Family Friendly Landscaping Tips
June 30, 2017
Do you have a picture in your head of how your ideal yard would look? If you’re picturing it, can you also picture kids running through the yard (without getting hurt, or damaging something)? If not, keep reading for helpful landscaping tips for a family-friendly yard.
Children and outdoor play is bound to equal some scratches and owies. But, when it comes to keeping kids safe it’s always better to prevent accidents as much as possible.
Non-slip surfaces- Put in areas where children will get the most play, especially places that are more likely to get wet. For example, put rubber tiles or pavers under slides.
Fence/enclose pools– This should be a given. It only takes a few seconds for a child to get out of sight and drown, being safe rather than sorry is the only answer here.
Watch out for poisonous and harmful plants – Kids tend to stick berries (or anything) in their mouth, so be cautious when it comes to planting anything poisonous. Also, rosebushes, cactus, agave etc. can poke kids and leave them with some cuts so try to keep those out of reach.
Grow resilient plants– ones that can handle getting played with by children, or having a ball tossed at them.
Consider artificial grass– not only is it a softer surface, but it’s less damageable, easy to clean (especially if you have pets), and low-maintenance.
Designate a play area– use borders to differentiate play area from other landscaped areas. Establish a clear rule of where the kids can and cannot play. Make sure the play area is somewhere close by an area where parents can conveniently keep a close eye.
If you plan on putting in a playground or playhouse, first look for a level spot that it can go. If you don’t have enough flat space in your yard, you can either level the ground yourself, or hire someone. Avoid hazardous areas such as places where low tree branches may become a problem or anywhere near power lines. Think about how much enclosure it will need- does it need to be out of direct sunlight and the elements? Also, make sure the playground area is big enough for kids to land softly while playing on the playground itself.
Pea gravel – Pros- low maintenance, low cost, Cons- could be a choking hazard for small children, and could cause scrapes and cuts as it is not the softest landing spot.
Rubber mulch– Pros- provides a cushion for children when they fall, low maintenance, and acts as a weed barrier, Cons- can get tracked inside, it’s harder to keep clean than alternative materials, recycled material may include harsh chemicals, and if new might have strong smell.
Rubber tiles– Pros- slip resistant, wheelchair accessible, easy to maintain, level surface, one of the safest materials, Cons- more costly.
Real grass– Pros- natural, Cons- high maintenance, water and chemicals may damage playground equipment.
Artificial grass or turf– Pros- provides soft cushion, low maintenance, wheelchair accessible Con/Pro- initially more expensive than grass but saves money in the long run with no need to water, mow, etc.
Sand– Pro- not harsh on falls (when several inches thick), affordable, Cons- messy, Note- playground sand is softer and safer than other sand types that may cause scrapes and come with harsh chemicals.
Wood chips and mulch– Pros- comes in different colors and easy to match outside themes and look presentable, Cons- more expensive than sand or pea gravel, can get mold and attract insects, can be a choking hazard, and will need to be regularly replaced to remain presentable.
Engineered wood fiber– Pros- slip resistant, Cons- will need to be replaced over time, typically more on the expensive side than other playground materials.