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Contact: Cassie Carver , (651) 633-4987

Designing Kid-friendly Landscapes with Grown-up Appeal

With spring on the way and summer not far behind, it's time for you and your family to get out into the yard and garden. Just because you have children doesn't mean sacrificing grown-up pleasures like entertaining areas or peaceful respites. If you have very young children it may take flexibility and patience, but the careful forethought and planning of a Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association professional can help you create an outdoor environment both you and your children can enjoy.

Is your backyard a sea of toys? Consider incorporating a structure that will store these items such as a gazebo or a weatherproof bench with storage that can do double-duty. The gazebo or benches can be used for entertaining in the evening hours and as a fort or playhouse during the day.

Remember those games of hide and seek? Trees and plants are essential for kids. They provide great hiding places. Bamboo and other ornamental grasses planted to form tunnels are great to run through. Dwarf varieties of shrubbery grow low enough to allow you to watch children but high enough to hide toys and play areas if desired.

Here are some basic tips for selecting plants when you have young children:

  • Don't purchase delicate or thorny plants. One suggestion is ornamental grasses because they are soft yet tough.
  • Grow things that appeal to the senses – soft lamb's ear or fragrant herbs.
  • Choose plants for their names – kids like plants with funny names and this is a great educational opportunity.

Children also enjoy the splash and feel of water, so why not incorporate a water feature like a wading pond? Keep it simple and shallow for safety purposes. Not only do children enjoy water, adults find the sound and sight very relaxing.

Sandboxes are a structure that can occupy kids for hours. Consider building a more permanent structure out of retaining wall blocks. Then, when the children out-grow the sandbox it can become a raised flowerbed or water garden.

With thoughtful planning everyone can enjoy the landscape!

To find a garden center or landscape professional in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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