It’s All Child’s Play
Gardens are wonderful places for kids to roam free and create memories, learn about nature and run off some energy. However, for your children or grandchildren to safely enjoy your outdoor space, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect them. Take a look at these five ways to make your garden safe and fun for the little ones in your life.
- Think water, think risk
- Water safety should be your number one concern if there are children using your garden. Children are naturally drawn to water, and the wildlife that lives in it is particularly intriguing to them. Ponds, paddling pools, water butts and even large buckets of rainwater all pose a risk. Ponds should be fitted with firmly secured mesh and/or securely fenced off for visiting only with adult supervision.
- Maintain your paved areas
- All that rushing about and boisterous play means that, for most children, scratched hands and bruised knees are a common occurrence. However, you can help to minimise the falls and bumps by ensuring any paving is level, professionally laid and well maintained.
- Consider poisonous plants
- There are very few seriously poisonous plants in the UK, so with a little research you can minimise the risk of harmful planting. Avoid plants with bright berries that may be attractive to adventurous children; for example the yew and the holly bush both have poisonous berries. Other plants that pose a potential risk to children include foxgloves, bluebells, hydrangeas and poinsettias. As an extra measure, simply teach your children about the dangers of eating plants.
- Make the area comfy
- Children like to have somewhere soft to sit with toys, games and books. Wood chippings, sand and rubber all make a space more welcoming and, if you’re installing play equipment, provide a safe landing area. A robust lawn is great for playing sports – to give yours the extra toughness required to survive tennis and football, try scattering a little rye grass seed, which yields a coarser, more resilient grass.
- Lock your shed
- When there are children about, a lockable shed can be the most useful safety tool to own. Sharp, unwieldy garden tools, dangerous weed killers, insecticides, lawnmowers and hoses should all be stored safely away under lock and key. As well as providing the peace of mind of knowing these items are out of reach of little hands, a strong padlock will also protect these often costly items from theft.
There is something very joyful in the way children become absorbed in garden play. The fresh air, the freedom and the plants and animals to discover all make time in the garden well spent. By putting a few safety measures in place and giving some thought as to how children use their garden spaces, you can ensure that every day spent in the garden will be a day to treasure.