For most children, the first outdoor space that they play in is the yard. It’s often the first place they run around, learn how to play in the dirt, and satisfy their curiosities about nature. That said, it’s imperative for parents to make their yard as child-friendly as possible to reduce the risk of nasty accidents—or at least make those accidents less severe.
Before your child is old enough to play in the yard, here are some of the best landscaping tips to make your outdoor space as safe for your little tot as possible:
Minimise tripping hazards
Young children will trip over everything until they have a better balance. Sometimes, they even trip over their own two feet. To make your yard as trip-free as possible, eliminate as many tripping hazards as you can.
For example, if you have a paved patio in the yard, tell your paving contractor to lower it as much as possible to get rid of the edges that your child can easily trip over. If you have a deck, install a handrail to make it safer for your child to climb up and down the stairs.
Get rid of hazardous plants
Get rid of any thorny plants in the yard. Even if you warn your child not to touch thorns, who knows how far their curiosity will take them? Prevent future boo-boos from happening by getting rid of or relocating thorny plants before you allow them to play in the yard.
The same goes for poisonous plants such as the castor oil plant, golden dewdrop, coral tree, and more. Even if they are inedible, don’t underestimate your child’s curiosity to taste new things.
Make room for play equipment
Clear enough space for a few pieces of play equipment as your child grows up. Eventually, they will get tired of simply running around the yard or playing fetch with the family dog. To minimise trips to the local park, you can invest in backyard play equipment so that your child has their own personal playground.
Reinforce your fence and gates
Address all types of damage on your fence as soon as possible, including rot, cracks, and loose planks. If your fence is too old and worn, consider replacing it instead. The main purpose of repairing and reinforcing your fence is to prevent the risk of it falling on your child or giving your child an opening to escape from the yard.
As for the gate, ensure that the lock is out of your child’s reach. It’s also a good idea to install another lock, reducing the risk of your child getting out of the yard without your permission.
Consider artificial turf
Natural grass is great to play on, but with all the running around and playing that your child will do in the yard, there is a good chance of dead spots developing. That said, you might want to consider laying down artificial turf instead. It’s as soft as real grass but won’t die due to excessive footfalls, bike rides, and cartwheels.
Add a path
Let your children have a space to ride their bikes or use their roller blades in the backyard. A standard patio is a great option, but a curved path winding through the yard can be more enjoyable for kids.
Build a space for shade
Make a space where your child can retreat during a hot summer day. If you don’t have a tree in the yard, other great options for shade are a pergola, a canopy, a gazebo, or an open playhouse. Don’t forget to make the shaded area comfortable and encourage them to spend time outdoors—put down a table, small chairs, a sandpit, or even a swing under the shade.
Hide tools and equipment
Keep all yard tools and equipment in the shed or garage; high enough so that your children can’t reach them. Similarly, secure outdoor cooking equipment to prevent your kids from accidentally turning it on.
Remove vision obstructions
Remove anything that can turn parts of the yard into blind spots. You will want to keep an eye on your child at all times, so get rid of anything that can make it difficult to watch over them from the deck or the window. If you already have large structures in the yard, such as a shed or outdoor swimming pool, advise your child not to play behind them without your supervision.
Outdoor play is essential to a child’s growth and development. That said, give your child an ideal space to spend time outside by making your yard as child-friendly as it can be.