Since moving into this house just over two years ago I have been thinking and planning of ways to improve the garden both for the enjoyment of the whole family. Making changes is a slow process at present where the garden is concerned and dad of 3 can often be heard complaining that the children get more use out of it that him! Our focus has been the house more recently but it hasn’t stopped me planning and researching things for the garden.
So when I saw the Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition over on Tots100 I knew it was a chance to put some of my ideas down on paper and hopefully make them become a reality.
At present the garden is a bit of a muddle with no defined areas but it does mean it is a blank canvas and hopefully will make transforming it easier. Having used the garden for two years we also now have a pretty good idea of where we would put things too. I want the garden to be somewhere the children can play, laugh, grow and learn and where dad of 3 and myself can enjoy the tranquillity. We’re very lucky that we have farm land over looking us and we often sit and watch the cows going in for milking at the farm. It’s hard to believe that we are a ten minute walk into the town at times but this is something that attracted us to this house in the first place. We’re also lucky to have So this is the garden as it is now:
|Our Garden now|
As you can see their are children’s toys everywhere with some Rabbit hutches and a Chicken coup thrown in! Along with the general maintenance that we need to boundary walls and fences, the general tidying up (a lot planned for the winter months) I would like to define the area’s more so that it feels less cluttered. I would love to bring some simple learning elements in too that will allow the children to interact with the garden and also get more hands on.
I would love to have an outdoor chalk board attached on the side of the garage so that the children. I found this one and would love something like this. At present we have an area of gravel alongside the garage in between the footpath, I would love to remove this and turf it. As well as have a bench to sit on there.
I love the idea of having some mirrors on one of the walls too or even on two. They would be a fantastic way for the children to see how they interact with the environment.
Since we moved in dad of 3 and I have talked about growing our own vegetables and I like the idea of involving the children as much as possible. It will not only encourage them to eat foods we have grown ourselves but teach them about where foods come from. It would also be fantastic to be able to offer this to the children I care for too. I think having some raised beds in the garden would lend themselves to this and also for growing flowers and herbs. I would love to have a raised bed with things like lavender in that would give a lovely fragrance. Additionally an area where the chickens can be contained but allows them to free range would also be a must. Somewhere we can have a sheltered area for them in addition to their coup.
I’m no artist but here is my drawing of what I would like to see in the garden:
You can see the raised beds, the chicken’s area, the table and chair set, along with the mirrors and chalk board. I’ve also added some wicker shapes that would be hung from the tree for the children to weave with. I’ve seen some great ones of different shapes, a square, circle and triangle. One thing the boys have been asking for for a long time now is a tree house. Our tree doesn’t really lend it’s self to having one built in it unfortunately but I have found some incredible ones including this fantastic Axi Marc Wooden Playhouse I love the fact it has a slide which means we wouldn’t need the slide I have included in my drawing. There is also a sandpit area underneath for the children to enjoy. It would work well alongside our tree and not be too over powering but would provide the boys with something they have longed for.
Up on the patio I would love to have a toy kitchen or BBQ to encourage role play in the garden. This step 2 Fixing Fun Outdoor Grill would be great and could be moved around the garden. I can even see the older boys making use of it.
There are things like our Trampoline and water table that would remain part of the garden but again would be moved into move suitable areas. This would open up the lawn area which in turn would give the children more freedom for using ride on toys, den building or just sitting with a book. I know that having an area that is clear of toys and clutter is something high on Dad of 3’s list for the garden too. So some storage maybe in the form of a storage bench would work well alongside the garage so that we could store some toys when not in use.
I’ve been working on my idea’s for the past week, attempting to draw various things and failing! I have tried to incorporate things that that each family member would like in our dream as it’s our garden not just mine. So this morning when I got up and came down stairs the boys presented me with a Lego Duplo model they had made of their garden.
I can see some of the elements from my drawing in it and love the fact they spent time thinking about what they would like in the garden. It made me chuckle to see they had dad of 3 in with the Chickens while I’m playing on a ride on toy! I also like that they have included a vegetable area, maybe they do listen to me after all!
This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition