How To Design A Kid-Friendly Landscape


One of the very first meetings you’ll have with your landscape designer or architect will include a discussion about how you’re going to use your outdoor space, what you spend your time doing in the landscape and how you envision spending time there.

And if you have children in your family or are thinking of having children, preparing your space for your mini-me or new bundle involves some proper planning.

Kid-friendly landscaping involving making special considerations for safety, maintenance, use and, of course, fun.

Kid-Friendly Landscape Design Tip 1:
Safety First

Kids will be kids. In the summertime, school’s out and the landscape is their new playground. As such, safety is paramount.

And while creating a kid-friendly yard with safety in mind won’t help you avoid every stubbed toe or skinned knee, you can take steps to prevent injuries and keep your landscape from damage, too.

  1. Let’s start with basement window wells. In Idaho Falls, we have lots of them. When landscaping for children, we cover the tops of window wells to prevent kids from falling in.

  2. Next we look at climbing hazards. Does your landscape have retaining walls and what’s below them? How tall are the walls? Instead of creating a 6-foot-tall wall, in the case of small children using the property we’ll break that up into smaller segments to avoid tall walls kids can fall from.
    And, we’ll avoid planting pokey, prickly shrubs underneath those walls in the event of any fall.

  3. If you’d like a water feature on your property, we can install a pondless variety to prevent drowning incidents, especially with very young children. For fun, we can install a splash pad—a water feature that is safe for the kids. Around water features, we’ll install textured pavers or brushed concrete to provide a more non-slip surface for children to walk on.

  4. In choosing furniture for patios and outdoor entertainment areas, we use the same rules as the indoors: We avoid sharp corners and edges.

  5. When we install fire pits or gas fireplaces, we ensure there’s a switch with a timer so if someone forgets to turn off the gas, it automatically turns it off after a few minutes. We also use switches that only turn on the gas for a few seconds to give you time to light it before automatically turning off. This is such a small, inexpensive upgrade that doesn’t add much to the cost but does add a huge amount of peace-of-mind in terms of safety.

  6. When planting trees, shrubs and ornamentals with children in mind, we avoid plants that are known for having toxic leaves or berries, such as yews. We also avoid plants with thorns, such as roses or barberries. If you love your children and your roses too, we can include them in the landscape but avoid planting them near the kids’ play area or open grass areas where they play soccer so there’s less of a chance that the thorny roses and children will have a run in.

Kid-Friendly Landscape Design Tip 2:
Plan For Growth

While every child has different interests and hobbies, there’s one thing all children have in common: they grow.

As a result, we have to make the space versatile. We like to use material and spaces we can adapt as children grow versus using anything permanent and hard to change later, such as concrete.

For instance, you may want to include a children’s play structure or sandbox or playhouse in the yard, but once your kids are older and no longer play with them, what can you do with the space?

For those families who desire a playset for their kids, we like to create an island in a creative, curvy shape or one that complements the landscape design to hold the swings-n-things, including trampolines, which are very popular here.

Then, as the children grow, we can remove the playset and landscape the island so it looks like it was supposed to be there all along.

This strategy can be very important for home value. If you want to sell your home down the road, having a versatile landscape means families of all sizes and ages will see how they can use your space immediately versus having to make big, costly changes.

Kid-Friendly Landscape Design Tip 3:
A Look At Lawns

Kids need room to move. Lawns can suit children of all ages for all types of outdoor games.

And for children who loves sports, you can have your lawn and a volleyball court or soccer field too. For instance, we can include post holes in the lawn that hide underground and can be easily mown over, yet are available for inserting that volleyball net when it’s needed.

Kid-Friendly Landscape Design Tip 4:
Make Room For Fun

While safety and thinking about growth are super important when planning a kid-friendly space, designing a kid-friendly landscape is also a chance to have fun in your yard.

Near children’s playsets, for example, we can include fun smaller plants with all sorts of textures and colors and scents that the kids can smell and touch and interact with.

We can even design a cool secret garden for the kids to enjoy with a fort and playing area using really soft and edible plants they can explore.

Got Kids?
We Have A Landscape For You!

When creating a landscape for a full family, the options are endless. One of the best strategies includes creating spaces that you can adapt as kids age. Think about creating unique spaces that can grow and blend in with the space.

No matter your children’s ages, Outback Landscape can help you create a landscape that is not only versatile but suits your kids today … and tomorrow as well.

Contact our design experts at 208-656-3220 or fill out the contact form to set up a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members. In the meantime, for more landscape tips, be sure to subscribe to our blog.

Landscape Planning Guide download   Image Credit: Kids in Sprinkler, Contemporary Play Area, Play Area Over Garden