We are a nation of garden lovers. Thank heavens for the varied, and sometimes wacky designs that pop out of peoples imagination. The garden is a lifelong hobby for many people. They have worked, and watched their gardens mature, for decades, achieving a perfect balance with nature. Other people enjoy a contemporary, cutting edge garden design in marble and stainless steel among other modern materials.
This article is written for someone with. or thinking of starting, a young family and who has a plain back garden that can be sculpted to please and entertain their children for years to come.
Here are my top suggestions.
Take a look at the image. Children will be drawn to those paths like moths to a flame. The paths are easy to create. Simply remove the turf from your lawn following your chosen design, place a weed resistant membrane down and then cover with gravel or stone chippings. I would, however recommend that the path be replaced with a hard surface such as crazy paving when you have more time as the gravel may keep finding its way onto the lawn, only to be hurled at your windows as the lawn is mowed. Crazy paving is a therapeutic and artistic pastime that can be worked on at your leisure with broken slabs from your local garden centre or builders merchants.
Armed with a spade and a chainsaw, you could give your children years of fun with their own sunken maze. This is how you create one using railway sleepers:
Mark out the maze using string and pegs.
Dig trenches for the maze down to a depth of a railway sleeper on its side, plus 3 inches.
Line the bottom of the maze with weed resistant material and place a 3 inch layer of gravel down.
- Use railway sleepers to line each side of the maze walls. Cut with a chainsaw and fix them together with bolt-headed screws.
Make the maze as elaborate as you can as it is going to keep your children occupied for many years.
A few skips will be needed to remove the excavated soil if your maze is huge. You will find skip hire prices online or in local newspapers.
A deeper structure could be built into the garden using the same principles as for the maze. Excavate a large, deep hole. Line the walls with ever versatile railway sleepers and lay a few inches of gravel for the floor. Steps down to the hole can be created and the roof capped with sleepers too. As long as the sleepers are fixed firmly together for the walls, the structure is very strong indeed. There is one possible danger with and underground den; it could theoretically flood. Therefore it is advisable to build a door that can be locked as an essential safety measure. This is a great chance to make the entrance look like a cottage from a fantasy story. With imagination this den could look magical.
Build a Hill
A simple hill will keep your little ones happy for many years. Perhaps use the soil from the den and maze so there is no need to hire a skip. The hill is easy to create; simply pile soil up firming it as you go. Dont make the sides too steep, you will have to experiment with the soil you are using. Use either grass seed or, preferably, peg turf onto the mound to make it weatherproof and durable.
After completing these projects you will be able to sit back and watch your children do what they do best; play. You can’t put a price on that. Remember to photograph and film them for when you are old. It soon comes around you know.