Summer is the perfect time to spend time out in the garden as a family. However, it might be worth giving your garden a bit of an upgrade to make the warmer months even more enjoyable, and to give your family more reasons to enjoy the outdoor area you’ve worked so hard to create.
We’ve collaborated with Olive Grove to bring you this advice on how to create your perfect family garden this summer:
Make it friendly for children
Children love to play outside, but it’s easy to forget how dangerous a garden can really be in the rush of summer. Hard dirt floors, pools and bodies of water, pointy stones and patches of stinging nettles can all quickly ruin the fun for your child.
With a bit of DIY work, you might be able to create a small border to mark out where the ‘safe’ area ends, keeping your children at one end of the garden and away from anywhere they could hurt themselves.
Add some trees
A tree might seem like just a space-filler, but a sturdy breed or species can be used as a rope swing or (if you let it grow tall enough) the ideal base for a treehouse. These can keep your children entertained, and can be great for summer parties when family and friends bring their own children over to visit.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to get more exotic types of tree – warmer climates make the perfect home for palm or olive trees. Certain types might even bear fruit, adding some more day-to-day functionality to your garden.
Think about the furniture
If you’re having permanent furniture outdoors until summer ends, it’s a good idea to get things that won’t be destroyed by sudden rain or wind. Making your own DIY furniture can be a good way around this, especially if it’s something simple like a bench or table – more complex things, like barbeque pits, can be made with the right materials as long as you know what you’re doing.
It’s also a good idea to work out whether it should be mobile or stationary, and whether or not you’d want to take it indoors when you’re done using it – all of this matters when deciding on what kind of furniture to use, and the decision you make will affect how you can use the garden in the future.
Water and pools
Adding water to your garden can be difficult and expensive, especially if it’s a full swimming pool, but having a place to cool off during a hot summer day could be the only thing your garden is missing. As long as you can make it child-friendly enough for them to use it without struggling to swim, then the entire family will be able to relax and spend more time outside in the sun.
Think about how you’ll use it
A garden can be used for a lot of different things, but not all of them will be something your family wants (or needs) to do. Talk with your family and see what kind of things you’ll actually need in the future, as well as what kind of extra features or DIY projects you might need to prepare ahead of time.
If you’re already using the garden a lot, you’ll need to work around the people who already spend time in it. For example, a complete removal of the porch isn’t practical when people are making use of it daily, so try to adapt the things that they aren’t using.
Shade is one of the most valuable parts of any family garden, but it’s often overlooked. Staying out of the heat makes a big difference to the health and happiness of your family, whether it’s from a canvas umbrella or an entire ‘summer house’ shelter.
Trees, once again, can be an excellent shade-creating tool, as can hedges and fences. Planting some against a low wall or at an open end of the garden can create some solid, physical barriers that also keep out most (but not all) of the light.