A beautiful landscape is something to behold. From soothing waterfalls to carefully cultivated flowerbeds, we all love having a yard that looks like it belongs in a magazine. But when you have kids, you need more. You want a yard that’s beautiful for you and fun for them. In fact, your yard should give your kids compelling reasons to go outside, luring them away from their computer and TV.
A landscape design professional can help you find that natural balance between beauty and functionality. They’ll help you take advantage of the characteristics of your property to create a more versatile and usable space that is both stimulating and relaxing.
To help you get started on your kid- and adult-friendly landscape design, we’ve outlined five considerations to keep in mind and discuss with your landscape architect.
Focus on Flexibility
Flexibility is essential when it comes to designing a landscape for you and your kids. While your children might be five years old now and merit a playground set or game area, that won’t always be the case. As your kids grow up and change, so too will the age-appropriate amenities you’ll want in your backyard.
That’s why it’s so important to speak with a landscape design professional. They’ll help you determine the full potential of your yard and create areas that can be re-purposed as your children mature and your needs change. For example, with a flexible design perspective, you can easily replace a playground set to make room for a lawn area with a soccer net, a basketball court, or a tennis court.
The more flexibility your landscape designer builds into your yard, the more you can adapt and the more options you have.
Make it Harmonious
Transforming your entire yard into a kids’ area limits its use. It can actually make your family less likely to take advantage of the outdoors. Instead, you want to create a compositionally balanced and harmonious yard. A well thought out landscape plan will ensure you have both beautiful landscaping and areas designated for kids’ activities.
There are three types of spaces that are important to define in your landscape: a space for adult entertaining and relaxing, play spaces for the kids, and group activity areas. Each space should be properly located within the yard, so you have the view from the house you want and so—visually and spatially—everything works together.
Plant an Educational Garden
A landscape design that is fun for your kids can also be functional for your entire family. Younger kids, especially, enjoy digging around in the dirt, so take advantage of that by planting a vegetable garden or fruit trees where you can grow and harvest food as a family. This area can be a fantastic opportunity to give your children first-hand experience planting seeds, watching plants grow, and then harvesting their bounty. It will mean that your child will have as much at stake in your landscaping as you do.
The best part is that, even if you have a gorgeous landscaped yard and little room for anything else, you can still put in a garden for perennials and herbs. All you need for this kid-friendly area is a little bit of extra space in an open area that gets plenty of sunlight. Then, your landscape architect can help you pick out the gorgeous plants and format that best fits into your already finished landscape.
Create a Play Area
As we said at the very beginning, a flexible play area is crucial to designing a landscape for you and your kids, but what exactly does that look like? There are many features that your professional landscape designer can help you decide to include depending on the age of your child and what they enjoy.
For little kids (ages three to eight), your play area could include a:
Swing set and slide
Climbing structure and chain bridge
Fort or treehouse
Zipline (fun for all ages)
For older kids, the play area can be replaced with a:
Multi-purpose sports court for tennis, basketball or volleyball
Lawn area for games
Artificial turf putting greens for putt-putt golf
Just be sure to talk to your landscape architect before you add a play area. A flat, well-drained surface is needed, and it’s rare for any property to have the appropriate space without some work. In most cases, you’ll have to deal with a slope, which will require your landscape architect to use terracing and retaining walls to develop the flat area needed. They’ll also ensure you have the proper drainage, so your play area lasts for years to come.
Invest in a Pool
Obviously, a swimming pool is one of the most versatile kid- and adult-friendly features you can invest in. It’s a wonderful attraction for all ages from the littlest toddlers to grandma and grandpa. The best part about building a swimming pool is that it encourages your kids to invite their friends over and makes your backyard a destination for everyone. You’ll just have to ensure you have enough room and the right pool design, which your landscape architect can handle for you.
With some imagination, you can design a landscape that is beautiful and functional for you and fun for your kids. By starting with a flexible landscape design plan, it’s entirely possible to create a kid-friendly backyard that offers fun features for them and a remarkable outdoor environment for the adults. A landscape architect will help you make the right choices to satisfy your immediate needs while also keeping an eye on the future. They’ll help you harmoniously build in flexibility so the landscape features and amenities you choose now will be able to evolve as your kids grow and their interests change.
If you’ve been thinking about investing in a landscape design project, our eBook: Expert Guide to Planning the Landscape Design of Your Dreams, is full of valuable information to help you get started.