3 Child-Friendly Landscaping Ideas

Posted on: 22 June 2015

It's natural for kids to want to play outdoors, and it's good for them. But if you're an avid gardener that takes pride in your flowers and plants, it can be difficult to let your small children run around in your yard, knowing that they may inadvertently damage your hard work. One of the best ways to avoid this is to make working in the yard or garden a family project. Teaching your children to grow plants not only gives them a valuable skill, it helps to teach them the difference between plants so they know what they can and cannot touch. And they'll be invested and interested in the plants growing in your yard, so they'll be more careful and less likely to damage your plants when they're outside playing. Take a look at some great ideas that will help get your kids involved in landscaping your yard.

Make a Pizza Garden

Is there any type of food that kids love more than pizza? Encourage a budding enjoyment of gardening by tying it in with their affinity for this food favorite, in the form of a pizza garden. Start by creating a circular space. Put a stake in the ground, attach a three and a half foot string, and hold it tight as you walk in a circle, marking the perimeter of your garden. Then, divide the garden into six triangular "slices".

In three of the triangular sections, your children can plant herbs commonly found on pizza, like parsley, oregano, and basil. Herbs are easy and grow relatively quickly, so your children will see some results right away. In the other three sections, plant tomatoes, peppers, and onions. These take longer to grow, so you'll need to encourage your children to exercise some patience. If you want, plant something yellow – like marigolds – around the perimeter of your pizza garden to represent the cheese. When it comes time to harvest your crops, have a homemade pizza party with your fresh ingredients.

Cultivate a Butterfly Garden

If your children don't yet have an appreciation for plants and flowers, they will when they see beautiful and colorful butterflies attracted to your yard. You can spread the butterfly-friendly plants out around your yard if you want, but they may have more of an impact if you place them close together, creating a dedicated spot that butterflies will flock to.

Flowers that are native to the area are usually good at drawing native butterflies to the area. Brightly colored pink, purple, orange, and red flowers are among the most attractive to adult butterflies. Plants like phlox, anise hyssop, aster, purple coneflower, and salvia are all proven butterfly bait, as are obvious choices like butterfly bush. Many of these plants will also attract hummingbirds, especially if you add hummingbird feeders to the area. You should include a water feature for your garden guests, and stay away from pesticides in areas where you want butterflies to visit.

Design a Wonderland Garden

As long as you're considering themed gardens, you might as well consider one with a theme from one of your children's favorite storybooks or fairy tales. Alice in Wonderland is a children's favorite that can be used to create a delightful themed garden that you and your children can both appreciate.

Red and white roses are the most obvious choices for an Alice in Wonderland theme. However, tiger lilies, daisies, violets, larkspurs, and dahlias are all good choices as well. And of course, you'll need mushrooms – if actual mushrooms don't fit into your plan for your yard, consider some mushroom shaped statues or tables instead. If you have plenty of room to work with, a Wonderland garden should include pathways, perhaps lined with bushes or shrubs to simulate a tunnel. The actual garden in Oxford that inspired Lewis Carrol's Alice stories contains a horse chestnut tree like the one the Cheshire Cat appeared in within the story – this is a good choice if you want to add shade trees to your Wonderland garden.

These child-friendly landscaping ideas can be very simple, or you can make them as elaborate as you choose. Either way, they'll help provide your children with a fun place to play while making them aware of the need to take care with the things that are growing in your yard. For more ideas or assistance in implementing your plans, work with an experienced landscape company.