“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it” –David Sobel
In today’s tech-centric world it is more important than ever to encourage not just our children, but our entire family, to spend more time outdoors. Studies show that time spent in the backyard, surrounded by nature, is good for our mind, body, and soul. Children who are exposed to green spaces show improved learning and memory, are less stressed, and have boosts in creativity. Outdoor childhood play also has a direct correlation with recycling, buying green products, and continued outdoor recreation as adults. Here are some of our favorite family friendly elements to consider when planning your backyard. Keep in mind that your design can be classy, beautiful, and fun.
- In ground trampoline
- Sand box- While the traditional turtle box can suffice there are other ways to incorporate a sand box into your yard. Hide your sandbox within a planting bed to provide camouflage
- Play area- Ensure that any play structures have adequate room around them free of any hazards. Use playground mulch, pea gravel, or any other soft material underneath and surrounding in case of falls. If you do not have the room required for a swing set consider a small playhouse so your child has a place of their own.
- Plant a veggie garden or provide another area where your child can help in the garden. Something as simple as a pot of their own to tend can instill a love for the outdoors and nature. Children who grow their own fruits and veggies may also be more likely to eat them.
- Don’t neglect all the senses. Include plants with enticing scents and fun textures.
- Include plants that encourage butterflies. For more info on butterfly gardening, check out our blog here.
- Purchase or create fun garden art. We have created a Pinterest board with some great ideas!
- Include an outdoor dining area- the entire family can appreciate the fun that comes with eating a tasty meal outside.
It is important to keep in mind some of the potential hazards when planning your family’s dream backyard.
- Fire pits and water features are beautiful and great to gather around but can also be very dangerous. Never leave your child unsupervised near a burning fire pit or water feature. Some of our favorite water features are bubbling boulders, pondless waterfalls, or other fountains that remove drowning hazard.
- Toxic Plants
- Use of pesticides or other chemicals.
- Window Wells or other fall hazards.
- Be sure to check the safety of play structures on a regular basis. Tighten screws on swing sets and keep an eye on your child’s playhouse as some potentially harmful bugs like wasps or spiders may try to move in.
Start simple. A few kid friendly design elements in your backyard can do wonders for the health and well-being of your entire family.
At Timberline Landscaping we are proud partners with Come Alive Outside, a non-profit dedicated to the pursuit of living healthier lives outside. They have a wonderful set of resources to encourage your family to spend more time in the great outdoors.
As always, our talented design team is a great resource if you are interested in creating a beautiful family friendly landscape. Contact us to get started!