When I was younger I was never really a huge fan of sitting out in the garden in the sun. I can remember playing in the back garden, of course, but I’m not sure it was ever a space I was desperate to inhabit. When we first bought our house the garden wasn’t really a huge consideration for me and when we moved into the house, it was not a child friendly space at all. It lacked any sort of colour or real appeal and we didn’t use the space much at all from what I can remember of the first year of us living here.
The garden itself is raised so there are railway sleeper steps up to the top and the previous owners had put in place two nice decked areas. However, in a bid to have a ‘low maintenance’ area, it was all covered in grey slate stones. It wasn’t the most inviting of spaces if truth be told and was probably why it was so underused in our first year.
When Mr D was around seven months old we turfed the garden – it took a lot of man power to shift the slate and stones and to level off the land before laying the turf but it was worth it. My dad put a fence up for us to make the area completely safe for the children and it’s now a much safer and enjoyable space for us all.
I’ll admit I’m not a garden lover – I am turning rather red after the last few days of sun so I don’t like to sit out there too long. The children, however, enjoy playing out there and on a sunny day they are eager to get out there almost as soon as they have finished breakfast. Our garden is only a modest size but now that we have turfed it it’s much more child friendly and we have a couple of sandpits out there for them as well as bats and balls and other bits and pieces. Over the last couple of years the children have taken great delight in planting seeds and seeing them grow into flowers which they (attempt to) tend to.
They enjoy having a good kick around out there with a football and invent any number of increasingly intricate games to play. We really ought to look to get them a playhouse or similar as I am sure they would enjoy having that outside too. In the summer months the children have mucky feet due to their insistence to kick off their shoes and run barefoot around the garden. I can’t complain too much – surely mucky toes are the sign of a good day?
I think, if you asked the children what they’d like in their garden Mr D would want some sort of tree house thing he could clamber up to – he loves climbing and can’t help but find things to clamber up when we are out and about. I am sure Damian would enjoy getting to use some of the tools required for building a tree house!
I think a playhouse would also come top of the list for them, as well as somewhere they could dig around in – we have a small patch for them to dig in and various tubs and containers that they enjoy filling up but I think a bigger patch or a true outdoor mud kitchen would appeal to them!
Being in the garden is such a rich source of learning – it’s nice sometimes to just be outdoors and of course watching the various bugs and insects as they go about their business is endlessly fascianting. There are hedgehogs living in the garden next door and I think next year we might look to do something to encourage them into our garden – at the moment the gardens are separated by a brick wall but we are looking to remove this and put up a fence instead – leaving a small gap might encourage them to come into our garden. I know the children would be eager and exicted to see this.
The garden isn’t a place I naturally find myself enjoying – but it’s somewhere I need to learn to love more as the children get older and crave that outdoor time more. I think if we were to move house again I’d be keen to look for more garden space than we currently have. But, for now at least, we are all making the most of our modest sized garden and enjoying the summer weather whislt we can.
Do you have any tips for enjoying the garden, and making the most of a modest sized space?
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