How to easily design a garden that captures your child’s imagination

How many hours a day do your little ones spend outside? New data has shown has shown that about three-quarters of children in the UK spend less than an hour outdoors daily. 

Gardens are a perfect place to engage your child in imaginative play in nature. Designing a child-friendly garden doesn’t have to require a full landscaping team. Here are some fantastic, easy-to-implement ideas to get you started. 

Include A Unique Feature 

A quick way to spark some creativity in the garden is to add a little feature that encourages interaction. This feature could be a little statue of an animal your little one loves or an ornamental outdoor water fountain for them to practice tossing coins into and making wishes. Or how about a little make-believe mailbox or a fairy house? 

Children love to grant objects human personalities, and a figurine could invite them to step into a land of pretend. Psychologists find that make-believe play has many benefits and so does playing outside. This is a win-win. 

Make A Little Maze 

Instead of digging the rows of your garden in straight lines, add in a fun activity by designing a maze instead. Depending on your child’s age, you can ask him or her to help with the design planning, or simply have fun exploring it once it is created. This little adventure will make your child feel that a garden is a place for adventures. 

Accessible And Safe 

Make your garden a fun place for your child to spend time by removing any objects with sharp edges. The sides of a raised garden bed should be small enough that a child can easily handle the plants inside. Give your kids a small version of a few gardening tools so that they can help you tend to the plants.  

When it comes to garden design, most of us adults are efficient in nature. We think about pairing the right plants together and leaving space between rows so that we don’t crush anything when we weed. To design a child-friendly garden, you need to start thinking like a kid. Use your imagination and create a space that encourages play, make-believe, and adventure.



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  1. August 24, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    I just commented on how it seemed that kids in the UK were outside far more then kids here in the States. Then I read your blog and I am surprised….so this garden idea is a timely one indeed!

    • Laura Dove
      August 25, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      Yes I think it differs from family to family. For us, my children are outside every day, whatever the weather! I have friends whose kids hate going outdoors, mine don’t get the choice! xx

  2. hannah
    August 25, 2017 / 9:26 am

    Gardens are great places for kids. I used to love my nans garden as there was loads of nice plants ans grass to play on

    • Laura Dove
      August 25, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      There’s nothing my children love more than being out in the garden! It’s great for them to be outdoors. xx

  3. August 25, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    This is such a lovely post filled with great ideas. It reminds me of my neighbours garden in Northampton. When I was a child I believed it was a magical garden ( I still do). She and I formed an instant connection. When she saw me playing outside, she would cross the street to collect me and bring me back to her garden where we would take tea. My Mother used to get quite cross with her because she would never ask permission…lol. But another neighbour would always let my Mother know I was across the street. It the 70’s when things were simpler. Have you created a maze for your children?

    • Laura Dove
      August 25, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Ahh that’s lovely – although maybe not for your Mother! Life was much more simple back then! No I haven’t done it yet but we are going to this weekend! xx

  4. August 25, 2017 / 5:18 pm

    I love the idea of building a little maze , also swing sets are a good idea I remember loving mine as a child! 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      August 25, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      Mine have a swing set and absolutely lovely it! xx

  5. August 25, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Our garden is definitely on my To Do list, I’m determined to make it totally child friendly.

    • Laura Dove
      August 26, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      We are renovating ours at the moment! It’s a big job! x

  6. August 25, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    I love this idea, there is nothing like having a fun outside area to play in – I was lucky growing up we had a park at the end of the cul-de-sac we lived in that for the most part only the close kids played in.

    • Laura Dove
      August 26, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      Ahh us too, I love mine being outdoors, so much more fun that stuck watching TV! xx

  7. Susan R
    August 25, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    I may not be a child but I love the sound of all these ideas! From a fairy house to a pretend mailbox and outdoor water fountain, these are such creative elements to have in a garden, that I’m sure all children would love

    • Laura Dove
      August 26, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Oh me too! Anything to do with fairies – I’m sold! xx

  8. August 26, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Some lovely ideas. Nothing beats spending time playing in the garden when you are a kid

    • Laura Dove
      August 26, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      I agree, we’ve done it all day long today! xx

  9. August 26, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    My children love being in the garden. It’s true figurines can be great for sparking creative play. I have a couple in the garden.

    • Laura Dove
      August 27, 2017 / 9:37 pm

      Us too, the kids love using their imagination to play with them! xx

  10. Francesca
    August 27, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    Awwwh I like this idea!! We are going to make a fairy garden as a little feature in our garden for the kids!

    • Laura Dove
      August 27, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      Ahh that sounds lovely, fairy gardens are so much fun! xx

  11. August 28, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    I used to love playing in the garden as a kid. We had a big play area, but a maze would have been amazing! x

    • Laura Dove
      August 28, 2017 / 5:17 pm

      Me too! We were never indoors! xx

  12. August 28, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    Great suggestions, these, but may I also suggest the reason why UK kids spend so much time indoors is because the UK weather is terrible, lol! It’s not been much of a summer, has it.

    • Laura Dove
      August 28, 2017 / 5:16 pm

      Haha totally agree! We’ve had our rain coats and wellies on most days! xx

  13. August 29, 2017 / 9:08 am

    Great idea with the maze, we used to do a similar thing with chalk on our patio as kids – it was always fun!

    • Laura Dove
      September 3, 2017 / 2:23 pm

      Oh that sounds like fun! xx

  14. Jess
    August 29, 2017 / 10:45 am

    The data honestly doesn’t surprise me. Kids have so much tech indoors, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but it would be nice to get them outdoors and active!

    • Laura Dove
      September 3, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      I completely agree! xx

  15. August 29, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    the maze is a good idea. with them helping you to plan, it gets their creativity going

    • Laura Dove
      September 3, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      I agree, so much fun! xx

  16. September 28, 2017 / 10:31 am

    That Life of Pooh sign is so adorable! Love these ideas

    • Laura Dove
      September 28, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Oh I know, too cute! xx

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