Landscaping For a Family-Friendly Yard

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When making design decisions regarding an outdoor space like a yard or garden, many people don't stop to consider how to make a yard childproof and family friendly. Images of elaborate flowerbeds and well manicured lawns are a more likely to come to mind than swing sets and security gates. The yard is generally considered the domain of the adult, although children spend a great deal of time there as well. Planning and building a safe play area for your family doesn't mean you have to sacrifice design and creativity. Simply remembering a few extra details can help you create a yard or garden that is both safe and fun for your family and true to your artistic inclinations.

The age and number of children in your family will be a large determining factor when deciding what to include in your yard's new design. You'll also want to consider what kinds of outdoor activities your family enjoys as a whole. If you are lucky enough to have a large yard, the options can be numerous. Of course, younger children enjoy a play set of some kind - usually swings, monkey bars or a slide. There are a wide variety of the sets on the market today, and it is very possible to find a set that suits your children's play habits and compliments the rest of the yard. Be conscious of the fact that the ground underneath swings and slides will get worn quickly, so it may be helpful to designate a specific play area for this equipment with a base of sand or sawdust.

A family-friendly yard can include more than just play equipment. Flowers, trees and shrubbery are excellent additions to any outdoor space, including one where children tend to run and play. For the particularly safety-minded, you can do research ahead of time to find out which plants and flowers might be toxic (young children like to taste things), and which ones can actually have be helpful (like aloe, for instance). Keep in mind, as well, that dense, heavy foliage can attract snakes, spiders and small vermin. Make sure that your plants are kept free of such dangers by planting with moderation and keeping lawns and flowerbeds clear of weeds and excess growth.

Safety doesn't have to stop with plants and playgrounds. In a family with small children or outdoor pets, a fenced-in yard is very important. This serves not only to keep the little ones from wandering, but it keeps unwanted visitors out. A sturdy, six- or eight-foot privacy fence is an excellent choice for the active family, as it provides both security and seclusion from neighbors and passers-by. If your yard includes a pool, a fence is a requirement to prevent accidental drowning or unauthorized use by outsiders.

Having a family-friendly yard doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your outdoor space to a yard full of Big Wheels and kiddy pools. Finding the right balance between a play area for the children and an entertainment area for the adults can help you create a space to build memories for years to come.

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Author: Piper Smith
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