Planning a Garden for Kids

I believe that gardening should be fun for both young and old, though as with many other things in life we are inclined to make gardening appear complicated. We often dwell on the negative rather than focus on the positive. When it comes to gardening I think that we would be better off viewing things through the eyes of a child. They often know best.

Not being a parent myself might leave me a little unqualified to talk about what children like in a garden, but on the other hand I was once a child myself. In fact like most adults, I still have a tendency to behave like a child sometimes.

Planning a garden for younger people is much like planning for yourself. Think beyond climbing frames and sandpits (by the way, cats tend to treat them as public toilets so be sure to cover them when they are not in use). Use your imagination and develop your garden around your children’s interests. Consider designing theme gardens such as ‘jungle’ areas, wildflower meadows, kitchen gardens, maze areas etc.

A flat stretch of lawn is ideal for children to kick ball on but also consider some grassy mounds for them to run up and down on. Bear in mind though that you have to mow these areas so be sure that they are not too steep.

Include features such as secret garden spaces, gates and seats as these can all create areas of fun for children. Concrete drainage pipes painted by the children make good play tunnels. Painted pots, painted rocks and so on, all the handiwork of children, could be positioned around the garden. Children love the mystery that winding pathways create so it would be worth including such paths also. Mobiles (hanging ornaments that is and not telephones) and wind chimes can add a nice touch to the garden.

As all children grow up include patio areas as a place for teenagers to entertain their friends. It is always good for them to have a place to play their music away from your ageing ears.

If your family are interested in growing plants, it might be worth starting a small kitchen garden including in it a mix of fruits and vegetables. Eating peas from the pod is always more appealing than eating from a plate at the dinner table.

Children are so much better than us adults when it comes to environmental issues, therefore it might be worth involving them in recycling and composting within the garden.

Children should be encouraged to plant and to maintain their own sections of garden as this instils in them a sense of responsibility and pride.

At all times keep safety in mind. Avoid dangerous water features, supervise those using any type of machinery, follow instructions on all products, avoiding chemicals where at all possible.

Above all it is important to involve your children in planning their areas of the garden. Each time they go out should be a time of fun and education. Variety is after all ‘the spice of life’.

Happy Gardening!

Anne.

February Checklist

• Continue pruning fruit trees and bushes.
• Complete digging the garden, adding organic manure.
• Transplant bare-rooted trees and shrubs
• Divide perennial plants.
• Continue pruning roses.
• Sprout seed potatoes in preparation for planting next month.