Landscape Design Tips For Parents With Children
If you have kids, then it is important to take their needs into account when designing a landscape. This does not necessarily mean you need to make a playground the focal point of the design, or that every tree needs to be small enough for kids to reach. It does, however, mean you should keep the following tips and ideas in mind as you work with a landscape designer.
Avoid poisonous flowers.
A surprising number of flowering plants that are routinely used in garden beds are actually poisonous. You and other adults are unlikely to accidentally eat them, but kids may not know any better, which means it is best to exclude these plants from your landscape design. Common poisonous flowers to avoid include:
- Elephant ears
- English ivy
If you were planning on using any of these plants, ask your landscape designer to recommend an alternative that looks similar. For example, St. John's Wort has yellow flowers that look similar to oleander, and it is not poisonous.
Avoid shrubs and bushes with prickers or thorns.
Prickly or thorny bushes or shrubs could injure your child if they try to pick a flower, pull a branch off the shrub, or play under the shrub. Some common shrubs and bushes that have sharp thorns and prickers include holly, blackberry bushes, barberry bushes, and most varieties of roses. If you do want to include roses in your landscape design, there are plenty of thornless varieties to choose from. A few examples include Lady Banks Roses and Goldfinch roses.
Minimize your use of hard stone surfaces.
Especially when kids are little, they may tumble and fall when playing outside. When this happens, you want them to be on a soft surface to limit injuries. So, avoid using too many stone pavers and concrete surfaces in your landscape design. Your yard should be mostly grass. If you do include some hard concrete or pavers, make sure they are not in an area where your kids will be playing. For example, you may want to fence in a grill area and pour concrete in that area, only. You can close the gate to the area when your kids are in the yard.
With these landscaping design tips, you can design a space that is beautiful, but still safe for your kids to be in. Talk to a landscape design professional for more tips and specific plant recommendations.