There are many perks that come with having a backyard or a patio, as small as it might be. You can dine al fresco, entertain guests, give your pets more room to roam around and maybe even try your hand at gardening if you have a green thumb and like to care for plants. You also have more space between you and your neighbours giving you some extra privacy. But most importantly, you have the opportunity to enjoy your own little spot of nature with your loved ones and spend quality time enjoying outdoor activities together in your family friendly area.
However, that’s only possible if your backyard is both pretty and functional and not just a simple passage area full of unused potential. If that’s the case, you might want to give your outdoor space a bit of a makeover and turn it into a cosy oasis for the whole family to enjoy. After all, what’s the point of having an outdoor living area if no one actually uses it?
If you need a bit of inspiration to get things off the ground and help you create the most awesome family-friendly outdoor space, here are some ideas that might do the trick.
Provide some shade
An outdoor living area is great for getting your daily dose of vitamin D. But what’s not so great is standing in the scorching sun for too long due to lack of shade, especially in the spring and summer when the sun is high in the sky.
If your backyard doesn’t have enough natural shade from trees, or if the shade they provide is not enough to keep you cool and comfortable, you can step in and create more shade artificially with a few clever additions. The easiest and most affordable option is to use an extra-large umbrella and place it wherever you need it. If you want a more permanent solution, you can install a pergola or build a gazebo. In case you already have these types of structures in your backyard but still crave more shade, hanging outdoor curtains or installing some pull-down shades are great ideas to consider.
Create a play area for kids
It takes more than a patch of land and some trees to get your kids away from their screens and convince them to spend more time outdoors. But they won’t need much persuasion if you give them something to keep them busy and entertained when they’re outside. That’s exactly what outdoor playgrounds are for.
It doesn’t take much to create such a space. A few swings, slides and climbing frames are more than enough to offer kids some great fun. If space allows, you can also create paved areas to ride bikes, skateboards or rollerblades, or install soft surfaces for them to run around.
A dedicated play area for kids can turn into a perfect spot for your little ones to enjoy adventures out in the open air and, explore nature, stay physically active and burn off energy. Also, if kids have their own space, adults will have more peace and quiet. The only issue you might have is getting them back inside.
Don’t forget about your pets
If you have a fur baby, you should also make sure that your family friendly garden also suits their needs. Dogs, especially active breeds, love to run around, play or dig holes in the ground, so it’s important to provide enough space for them to enjoy their favourite activities.
Since you don’t want them to mess up your flower beds or create a network of trenches in your backyard, you’ll have to set some boundaries and install a fence around their play area tall enough to keep them away from other parts of the garden. That’s going to keep you keep your pet happy and your property pretty.
Include enough seating
There are plenty of things you can do outside, but let’s face it, what most people want from an outdoor living space is the chance to enjoy some fresh air and relax. And for that, you need plenty of comfortable seating solutions to ensure everyone gets to enjoy a cosy spot.
The options are endless when it comes to creating outdoor seating areas. You can opt for a soft couch and armchairs, large enough to fit your entire family, install a long bench, scatter around lounge chairs and ottomans, or hang hammocks from trees. Also, make sure to choose a water resistant fabric for your outdoor furniture to ensure it stays beautiful and functional so you can use it for many years to come.
Get creative with multi-functional spaces
You may have great plans for your family friendly backyard, but you have to make sure that your vision matches the space you have available, or you won’t be able to put all your ideas into practice. If your backyard is too small to create separate designated areas, you can resort to multi-purpose spaces to solve the problem.
For example, you can choose furniture pieces that can be rearranged to accommodate different activities, or you can integrate raised beds around your al fresco dining spot if you don’t have enough space to grow a garden. The trick is to use your creativity and make the most of every square inch of land you have at your disposal.
Choose your plants wisely
Speaking of growing a garden, you’ll obviously want to have as many plants as possible in your outdoor living space so you can feel closer to nature and all the wonders it provides. However, it’s important to choose the right flowers and shrubs and learn a thing or two about keeping them alive before you start planting and decorating.
It’s best to stick to low-maintenance plants as you don’t want to spend all your time tending to them and make sure you avoid cultivating toxic plants, especially if you have small kids or pets. Ask a gardener’s advice to make sure your garden is safe for everyone.
As you can see, you don’t have to invest tons of money or effort into creating a family-friendly outdoor space. A few clever ideas and a bit of creativity are more than enough to make things happen. Check out my other family home posts for more inspiration.