Designing a family garden might seem like a daunting task. You want to bring everyone together, so it has to meet the desires of every family member while still looking somewhat put together. Although it might be tempting to overflow it with toys just for the kids or devote every inch of space to raising your own plants or crops, there are ways that you can optimise the garden for everyone to enjoy – even those hard-to-crack teenagers.
The average British family only spend around 49 minutes a day together[i], yet 87% of households in the U.K. have a garden[ii]. So, if you have the resources, why not merge these figures and boost the amount of time spent together by taking everyone out into a garden that they will love? There are so many benefits that come with spending time outdoors and spending time together as a family is even more crucial. Encouraging everyone outside will help strengthen those important bonds between each family member. To get you started, we have some of the best family garden ideas that will be too tempting to resist. From enticing entertaining areas to creating a family gardening plot, here are some of the best family garden design ideas.
When designing almost anything, the best advice to follow is to keep it simple, and nowhere is this more necessary than a garden. Planning a simple garden design that you know you’ll be able to put together but also meets all your needs is the best way to go. Adding components into your garden that everyone will enjoy, like a playhouse or play area for the kids, flower beds or gardening plots, outdoor gym or maybe even an outdoor movie projector screen will entice everyone out of the house for their respective activities.
If the style of your house is a relaxed one, or you want to provide a space that the entire family will enjoy without breaking the bank, don’t feel the need to overload it with fancy equipment, décor or seating. Instead, keep it simple – opt for comfy seating, gravel paths, low-maintenance flowers and shrubbery, and a few trees to give your kids great places to let loose while still enticing the rest of the family outside. Little ones will want to play games, ride bikes, build dens, climb everything, and get messy, which is vital for their growth, so don’t be too meticulous when designing your garden. If you’d like, you can set up a specific ‘messy area’ that the kids can run riot over, and you can work your green fingers over the rest.
Get a little creative with your outdoor space, and make it look like somewhere anywhere would enjoy spending their time. Not only will this bring your own family out into the garden, but your guests will look forward to going out in it too. Add in pathways made of stepping stones, flower borders with a rainbow of colours, curving steps, and different coloured furniture pieces and materials to add excitement and bring the exterior of your house to the attention.
If your desire is to bring the entire family out into the garden, you’re going to need the room to accommodate them. So, make sure that you load up on comfy seating and cushions that match the style you want to have for your garden and spread them across an area to create an inviting space.
Be imaginative with your seating area, and try some more creative approaches. Fill in awkward corners, use indoor furniture outdoors, try egg chairs, compartmentalise, furnish your decking, or why not try one of our fun tree benches to turn your favourite tree into your favourite seating area? However you decide to style it, as long as you create an entertaining space that you and your family will enjoy spending time in, you’ll see promising results very quickly.
With so much outdoors family time on the cards, sometimes people will just want a bit of space. Allow multiple people to relax outdoors while still maintaining certain levels of privacy by zoning certain areas to give everyone some room in the garden. Grouping seats together but leaving a little space between them – maybe fill this with a BBQ, a fire pit, potted plants, or a small outdoor kitchen – will mean everyone can still spend some time outdoors even when they’re not feeling too sociable.
To complement all the comfortable seating and give you a reason to use it, turn a simple seating area into an entertaining space. You could also create a completely separate site in your garden for the same purpose. Perfect for entertaining people of all ages, adding simple things like a fire pit, a BBQ, a pizza oven or a hot tub turns some simple seats into the perfect area for social gatherings.
Encourage your children outside and to be more active by adding some play equipment into your garden. Bring in slides, playhouses, swing sets, trampolines, or climbing walls to tempt kids away from the park. Get them out into their garden, where the rest of the family can be waiting to spend some time together. You could hide their play area from view of the house with some clever design placement or tall hedges, so guests and the family can still enjoy the garden with a bit of peace.
Letting kids and teenagers grow their own crops is a great idea to bring them out into the garden. It will teach them first hand about biology, where their food comes from and the importance of freshly grown produce. It also gives them a little bit of responsibility, which is proven to help them as they grow up. Young children and teenagers alike will love the process of planting and watering the seeds, and especially eating some of the results!
What more does anyone want than a cosy den to snuggle into at the end of a long day? Set up a snug area to encourage everyone into the garden, even if they want privacy. Set up a gazebo, fabric tent or wooden swing seat and pile on the comfy cushions and blankets so everyone can enjoy some time in a welcoming little nook. Adults can spend those warm summer nights relaxing outdoors, children can get lost in their fairy tales, and teens will be proud to bring their friends to such a wondrous space.
Bringing wildlife into your garden is another fantastic opportunity for your children to learn and will entertain the whole family. There are many different nesting boxes and bird tables that will encourage feathery guests, as will filling up bird feeders and hanging them high off the ground. Planting climbers, bog plants, herbs, pond plants and hedging plants will encourage a wide variety of wildlife into your garden. Hedgehogs, birds, insects and other small mammals will enthral kids and teenagers alike and gives you the chance to teach you about the animals and the importance of garden wildlife.
When designing a family garden, the most important thing is creating a space that encourages everyone out into it. Taking time to consider the layout and asking everyone what they’d like in their garden can make the process easier. Also, make sure you think about the function of each section, especially if your family is large, and work out an attractive colour scheme to draw people out. Most importantly, though, make sure the space you make will be a fun one!
Do you have any family garden design tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.