The Fundamentals of a Child-Friendly Garden Space
Many of us will have fond memories of playing outside in our family gardens as children. They are often the source of fun, from rolling on fresh grass to cool paddling pools in the summer heat. Our parents, however, are likely to have taken steps to ensure that these outdoor areas were entirely safe for a child to explore. And, as garden culture begins to change, with a greater number of residents seeking to rewild their patch and support environmentally friendly events such as No Mow May, we must be even more aware of how child-friendly our gardens truly are.
That’s not to say we should prevent children from playing outside altogether. Far from it! Instead, we should always be aware of the measures that need to be taken in order for our children to enjoy garden spaces without the risk of injury. For those unsure of what considerations need to be made, or those wanting to clarify the safety of their outdoor space, here are the fundamentals of designing a child-friendly garden.
Know Your Flora
As a culture of environmental sustainability contains to grow, gardens are being cultivated into wild spaces, with fewer plants being considered weeds. This is largely because many plants, such as dandelions and cleavers, those that we might consider unsightly, actually play an important role in the local ecosystem, especially for bees.
While encouraging these to grow within controlled spaces of your garden is great, you should remain cautious that harmful plants do not grow. While you might rarely find hemlock growing in your garden, plants such as hogweed are becoming more frequent and can cause great injury to children with only a small portion of sap. Brambles, with their distinct thorns, grow notoriously quickly too, so, if you would like your children to feel safe, be sure to check your flora regularly.
Create A Play Space
A fantastic way to ensure that your children enjoy a garden is to give them a dedicated play space. This could be an area away from ponds or garden sheds, one that is closed off to ensure even the most avid explorers don’t get themselves into trouble. Within smaller gardens, summer houses, extensions, and cabins are an excellent option, not only giving children an area to enjoy but one that also allows them to enjoy activities outside of the home throughout the year too, with many outbuildings having options for insulation and heating.
Find Suitable Cover
While the UK isn’t always known for its bright, sunny days, it is exactly this kind of forecast expectation that makes sunburn a significant issue for residents. At a younger age, children are predisposed to have more sensitive skin and will be far more affected by sunshine than an adult. To remedy this, consider the shade in your garden. If you have few trees or tall hedges, then consider a gazebo or retractable covering that provides your garden area with a shady and cool spot for children to enjoy.