If you're like most parents of toddlers, you want your child to grow up with safe, happy spaces to play in both inside your home and outside. You've probably already placed protective coverings over the electrical outlets and taken other measures designed to help ensure the safety of an active, curious toddler, and you probably never leave the child alone outside. Like most busy parents, you may not have had time yet to think ahead to when the times comes when your child will be old enough to play outside with minimal supervision. However, time passes really quickly while they're growing up, and now is the ideal time to start creating a kid-friendly yard so your child can enjoy years of outdoor play. Here's what you need to do:
Remove Any Poisonous Plants
Many garden plants that are commonly used for landscaping, such as oleander, azalea, and narcissus, are poisonous, and the first step in creating a kid-friendly outdoor play space is to have them removed.
Keep Visibility in Mind
Always keep visibility in mind when creating an outdoor play area. You should be able to clearly see the space through windows looking out over your back yard. Outdoor living spaces designed for adult and multi-age use, such as picnic areas and decks and patios.
If you're lucky enough to have a big deciduous shade tree or two in your yard, you've got a ready-made source of shade, so try to situate play equipment where it can receive some shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are at their strongest.
If you don't have any shade trees in your yard, you can nonetheless provide shade by using a prefabricated shade structure over the playground area. As an added bonus, these also keep the area from being rained on.
Plant Strong, Resilient Grass Varieties
Classic Bermuda grass is the best choice for lawns with active children in the home. It's tough, resilient enough to stand up to serious foot traffic, and can be cut low enough so that it doesn't cause a trip-and-fall hazard for swiftly moving little feet. Kentucky Bluegrass is another good option.
Use Playground Mulch or Chips
No matter how sturdy your lawn grass is, it can still become a patch of dirt in no time when used in the areas under and surrounding play equipment. Use playground chips or mulch instead for these places and leave the lawn for running around and playing games such as volleyball. Playground mulch also provides a softer place to land.