Keen gardeners who start a family quickly discover that neat gardens and active children do not often mix. Since there is no point trying to stop the children using the garden, or constantly telling them to get off this area and not touch that plant, a compromise is needed whereby everyone can live happily. Remember that a garden should be a fun place for everyone.
So, how do you organize children in the garden? Whatever you do, children will always be children, and quite rightly so. They will want to play call and racket games in the garden, and will want to career around on bikes and in go karts.
These things present problems for the gardener because balls will crash through the borders, bringing down plants; cyclists or go karters will veer off the lawn or path and end up lying in a nest of tangled plants.
Therefore, do we need to create a play space? To some extent, trouble can be avoided by creating a family garden where there is room for all activities. Plenty of lawn or hard surface should be provided on which children can play.
There could also be special areas for them, perhaps with swings, sandpits, camps or houses. The very best gardens are those with a variety of nooks and crannies in which children can hide, so, if possible, you could try creating some of these.
In the ideal family garden, there should be plenty of space and a range of provisions, so everybody is able to relax and play in their own way. If you can, provide as much lawn area as possible for children to play without falling on hard surfaces or wreaking havoc in the borders.
Some features in the family gardens can be built with the future in mind. For example, a sand pit can eventually be turned into a water feature.
Do you need a separate room? Your garden may be large enough for you to divide it up into a number of areas, each for a particular activity. This may, for example, include an area for playthings as well as a place for growing precious plants.