How to Create a Child-Friendly Garden

If you have children or grand children it is always lovely when you can encourage them to spend some time in the garden. Children who spend time in the garden will be better placed to live worthwhile and sustainable lives as adults and will have a greater understanding of and respect for the natural world and the life, both plant and animal, that is found in it.

Creating a child-friendly garden is not just about creating a space where they can happily run around. A truly child-friendly garden is one that draws them in and allows them to interact with the plants and wildlife in it. There are plenty of ways in which you can make your garden more appealing to children – here are just a few suggestions:

Edible Garden:

Encourage children to explore a garden with their senses and also encourage them to eat healthily by creating a space filled with good things to eat. Children love to shell peas and eat them straight from the pod, or pick juicy berries at various times of year. Make sure that the children have a hand in creating the garden themselves and of course teach them that they should never eat berries unless you have told them they are okay to eat but give them the freedom within the edible garden to pick and eat things themselves.

Secret Garden:

Children love secrets and a secret garden is often considered to be the best sort. Leaving some wilder areas in the garden will allow a child to make a den and will have the added benefit that it will be good for the wildlife in the garden. Another alternative is to create the den yourself with a tipi of climbing plants and canes or perhaps creating a tree-house in a mature specimen. Again, involve children in the creation of the 'secret' garden space and then let them get on with it without your interference.

Interactive Garden:

Children will enjoy a garden more if they do not see it as an inert space but as something they can interact with and play not in but with. One way of interacting with the garden would be in helping with the digging and planting their own fruits, vegetables and flowers but there are other ways of making a garden more interactive. Consider making tunnels and 'rooms' with your planting scheme for children to run through, allow mature trees to be climbed and remember to leave an area for messy play – children should be allowed to make mud pies as much as they like.

Wildlife Garden:

Most children love wildlife, especially photogenic creatures like hedgehogs and baby frogs. Get the kids involved in making your garden more wildlife friendly. Make a small garden pond together and you will soon discover that aquatic or amphibious life of some form or another has arrived. Create a bird nesting box and hang bird feeders to attract colourful visitors and make a bee hotel to make sure that solitary bees who pollinate your garden for you are well catered for.

All these things will make your garden into a place that people of all ages can love, enjoy and use.