A collection of great landscaping articles and favorite links that cover various topics from principles of design to landscape design gurus.
While this backyard landscape was designed with the children and child safety in mind, it also offers a lot for the parents and dogs as well. Not just the kids need a playground area to play in and enjoy.
This yard design also has entertaining and convenience in mind. When guests come over for entertaining, your children can play where they are visible and safe while the dogs can be placed out of sight. It may also be good to keep the dogs there when the kids are just out playing as well.
While creating shade for the kids play areas and sand box is a good idea, you also need to consider that any trees you plant for shade will probably also become popular with the birds. And this has the potential to be messy. So when planting trees, it's good to not plant them directly over children's play areas and sand box but keep them in the direct path of the afternoon sun.
Also keep the mature size of the trees in mind. Plant trees that are in proportion to your area and that are easy to trim. See planting ideas for some good tips on choosing and using the right plants in landscapes and garden designs.
The lawn area is minimal, shaded, and big enough for a swing set. Because of its nature, use, potential to be tracked inside by the kids, and nearby flower beds, a non-aggressive evergreen lawn type such as Hybrid Fescue should be used. The evergreen will provide all season play as well as minimize tracking into the house. Non-aggressive Fescue will also keep the grass out of the flower beds.
The tricycle trail, if it's really to be used for tricycles, should ideally be made from a child safe playground surface. However, most folks don't have the budget for landscaping and playground elements like that and will generally go with pavers or decorative concrete. In which case, for child safety, the swing set should be left out and replaced with some other type of low playground equipment.
The Sand box should be placed for afternoon shade and not directly under any of the trees. I don't think I need to explain why. You may also want to consider a screen to go over the sand box when it's not in use. The neighbor hood cats may also find it a nice place to hang out when the kids aren't around.
Because this backyard design is universal, the plant list is generic and can be adapted to any zone. However, there are a few specific plants that I kept in mind when I was designing the landscaping. Also, keep in mind that children and bees don't mix. So you may want to sacrifice the fragrance and beauty of flowers for something evergreen.
Types of trees used may matter depending on climate. In cooler climates, you may want to use trees that drop their leaves in Winter so as to provide afternoon sun. In warmer climates, you way opt for evergreen trees.
While the plan is designed around the needs of the children in mind, mom, dad, and Fido need some space as well. The outdoor kitchen cooking area will most always keep folks outdoors when the weather is good. And when you are outside cooking, the play area will keep the kids busy and out of the way of the hot grills.
The dog area in the design does a lot more for the kids than you might think. And not just when the children are outside playing. It's best to have a designated area for the dogs to do their business so that there aren't a lot of surprises in the playing or sand box area. It also keeps them from hanging around and mooching when you're cooking.
The trellis and vines that separates the dog area from the rest of the backyard plan also has a gate to keep the kids safe from the dogs. This is especially important for small children.