Garden design projects: A child-friendly family garden.

A child-friendly family garden

This garden belonged to a couple with three young children. The original garden sloped towards the house and contained a dried up ornamental pond, the remains of broken retaining walls to raised beds, and the far end was shaded by overhanging conifers from a garden behind. The clients requested a planting design with one or two unusual plants, but also wanted the garden to be child friendly, and to include a safe play space which was not visible from the house. They also wanted a child-friendly water feature and a spacious dining and entertaining area near the house.

The new design incorporated a large paved terrace immediately in front of the house separated from a grassed area by a flight of steps with a central shallow rill culminating in an infinity pool beneath a sheet of safety glass. This design allowed the children plenty of safe space to run around in as well as room for dining with other families. The play area has all weather flooring of a soft shredded rubber material, and is separated from the main garden by a row of stone-filled gabions which the children can sit and climb on. As the sunniest part of the garden was to the side of the house between the kitchen door and a disused garage this was separated from the front of the house and the main garden, and made into a small courtyard with another water feature and a more intimate seating area beneath a pergola. The colorful planting was tough enough to stand up to children, and incorporated one or two unusual plants as talking points.