One of the pleasures of having a home is the space that a backyard provides for activities with family and friends. A backyard can be a great place for kids to burn off energy, explore the outdoors, and simply relax.
When children are small, care should also be taken to ensure their safety. The following are things you can do to design a kid-friendly backyard that is both fun and safe.
Maximize Exercise Space
It’s tough these days for children to get enough exercise, but an area dedicated to lawn makes a more kid-friendly backyard. Provide enough space to run around, play tag, or throw a ball. The shrubs around this activity area should be tough, thorn-free, and able to withstand occasional abuse from balls or kids running into the beds.
Plant Fruits and Vegetables
Getting kids to eat their fruits and vegetables can also be a challenge. Why not make eating colorful, nutritious food more interesting by letting children grow their own fruits and vegetables? Tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, raspberries, and blueberries are all easy to grow. When children see fruits and vegetables go from seed to plate, they are more likely to eat them.
Create Interesting Garden Spaces
Is there anyone who hasn’t played hide-and-seek? Providing a lawn isn’t the only way to ignite a child’s sense of play and creativity. Gardens can be divided into “garden rooms.” Think of the lawn as the living room of the backyard, but you can also create a cozy nook with a bench surrounded by shrubs. This kind of space might provide a great kid-friendly place to read a book or the perfect hiding place for that next game of hide-and-seek.
Provide Protective Fencing
Designing a kid-friendly backyard is also about safety. When young children are present, it’s important to provide protective fencing that not only keeps them from wandering off, but also keeps strangers and stray pets from coming into the backyard.
Provide Guardrails on Decks and Site Walls
Generally, building codes call for guardrails on any raised surface, deck, or wall that is 30 inches above the ground or adjacent surface. Handrails are needed on any staircase with four or more steps. The openings on guardrails and handrails must be sized so that a 4-inch sphere cannot pass through in any direction. This is also true for fence pickets.
Don’t Plant Poisonous Plants
Babies and toddlers are always putting things in their mouths. Leaves, bark, colorful flowers, and berries can all look very enticing to curious, young children. Before planting any plant in your backyard, do a little research. Look the plant up in a plant encyclopedia or online and see if it is poisonous. Some very common plants are poisonous: daffodils, daphne, foxgloves, and rhododendrons, just to name a few.
Don’t Allow Unrestricted Access to Pools and Water Features
Babies and small children can drown in a surprisingly small amount of water. Therefore, it’s important to supervise children around swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains, and water features. These water-based amenities can provide hours of enjoyment, but their location and access to them should be carefully planned to prevent accidental drowning. Provide locked doors or gates where appropriate to prevent small children from playing in water unsupervised.
Designing a kid-friendly backyard involves finding ways to inspire creativity and play within a safe environment. It’s as easy as that. Now go outside and play!