Let getting your kids away from electronics and having them spend more time outdoors be your goal this summer. In order to achieve this, you’ll need a couple of ideas which can help you reinvent your backyard into a more family-oriented space. Here are some of the most effective designs.
Growing Food Together
Whether you’re blessed with a space for a full veggie garden or restricted to a few pots of climbing plants and herbs on the sunny side of your patio, growing tasty vegetables around the season might be a great way to get everyone outside and involved with tending the garden. Even young kids can help with harvesting crops which are easy to pick like gooseberries or cherry tomatoes, and rest assured that even kids with picky food preferences are often more likely to eat something they helped grow. Older kids, on the other hand can be trusted with tasks like watering the plants, weeding, or similar responsibilities.
Divide It for Different Purposes
It’s only normal that kids and adults want to use the outdoor space in different ways. While kids want to explore, play, and have fun, adults want to relax and entertain friends. These uses, however, don’t necessarily complement each other, so it would be great if you can create different zones in your landscape design.
One way to achieve this is to think about your garden as concentric rings radiating from the house. For example, if your backyard is long and narrow, break it into several bands running parallel with the home. This way you can use the belt closes to the house as a shared-use area, while the furthest zone can be used for swings, slides, and sandpits, where they would be screened from the view by the veggie garden in the middle section.
A Multipurpose Playhouse
With several smart design tricks, even what seems like a mere kids’ playhouse can serve multiple functions, and what is more, evolve over the years, as the kids grow and priorities change. Apart from providing play space for kids, it can be ‘remodelled’ into a hangout spot for teens, and eventually a home office, an art studio or guest rooms for adults. An especially useful playroom or playhouse design has the interior reserved for kids, while the rooftop is furnished with adults’ entertainment in mind, where they can have a drink with their friends or relax after a busy workday.
Outdoor Kitchen And Dining Patio
An outdoor kitchen with the cooktop, bar, dishwasher and an alfresco dining area can truly draw the whole family outside for the better part of the years. When designing such an outdoor dining space make sure the features match your lifestyle.
For example, if you’re a family who’d rather order pizza, you don’t need an outdoor pizza oven. On the other hand, if you’re widely recognized as an undisputed grill-boss of the neighbourhood, you’d benefit from a customized grilling station. However, the heart of an outdoor kitchen is a thoroughbred gas range. These stainless steel Thor ranges, for example, have a rugged design which makes them ideal for outdoor installation, but are also packed with chef-grade features like infrared broil burner, blue porcelain oven interior, and convection fans.
Features with Repurposing Potential
Instead of streamlining your garden towards strictly play features sandbox, seesaws or swing sets that will see less and less use as the kids grow, try to imagine how the space will evolve over time. Although it costs more up-front than a typical sandbox, a stone sand pit can be coordinated with the surrounding landscape to become a fire pit, fountain, or a focal point flower bed, once your kids grow out of building sand castles.
Flower Bed Ideas
There is no simpler way to add some colour and interest to your outdoor area than by building a flower bed full of beautiful blooms. Once you choose a size for your flower bed, you need to think of the right design. If you’re using a corner of the yard, the centre of your lawn or an area immediately next to your front entry, a smaller bed of perennials is the best choice. On the other hand, if you want a flower bed in front of your house, line the walkway on both sides. Surround the bases of the front porch pillars or the mailbox. Flower beds with climbers can also be used to screen unattractive backyard features such as air conditioner units, pool heaters or storage sheds.
Setting up a family-friendly garden is often a personal matter – what one person thinks of being ideal for outdoor family activities, might be completely different from other person’s idea. While this list covers many different approaches, it’s ultimately you who will choose the best strategies for your garden and your family.
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