With summer in full swing, attention turns to enjoying the great outdoors and for young families, the focus is on finding safe and fun activities for the kids. With some fresh outdoor ideas for clever use of your outdoor space, you can create a kid friendly garden at home which can be just as fun as heading out. “There’s always a place close to home for a child to run around outdoors, but even closer is their backyard where play can be simple, free of charge, and in a space that forms part of many Australians’ cherished childhood memories” remarks Adbri Masonry brand ambassador Jason Hodges.
Commonwealth guidelines recommend at least three hours of physical activity a day for small children, and preferably more. However, the landmark study, Child’s Play: Supportive Childcare Environments for Physical Activity, run jointly by the Heart Foundation and University of Western Australia [i], showed children were active for only two hours a day on average. What’s more, Planet Ark research also suggests that the nature of childhood has changed significantly over the last 20 years. This is caused by dramatic shifts in lifestyle trends such as urban design of houses and gardens, working hours of parents, the use of child and after school care, time pressures on families and increased uptake of electronic entertainment.
At all life stages, the entire family wants a great outdoor room but one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to homes with two or even three generations under the one roof. With a little planning, you can create a feature in your garden that can be evolved and repurposed to remain useful. As your kids’ lives evolve, think about how you can change the backyard space to meet their needs.
An example of this is building a sand pit for them to enjoy while they are little. Then, this same sandpit converts into a veggie patch as they grow. Once the foundation is built, minor cosmetic enhancements will allow the space to grow with you. The children’s sandpit becomes the family’s veggie garden, and later on in life, you can also repurpose the sandpit by converting it to a fire pit natures TV, and the perfect finish to an entertaining area that’s served your family for life.
A veggie garden is a great activity that you and your children can tend to for an hour each day, it’s a great reason to get the family together. By watching fruit, vegetables and herbs grow; it will educate children about where food comes from as well as teaching them lost skills like harvesting fresh produce and preparing homemade meals. The satisfaction your kids will have when picking produce they’ve grown and enjoying it in the family meal is second to none.
You can build many styles of veggies gardens at home using Adbri Masonry’s straight, curved or circular garden wall blocks that add a little bit of flair to your backyard. “For the best results in your garden, I always recommend building up and bringing in quality soils as opposed to digging into the existing ground” says Jason. Choose easy to-grow produce such as carrots, tomatoes, beans and strawberries – all foods that the kids will love to help maintain and snack on.
Low maintenance built in furniture is a great one to ensure your backyard works with the kids in summer. Adbri Masonry’s retaining walls’ range such as the Versawall blocks can be built to double up as seats for your guests, as well as extra outdoor storage for the kids toys.
According to the 2019 Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard Survey, despite 92.7 per cent of respondants confirming that it is “very important” for children to play outside for their development and wellbeing, over a third admitted that their children played outdoors for just one to three hours per week.This is compared to 44.9 per cent that said their child spent six to 14 hours per week on screens such as phones, TVs and computers.
The main priority for families creating a kid friendly backyard is safety, and a well designed, enclosed backyard free from access to roads and pools is the safest place to be. With some creative use of concrete pavers, garden walls and greenery, the place can be as stylish as it is safe. As a key element to creating a safe space, fencing is a great example because you can dress up these areas with vertical green walls or decorative screening. In this instance, a clutter-free courtyard, with some informal seating in the way of raised garden beds and plenty of room for sports and games.
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