home improvement projects are a lot of fun for families, but when it comes to landscaping where do you start?
First think about what you want and the area you have to work with. At a loss, then turn to your kids for inspiration.
What can we learn from our kids when landscaping our front and back yards? Here are several great tips and ideas that are perfect for the family. Each tip keeps kid-friendly landscaping in mind.
Before you start your landscaping get prepared. Keep these things in mind:
- Allow your kids to help. Kids have such great ideas. To make the most of a family friendly yard, let your kids help. You may be surprised at the great ideas they will have, and you can all have fun landscaping together.
- Identify your family’s needs. Ask yourself what you and your family want from your outdoor space. Have a basketball star in the family? Do you need lots of running space? You want a landscape that your kids will enjoy.
- Plan a budget. You don’t want to get stuck with a project unfinished. Plan out your budget and if you need to break it up concentrate on one area at a time.
- Be mindful of the plants you choose. You don’t want anything that can potentially be harmful to your children or pets.
- Remember safety is the key. Always keep in mind the safety of your children and yourself especially when taking on projects yourself.
Above all the best lesson you can learn from your kids that will help you create the perfect yard is to have fun. When you come home from a busy day having a yard that you can relax in is a welcoming sight, and knowing that your family is safe and comfortable while having fun will give you peace of mind.
1. Backyard Fire Pit Safety
Fire pits are a fun family addition to landscape design. Who doesn’t like S’mores right? But with every landscape structure that involves fire, you need to proceed with caution.
When building your outdoor fire pit be sure to use fire-resistant materials. Make sure seating arrangements are a safe distances from the open flames. Also, make sure there is a screen to cover the top or front opening of the pit to prevent any accidents.
2. Backyard Landscape Planning
Create zones throughout your yard. Plan out each zone. This makes watering efficient and reduces costs as well. Place plants that may contain thorns in a zone that is away from play zones. If you have flowers or plants that you really like, keep them off to the side to avoid accidental trampling.
3. Outdoor Kitchens
When installing an outdoor kitchen or grill you want to keep safety in mind. Place your kitchen a safe distance from trees to avoid fires. Keep in mind the smoke that comes when cooking with an outdoor kitchen. You don’t want to place it too close to a sitting area or your guests will constantly be coughing.
Also keep in mind where your outdoor kitchen is in relation to your swimming pool. You don’t want your kitchen near any pools since splashing and jumping could get water all over your cooking space.
4. Swimming Pool Design Tips for Kids
If you plan on adding a pool to your landscape design, keep your child’s safety in mind. Make sure that you have in-ground pools surrounded by a fence. Toddlers are very inventive when they want to get to something, so be sure your fence is designed with that in mind.
With above-ground pools, a fence is still best since toddlers will get creative and push chairs up to the pool. Use a removable ladder for further safety and keep pools away from power lines and other hazards.
5. Rubber Mulch vs. Playground Mulch Wood Chips
Rubber mulch, while you may think is great for playgrounds, is actually a very poor option. During the summer, rubber mulch gets extremely hot in the sun and can burn kids. Younger kids also try to eat rubber mulch! A great option for playground mulch is virgin wood chips with no bark content, sourced from local mixed hardwoods.
6. Fun Furniture Ideas
Keep your kids in mind when planning your outdoor furniture. Will it stand up to your kids? If so then it should be able to stand up to outside use.
Create fun with your furniture. Add a reading nook to your back yard. Instead of stiff chairs use a pile of pillows and bean bags. Just makes sure this area is safe from outdoor elements.
Use a picnic table in your yard and have fun with the paint colors. Just because you are outside doesn’t mean you can’t create color accents with paint and furniture.
7. Lawn Maintenance
Grass is a great spot for picnics, star gazing and that good old-fashioned slip and slide. So having a nice patch of grass is perfect for families. In order to get a nice, green lawn, you don’t want to spray too many chemicals that can end up harming children, pets and the environment. Organic lawn care services are a great option for families that want a green lawn in a safe way.
8. Go for Natural and Simple
Ever notice that no matter how complex and cool the toy is, your kids will just play with the box? Take a cue from this when landscaping. Go with simple and natural focal points. They can provide a more appealing and soothing experience to your yard.
9. Play Areas
This is by far the best part of landscaping for kids. What does your child like to do? That is the best question to ask yourself when planning out an area for them. Here are some fun elements other than the standard swing set to consider when creating a play zone:
- Add a chalk board to your fence. Outdoor chalk boards are great fun and no mess in the house. You can make one yourself with a large flat board, pallet boards for a frame and chalk paint.
- Stepping stones. Kids love jumping and stepping across stones. Make a hop scotch from flat stones and paint them.
- Water elements. Everyone loves the water element. The sound of running water is soothing. Your kids will have hours of fun with a simple and shallow pond-like play station.
10. Rest Areas
Feeling lazy? Kids are full of energy but no one knows how to relax like a kid. When you are all done with you landscaping do you have a place to relax? Hammocks under the shade are a great way to lay back and relax. Make a spot for a covered swing seat in an out-of-the-way area, or get nice comfy seats for your porch.
11. Water Features
Running water is soothing. It is also loads of fun for your kids. Fountains are a nice addition to any landscape design. With small children be sure you use a shallow base and fill the bottom with decorative rocks.
Backyard streams are also very nice features. Nothing is more fun than a nice shallow stream with rocks all around. Kids love to explore. Adding water plants can make for such a natural setting.
12. Entertaining With Outdoor Living Areas
Kids love to party, and so do adults. If you plan on entertaining in your backyard, keep that in mind when designing the space. Be sure you have lots of seating and lighting.
13. Adding a Vegetable Garden
Get your children involved in the planting and growing process. Find out which vegetable can thrive in your area and create a small vegetable garden. If you don’t want it to take up a lot of room you can build a simple “berry planter” out of a wooden pallet.
14. Outdoor Dining
Everyone loves spending time outdoors in the spring and summer. Many kids will play outside from sun up to sun down if you let them. Having an area where your family can have dinner outside will keep the fun going.
Choose a cool, casual, and organic area for your dinner spot. On the patio you can add potted plants. Use wicker chairs and a simple table. Add sandstone colors or beach tones for your plates and cups.
15. Don’t Stress About Landscape Design
Children never get caught up on the bad or the ugly. They can always seem to make the best of things. Try to take on that mentality when you start a landscaping project. Don’t let it stress you out.
Breathe and take a “time out” if you have to. Keep in mind you are improving your yard to find better enjoyment and fun out of it.
16. Build Backyard Walkways and Bridges
If you really want to have many planting beds amongst your yard but don’t want them to get trampled, create bridges. This is not only super fun for kids to run across but it adds a unique and eye-catching element.
By creating paths and bridges you are able to spread the plants and color around the entire yard. This also breaks up all the elements throughout the yard rather than concentrating them all in one spot.
Pathways can be more then just grass. Bark or mulch work well combined with flat stone steps. Gravel is also a choice that works well for creating pathways.