How much more important have our garden spaces become during this unprecedented period? From balcony to back yard to small or larger garden spaces, never have we had so much time to nurture, develop and spend time in our outside spaces. Having to spend time homeworking and homeschooling, domestic routines have turned upside down and access to the outside space we have has become a key part of our daily routine. So how can we make the best of our garden or outside space and really make it work differently?
For families experiencing lots of time together, it may be that the outside space needs to be adapted to accommodate all the families needs – by splitting the space into ‘zones’ for example can offer areas just for the children or the adults, and when considering the needs of the family, there are lots of ways space can be utilised for all.
Some ideas that can be incorporated into such a plan could be:
- Having a mud kitchen!
- Incorporating a raised area for the adult area
- Adding some shelving or hooks to hang plants, garden objects or garden lights
- Making a visual impact using vertical planting
- Dedicate a small area for the children to grow plants, maybe instead of a sandpit have a ‘growing pit’
And there are many types of natural material that can be used in the garden to make it a sensory and fragrant space. Using different sizes of logs for example to double up as the border edging creating the different zones and as ‘stepping stones’ across the garden. Constructing a wooden pergola that also could be cleverly used as ‘monkey bars’ for an active teenager. Using turf and wood chip in floor areas is a safer option than creating too many hard surfaces; especially thinking of much smaller members of the household, using artificial lawn may not the best option, depending on the grade, as it can result in giving some quite nasty friction burns compared to the grass-stained knee on the traditional turfed grass lawn when there is the occasional tumble.
So establishing what the outside space is going to provide, planning what is going to go into the garden is important.
Planting – particularly with our little ones in mind, it will be important to include plants that are ‘child friendly’ such as the ‘poached egg plant‘ (limnanthes douglasii) and
- Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)
- Pot Marigold (Calendula)
- Lemon Verbena
- Lemon Balm
Planting such a glorious array of plants will delight the children as they watch them grow and burst into a colourful, fragrant bed. Be imaginative and try recycling old toys or shoes and have fun turning them into individual bespoke mini planters! Introducing wildlife-friendly and bee-friendly plants will enhance any outdoor space whether it is a garden or a balcony, and having mini planters or vertical planting schemes will give much more capacity to grow more plants.
There is much to be gained from growing plants even if the space you have seems too small, having imagination and creativity will enable you to make the most of being out in the fresh air and watching your garden grow.