Garden for kids

Getting some garden inspiration

We’re heading towards our third summer in this house, and – to my eternal shame – the garden still isn’t sorted.

Annoying coniferAt our last home, I spent a lot of time and effort getting the garden to a state I was happy with – vegetable patch, decent shrubs,  colour and interest – but so far here, I seem to have only nibbled around the edges.

Some of the delay is natural. Kids take up time, and work means I’m not not home in time to work on it in the evenings in winter/early spring.

Some is due to logistics. The tonnes of slate the previous owners covered all the beds with needs moving, and I wanted to use it on the path down the side of the house. But, that all needed digging out first to keep it below the damp proof course, and improve the drainage. Now I’ve done that, I’ve shifted a fair bit, but there’s still a load to go, and that’s before we get to the awful concrete path running all the way down the garden.

Kids playhouse, swings and equipment have turned up, plonked where they fitted for the most part.

PlayhouseIn the meantime, the newly exposed beds are filling with weeds and Spanish bluebells that need to go, the veg patch needs a rethink, the kids want to play and I want somewhere to chill of a summers evening (so, being of the North, I’ll need some shade).

I’m not saying it’s an overgrown wasteland, just lacking an old sofa and washing machine – I suspect a lot of folk would be happy with it.

But I’m not.

In an ideal world, I’d get a skip, lots of lovely wood, and the squillions of native plants I need, invest in some helpful tools and equipment and just take a week off to crack on with creating a wildlife haven for the kids to enjoy, and the grown ups to relax in.

But, even if I had the money to do that (I very much don’t) I’d still need a plan, and this is probably the main stumbling block.  I still can’t see how I want the garden to look, and I can’t get my head around the space I have.

Garden for kidsI’m forming a better picture now I hacked down a conifer giving me a better idea of space, though I still need to dig the roots out with basic hand tools, which could be a ballache, although it should be a good workout – every cloud..!

Essentially it needs to be:

  • family friendly – space for the kids to play and explore, plus somewhere relaxing to sit out and enjoy
  • wildlife-friendly – gardens are hugely important little eco-systems, and I want to get lots of critters in ours for the kids (and me!) to see.
  • interesting – this ones a  bit vague,  but I don’t just want shiny green lawn, and manicured beds, I like a relaxed, cottage/kitchen garden style, with features
  • affordable – remodelling a garden can cost a fortune, but if I do the work myself, try to make use of what I’ve got/can scrounge/salvage, then any spending can be focused where it can make the most difference.
  • useful – the garden is also a place I grow food in the veg patch, work on DIY projects I can’t do in the shed, dry washing, compost waste, store kids toys, etc so that needs to be factored in.

Check your clocks ladies and gentlemen, because to me it looks like plan time! The square lined notebook is ready, I’ve procrastinated over what pen to use, and I’m gonna hit Pinterest and Instagram hard.

Hopefully it won’t be long ’til I post an update with some kind of plan for you to judge me by, and hopefully (my ulterior motive) hold me to so I actually get it done!

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