Make your garden child-friendly

Follow these ideas to create an outdoor space that’s both fun and educational for youngsters all summer

TODO alt text
  • Lawns trampled by football-mad children must be tough, so use hardwearing grass seed mixes that contain rye grass.
  • Screen off toys, such as trampolines and climbing frames, with evergreens such as bamboo or Californian lilac (Ceanothus griseus ‘Yankee Point’).
  • Make sure there are shaded areas so that children have somewhere to sit and relax out of the sun — watch the way the sun moves round to see how the light falls at different times and design your garden accordingly.
  • Grow tumbling cherry tomatoes, strawberries and herbs in pots — they’re easy to grow and children will love to pick and eat the fruit.
  • Find places for bird feeders and nesting boxes to encourage birds into your space.
  • A pre-formed, fibreglass pond liner makes a lovely sandpit (cover it to keep cats out). Once children are older, it will convert easily into a water feature.
  • Plant seeds for fast-growing vegetables and flowers, such as sweetcorn or sunflowers, and chart their growth by measuring them against the height of your children.
  • Lawn-side plants need to be resilient to withstand being trampled by feet and footballs – Crocosmia, Escallonia, Elaeagnus, Euonymus, Choisya and ornamental grasses are pretty tough.
  • Check whether your garden plants are child-safe — daphne, for example, has poisonous berries, while cut Euphorbia stems ooze white sap that is an irritant.
  • Have a compost bin for garden and kitchen waste to introduce children to ideas of recycling and sustainability.