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Al Fresco Adventures: Making Your Home More Family-Friendly

March 30, 2014

The sun has finally got its hat on, and it’s time to start dreaming of spending hazy days in the garden. If you have children, there’s nothing better than breathing in fresh air and enjoying al fresco adventures. No matter how large or small your garden is, it’s possible to create a child-friendly haven your kids will love. If your garden needs some TLC or you’re keen to inject some more fun into proceedings, here are some tips to help you make your outdoor space more family-friendly.

Clear out and declutter

This is the most boring part of the revamp process, but trust me, once you’ve done it, you’ll feel much better. During the winter months, it’s very easy to let things slip in the garden, and by the time spring arrives, you may find yourself looking at weeds, overgrown lawns and random buckets and pots that have been caught by the wind and ended up face down on the patio. The best thing to do when you’re planning a mini garden makeover is start with a decluttering operation. Arm yourself with a bin bag, a trowel and a rake, and collect leaves and rubbish. Gather anything that has been displaced and then move on to your flower beds. Use your trowel to dig out unwelcome weeds. When your garden is free from debris, you can then turn your attention to fun activities like choosing plants and creating areas that are suitable for mini explorers.

Design a versatile space

Your garden is a place that should be enjoyable for every member of the family. If you plan to spend summer days out in the garden with the kids, but you also crave a spot to rest and relax, or you enjoy entertaining, it is possible to design a space that offers everything. Think about how you want to use your garden, and section off different areas. If you’re a fan of firing up the bbq and getting friends and family over for playdates or evening gatherings, look at Stylemaster Patios for inspiration and create a zone that is suited to socialising. You can add a retractable or permanent awning to make the space functional all year-round, and you can use furniture, accessories and soft furnishings to make the garden look inviting. Scatter floor cushions and bean bags for a laid-back vibe or go for a classic sofa set with oversized standing lanterns for a chic, modern look.

If you’re planning outdoor adventures with your children, encourage them to play in the garden by adding slides or swings or by designing your own version of a golf course, a football pitch or an obstacle course. You could include a sunken sandpit, stepping stones, logs for balancing and a rope swing, for example. Be imaginative and think about the kinds of activities your children enjoy. If you have very young kids, why not make a track to use ride-ons or add a mud kitchen to encourage roleplay? If you’re on the lookout for climbing frames or outdoor games or structures, it’s a good idea to consider buying second-hand, as this can save you a lot of money. If you bought a pristine wendy house, for example, this could cost hundreds, but if you’re creative, you could buy a used shed and convert it into the playhouse of dreams. Add retro stripes for a beach hut vibe or match cream paint with a yellow door and a hanging basket for a country cottage look.

For many of us, the garden is a tranquil space. After a busy day, there’s nothing better than chilling out as the sun sets. If you enjoy relaxing in the outdoors, you could create an oasis by hanging hammocks from the trees or laying down outdoor rugs and large floor cushions. You can add ambience with fairy lights and get cosy with throws and blankets.

Stay safe

As a parent, you learn very quickly that safety comes first. When you’re out in the garden, the last thing you want is to be worrying about your children getting injured. While supervision is important, you don’t want to feel like you have to watch your children like a hawk. Children have accidents, but prevention is always better than cure. Focus on designing a safe space that enables your kids to have fun and challenge themselves in a secure, hazard-free environment. Take a good look at fencing and make sure there aren’t any splintered panels, check the locks on your gates and tend to any loose stones or strips on your patio and decking areas. Check your flower beds for nettles and any other potentially dangerous plants and ensure any water features, such as ponds or pools, are cordoned off.

Get the kids involved

If you’re on a mission to create a family-friendly outdoor space, it makes sense to get the kids involved. No matter how young your children are, they can have an influence. Get your kids used to spending time outdoors, have fun together and take part in activities, such as planting, that you can all do. If you have older kids, it’s a great idea to set up a small vegetable patch, which you can tend to as a family. Children enjoy gardening, and they may also be more likely to taste produce they have helped to grow if you’re used to battles about eating greens at dinner time. Let children help you with watering the plants and sowing seeds and try and teach them about different plants and flowers.  

Summer is just around the corner, and what better time to start thinking about spending more time in the garden with the kids? If your outdoor area is a little tired, drab or uninspiring, and you’re eager to breathe new life into your garden ready for al fresco adventures, hopefully, this guide has given you some food for thought. Work out how you want to use the garden, create different zones and have fun together as a family.

* This is a contributed post

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