Creating a family friendly backyard doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a stylish, high impact design for sandpits, cubby houses, basketball hoops and trampolines.
With a little foresight, research and planning you can create an outdoor wonderland that will bring joy to the whole family.
And given the inordinate amount of time we’re all spending in our backyards during these unprecedented times, who doesn’t want that!
Create a Backyard Wish List
Designing a family outdoor space starts in the same way any garden design begins – you need to make a wish list of what you want. This should include all the things you can see your family using and all the things you’ve always wanted.
Be as creative as you like here - and if you’re game, get the kids involved! Just be careful to remind them that there’s no guarantee their every wish will make the final cut!
To give you a hand in getting started we’ve included an example wish list below. One for the kids, and one for the grown-ups of course.
Kids’ Backyard Wish List
- Swimming Pool
- Lawn To Play On
- Space For The Dog To Sleep
- Tree House
- Ninja Warrior Course
- Tree Swing
- Sand Box
- Fish Ponds
- Outdoor Movie Screen
- Basketball Ring
- Chalk Wall
- Chook House
Image Source: The Canham Family
Grown-ups’ Backyard Wish List
- Entertainment Space
- Outdoor Kitchen
- Pizza Oven
- Fire Pit
- Lush Lawn
- Garden Beds
- Vegie Patch
- Swimming Pool
- Man Cave
- Water Feature
Image Source: Waller Realty
Of all the things you would like in your backyard you will need to make the decision on what is a ‘dealbreaker’ and what are the ‘nice to haves’. When sorting through your list you need to consider the actuality of owning some of these items - do you have the time and means to service a swimming pool? Have you got the space for a ninja warrior course? Can you spend hours of your week deadheading flowering perennials, watering the masses of garden beds or tending to your vegie patch? Ask yourself what is practical to install and maintain for your household.
Create a Concept Plan
Now that you have your backyard list prepared it’s time to begin planning the space and layout of your new backyard. It’s best to work to scale by measuring your space and then adding in all the elements you want to determine thes best layout. When adding in your backyard elements you will need to ensure there’s ample space for foot traffic. For lawns, which are a necessity in a family backyard, make sure you make them as big as the design will allow. This will not only give you practical space, but a breathing space for the surrounding planting so the yard doesn’t feel too overcrowded.
When planning your garden and layout consider the parts you want to look at and the bits you want to hide or mask. Having an open lawn where you can watch the family play in a relaxing setting requires open sightlines, where as utility areas like washing lines and trampolines benefit from a baffling of the sight lines through hedging or screening.
Backyard Site Preparation
Once you think you have perfected the layout, our advice is to spend some time outside examining your environment. Check where the sunny spots are (great for lawn and vegie patches), where the wet, dry and shady spots are, and any other issues that affect how you will use the space.
This site analysis might change your layout a bit, but it’s so important to do it and will save you from living with regret down the track. Nobody likes an entertaining space in a wind tunnel, a basketball ring on a bedroom wall, or watching their precious turf die because it’s buried beneath shade all day.
Choose your Elements
Once you’ve nailed the layout, you’ll want to apply your finishes to these elements to give your backyard a design edge. With family yards you need to choose wisely as picking the right product to its usage will make your garden look new for longer. When it comes to paving, using natural stone gives warmth and an upmarket feel, but it can stain easily so it’s not ideal in heavy traffic areas. A printed porcelain may be a better fit. Timber adds texture and an earthiness to a design but on the horizontal plain can require excessive maintenance to look its best. In this instance a composite may suit your family best. For plants you’ll need hardy plants around areas where kids are kicking balls and running wild, and softer flowering plants towards the back of your garden beds where they are protected.
A family lawn needs to be tough and hard wearing to withstand kids and pets, Tif Tuf Bermuda is both of these things and drought tolerant to boot, which is why it’s being used on many sports fields and stadiums. If you’re after a slightly larger leaf, our DNA certified Sir Walter is a classic for a reason – because it performs well in a family garden.
The best way to make the most of your family backyard is to get out there and use it – designing and building a new outdoor space is something that can take time, but making memories in that garden with your family will last forever.
Entertainment Ideas for the Kids
And if you’ve run out of ideas to entertain your kids from the comfort and safety of your home after many months of lockdown, you’re definitely not the only parent struggling in that regard. Luckily, there are a bunch of backyard games and activities you can engage in so they (almost) feel like life is normal.
Check out this great article for some of the best DIY yard games for kids you can do right now, regardless of your skill level.
To find out the best lawn to suit your backyard call one of our lawn care specialists today on 1800 055 515. Alternatively – our online shop is open 24/7.