Creating a Fun & Safe Backyard

playhouseBy Marie Nieves

Seeing kids play in my yard brings back many memories. Those days seem so far away now, the days of freedom, playfulness, creativity and adventure, when we had all the time in the world and our back yard was our universe. The modest tree-house my father had made by himself had a lot to do with it – it was enough to create the sense of magic for us being our hiding place, our adventure base and our headquarters in the endless summer days.

The preparations

Creating something similar for our kids has always been at the back of my mind, but I never got around to it. So, what is the plan? You want everything to be renovated so that it fits perfectly. Check the pipes you use to water the yard. In addition, checking whether the drainage in the yard is good shows the state of indoor pipes. This might be odd but this is usually the sign of blockage or broken pipes. Consult with your local plumber and you are on your way.

The grass

If you want to do everything from scratch, think about the grass. Some may think this factor is irrelevant, remember that this will be the grass that your kids will run on when the weather is nice. There are different types according to the color, density, and leaf width. Higher grass quality requires more maintenance and, thus, more money. It’s not just about that. You need to be aware of your ground’s fertility, the amount of sunlight and rainfall the area where you live is exposed to. When buying the seed grass, know that the packages come with a mix of several seeds. For a low-maintenance lawn, I recommend the following mix: 65% of fine fescue blend, 15% of perennial ryegrasses and finally 20% of Kentucky bluegrass blend.

A tree house!

We’re getting a tree-house! It will be without a tree though, and on the ground, but the design will be that of a tree-house, so that the kids can use it as their little outdoors house. What do you need to know when building a tree house? We decided to play it safe and build it on the ground. If you are planning to build it on a tree, try not to make it too high, as a precaution. The ultimate checklist for this yard gem is as follows:

  • planning (determine the type and design, the location, draw plans or buy them and create a budget)
  • resources (find all the necessary information on the material and tools, consult with friends who are good at making this kind of constructions or call a professional for a consultation)
  • construction (once you have all the necessary things, begin building the tree house)

Mounting up the wall

I’m also thinking about including more natural materials in our garden, like stone and wood. I will always remember the exterior Cotswold-style wall cladding on our garden walls above which I could see the tip of my neighbors’ apple tree. The stone wall is the best option because it is durable. Additionally, do think of the height. If you want more privacy, build it higher. If you plan on saving the money on the material, the best option is to go with wall of plants. When they grow high enough, they will compensate for the lack of stone material and provide you seclusion.

Our playground

We also used to have an improvised sandpit in our yard, so I’m thinking about getting or making a sandpit for the kids. When building a sandpit, remember you are making it for the kids. Choose a place that is receives enough sunlight but is also shaded in certain parts of the day. Don’t forget about drainage, so build it a bit higher. How do you determine the size? Observe your kids’ playing routine and see how much space they require. Get some lumber and make a frame for your sandpit. Place it on the intended spot and mark the edges on the ground. Start digging. Once you are finished, place an inner frame inside the hole, and line it with landscaping fabric. This will keep the weed out and help with the drainage. Place the frame you made earlier and fill it with sand. And you are done.

These are just some of the suggestions you can use to renovate your yard so that it is a perfect playground for your daughters and sons. It will definitely not stop here. There are many ideas online that can help you spark your imagination for the renovation projects and even make you re-live your childhood.