A family garden is a tricky balance. On the one hand you want it offer as much as possible for your offspring. Yet, on the other it needs to be somewhere that provide adults with the entertaining, sociable and stylish space that they require.
No matter how “high-end” you make the space, as soon as you put a yellow plastic slide in the mix it will scream for attention. Here we show you how to make adult space that has appeal to the younger members of the family as well.
Keep an area clear
Children have a habit of growing up. A young toddler will be happy on a tricycle, whereas an older child will be prefer to move about on a scooter. By keeping the area clear, you are increasing your options. You can erect a sandpit, paddling pool, den or even a bouncy castle into the space and then take it down and stored away without it impacting on your view. Artificial lawn is a great solution for this idea. It will save the grass turning yellow in the summer when the paddling pool is up. It also provides a mud free option.
The moment you start to play with scale things get exciting. It can create an Alice in Wonderland-esque type scenario. Try and super-size something, or bring it into the foreground. It could be a tree in a plant pot, or a giant seat. Play around with scale and it will make an exciting space for children and adults alike.
Kids like to follow lines. Think how quick they are to walk along a wall. Juxtapose one hard landscaping material with another and you instantly create a Grand Prix racing track for scooters, toy cars or tricycles,as well as an attractive surface for tables and chairs. In this family garden we used a different colour paving to wind its way through the decking and contrasting paving.
As soon you add texture to space it creates depth. Layer things up, pick different textures to create something interesting and dramatic. Here we used stainless steel mesh, combined with Perspex, grasses and flowers.
It may sound strange recommending adding water to a family garden, but think how much fun can be got from the sprinkler in the summer. If you add a water feature that has an enclosed reservoir, it’s basically like leaving the tap running in the garden. Totally safe. In this garden we used a stainless steel water blade as a very bold feature for the adults to enjoy from right inside the house, however, when the children wish to play in the garden, it was a ready-made play feature.
Hide it away
If you feel you can’t live without that all-important trampoline, or indeed a play structure, try and hide it away. They are such big items that they will instantly draw your the attention. It will be what you looking at from any of the elevations of the back of the house. Use garden screens, planting or as we did in this case simply build a very solid wall. Just give over section of the garden to the children if you need to, and leave the rest of the family garden space that everybody can enjoy.
Brighten it up
Colour can be transformative in the space. Consider using it liberally in your hard landscaping. Add bright planters, or in this case Perspex, to tie in with the accent colour in the open plan family room at the back of the house. You could always use blackboard paint to cover your shed door. Paint the back of the house. It actually looks great as an aethetic treatment for the space but will double up as a extra dimension for younger members of the family.
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