How to Design a Garden That’s Perfect for the Whole Family

The garden needs to deliver so much that we assume it is at its most versatile when it is a square lawn with flower borders. But a designed outdoor space can tick everyone’s boxes.

Transforming your garden into a family-friendly patch where memories are made is easier than you think…

#1 Relax expectations
In your quest to find the most suitable design and ideas, you’ll probably come across many sites with hundreds of glossy photos of pristine and ordered family gardens. However, having an over-engineered family garden can mean that the space doesn’t get used as it should. So the first rule of a family garden is to relax expectations.

Yes, the lawn will take a bashing and yes, a messy sandpit is still a great idea, as is the trampoline and the swing set. And yes, flower border needs to be full of mud-pie ingredients.

#2 Sympathetic design
The thing with any design system, whether it is for the garden or the interior of your home, is what works for one family, won’t work for you. However, there are a few basics to consider when you are creating the perfect garden design;

a. Easy to keep tidy and clean – whether it is opting for easy to clean rattan garden furniture or a garden design that is easy to keep tidy and clean, bear in mind that just like in the home, you will need to spend time maintaining the garden area.

b. No water – we know, ponds bring in wildlife and the sound of a waterfall is soothing but children are attracted to water like bees to a honeypot. It takes only minutes for a child to get into trouble. If you must opt for a pond or similar, invest in safety measures at the same time such as pond grills and fencing.

c. Fencing and gates – clearly, marking your land boundary is one aspect of investing in a wall or fence but when it comes to family safety, a sturdy fence, wall and locking gate is a must too.

d. Soft landings – when kids go up, at some point they will come down, preferably without a bump. Consider using softer landing surfaces rather than concrete.

e. Poisonous plants – some plants are poisonous when ingested or an irritant when brushed against so know your plants.

#3 Zones
The garden is a large open plan living space and as such, by suggesting activities in each area, you create a garden that has some kind of logical order to it. This doesn’t mean putting in fencing or balustrades, however, although these can have a purpose.

* Garden dining table and chairs on the patio or in an area close to the back of your home suggests that this is the eating area.

* A garden sofa across a far corner of the garden suggests the relaxing and social space

* A grassed area can suggest a play area

* Other areas with decking and flowers suggest this is the planting zone, where everyone can relax and enjoy nature

#4 Consider materials
It isn’t to everyone’s taste but in the busy family garden when football is a daily ritual or lawn tennis is a must-do activity, an artificial grass lawn is the perfect solution.

Easy to keep clean – just sweep it although some people have been known to vacuum it – it doesn’t succumb to damage very easily. So the tell-tale bare patch in front of the goal area is no longer apparent.

Better still, when the summer turns into a heatwave, whilst everyone else’s lawn is yellowing and dying, yours is green and lush – with no watering needed.

#5 Ditch the expensive play sets
Every kid wants one and when they get it, the fun lasts for all of half an hour before the novelty wears off. When it comes to decking out your family garden with play equipment, sometimes the best things are those that are a. cheap and b. have a shorter shelf life than most.

The big cardboard box that the rattan garden furniture arrived in makes a great den for the afternoon…

Building their own play stuff is good fun too. From mud pies in the outdoor kitchen to building their own rickety, but safe treehouse is another. Which of these ideas will you try? What do you think works best in a family garden?

Rattan Direct is a high-end online retailer of rattan furniture, including garden sofas and dining sets.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to get rid of my greenhouse : will make an ideal seating area in summer - the wind keeps brakbreaking the glass - loving your ideas - Rattan would be great