As digital technology continues to take over more and more of our lives, there are becoming fewer and fewer reasons to spend time outside. This is particularly important for children, who reportedly now spend less time outside than prison inmates according to the Guardian.
These days there are increased concerns about letting the little ones go out and play on their own, and this is understandable, but your kids can still get plenty of outdoor play in your own garden. With that in mind, we've put together five ways you can create a child-safe garden.
While it is never good to wrap children up in cotton wool, it is a wise idea to spend a bit of preparation time to make your garden hazard-free. Try and think from your child's perspective and look at your garden in terms of what might present a danger to them. Any tools or equipment should be locked away in a secure location; the same goes for any building materials.
Children are curious by nature and not very good at assessing potential risk. Any nails, branches, or rocks sticking out and creating hazards should be taken care of before allowing them to play. If you have a pond, consider installing grids or netting over it.
The kind of garden fence you install will vary depending on your needs, but when children are involved, safety and security should be a top priority. If you have kids regularly running around your garden, you need a solid boundary that will prevent them from venturing into next door's non-childproofed garden, or worse, into nearby roads.
Wooden fences have been traditionally preferred for aesthetics, but they are easily damaged, and broken panels and splinters can pose a risk to children. UPVC fences are a cheap solution to this problem, but a metal fence will look better.
Create a child-specific play area
Now that you've gotten most of the obvious things out of the way, it's time to create a child-specific play area that can be a total safe zone. Giving the kids their own sectioned-off play area is a great way to put your mind at ease, allowing them ample space for independent outdoor play, while being in a controlled environment.
The space can be as large or as small as you like, but it should have a mix of interesting and fun activities for kids to partake in. Wyevale Garden Centres offer a fantastic range of outdoor play equipment that you can incorporate into a safe space to keep them playing for hours.
Hard surfaces such as stone and brick can be good for riding bikes, but may not be the best choice for garden play. Grass and bark provide a softer alternative that allow children to crawl, run, and fall over without getting hurt. Gravel should be avoided altogether as it is painful to land on and not very comfortable to crawl on.
For an added bonus, consider installing artificial grass instead of the real thing. Not only is it durable and tough, but you don't have to worry about it getting slippery and muddy — and it'll make doing the laundry a lot easier. There are a surprising number of different artificial grasses available, so check out Artificial Grass Direct for a free sample.
Child friendly flowers
Take your eyes off them for a moment and your small children will have disappeared, eagerly exploring and discovering new things to touch and put in their mouths. For this reason it is important to be aware that some flowers and plants can pose a risk. Stinging nettles and thorny plants are obvious causes of harm to curious children, but there are some plants that you may not know about. Common flowering plants such as lily-of-the-valley and philodendron can cause irritation, while every part of the English yew is poisonous.
Having children doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fantastic garden. By following the five tips above you will be able to create a beautiful — and safe — outside space can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.