25 Feb Landscaping for Kids
While Ward Design Group strives for relevant, artistic design, we also aim to give our clients yards they can live in, and what better way to do that than with design elements that accommodate children. You may think that children and good design are mutually exclusive, but companies like Pottery Barn Kids make a living proving that is not necessarily true. Here are a few considerations we take into account when working for families with children at home.
As with all things kid-friendly, safety is one of the easiest concerns to meet and is best covered from the beginning, so that the design grows around the safety concerns, rather than making awkward allowances for it.
Fences, walls, steps, water, fire. These are things we typically think of when it comes to backyard hazards, but what about your plants? Were you aware that many plants can be harmful to children if ingested?
Nightshade, Foxglove, Rhododendrons, and Azaleas are some common plants that can be uncommonly toxic if ingested. Here is a link to a few others. http://landscaping.about.com/od/poisonouslandscapeplants/tp/poisonous-plants.htm
While it is true that parents of small children must be vigilant, knowing that children share a space can allow us to make adjustments to our plantings to make sure that poisonous plants are not a factor.
We talk a lot about creating visual and architectural interest, but what about practical interest? Elements of your landscape that can be interacted with are great additions for children. The obvious solution is a traditional play space. These can be custom designed to add beauty as well as years of creative playtime. What about tree swings, small sitting areas, stone features that can double as climbing toys (with safety in mind), there are a million and one ways to stimulate their little imaginations as they interact with nature!
Children are natural gardeners and adding a small vegetable plot, herb garden, berry bushes, or a patch of strawberries can give them an opportunity to learn, and share in the joy of caring for your landscape. Remember to keep it simple, kids have a tendency to tire easily of the same task over and over, so a few strawberries in a flower bed or a raised vegetable bed are great. They require a minimum of work, and if the child loses interest, are easily removed or re-purposed.
There are lots of great books on the subject and a search of landscaping for children will give you many more ideas! We would love to create imaginative spaces to accommodate the children in your life, let us know your ideas, together we can recreate paradise!