Update on A childs garden...

Juhii1(z9 N. CA)January 24, 2003

I've spent the winter dreaming and planning, now with spring just around the corner I have some ideas to share. I've been studying my yard and and have found that a good portion of the yard never gets direct sun due to the fence. So I plan on planting shade loving plants along the length of the back fence. I seem to be having some dificulty finding flowering shade plants. Some but not my favorites. So I'm going to add color to this area by painting a mural of sorts on the fence. I'll paint sunflowers and daisies as well as dragonflys, butterflys, and faries, and maybe some cattails near the pond. Also along this side I'll have the drinking fountain. Up aginst the house however gets full sun as far as I can tell, so I will have some of my veggies as well as a grapevine and my spring bulbs near the water outlet. We now have grass and sprinklers back there with a 2 1/2 foot space between the fence and the grass and the house and the grass. I got my pond in and will be placing a small white picket fence around it. Now I'm really looking forward to spring.


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katybird_PA(z6 PA)

Sounds very nice. I am dreaming up improvements to the children's garden I started last spring. One side of the garden is bordered by the shed and I am hoping to do a mural along the wall of the shed this spring. I also want to get an arbor to create an entrance to the garden and plan to put in some ornamental grasses to create a screen and give the garden a sense of privacy and enclosure. The garden has a bench I made from my daughters old bed frame, a sandbox with a sizable play deck and a large planter box and an assortment of pots. This spring I start planting in the ground.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2003 at 12:47PM
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Hello, Colleen. I came across your original post when I was looking for some ideas to make a garden for my daughter, age 19 months. We've also moved into a new home and have a side yard that is mostly dirt, weeds, and potential right now. At first I was going to put in the traditional swings and a slide, but we have a park nearby with nice playground facilities, so I thought perhaps I'd do something a little different instead -- a little more of a garden, and hopefully a little more magical.

I wanted to tell you of two books that I've found that I absolutely love and would highly recommend -- I'm sure you'll find some things you want to add to your plans!:

1. "Great Gardens for Kids" by Clare Matthews. This book has excellent project ideas and is full of bright, colorful illustrations.

2. "Outdoor Play Every Day: Innovative Play Concepts for Early Childhood" by Karyn Wellhousen. This book is intended more as a textbook for early childhood educators and daycare center owners, but it has excellent ideas that are just as applicable to the backyard. It discusses appropriate play zones to stimulate different areas of development, and has lots of simple ideas.

After reading these books and getting some ideas from the web I have more ideas than I can implement! Some I'll do now, and I have ideas for things to add and change as she grows. I plan to lay them out in a way that makes a pleasing garden structure, so that when she's older they can be removed and a pretty garden will remain. This year will probably be dedicated to the fundamentals of the landscaping, and I'll add to the plantings each year. Here's my plan:

1. Tricycle Path: I want to run a meandering path around the yard, where my dd can pull her wagon and ride her push car and one day her tricycle. It will leave room for a fairly large expanse of open yard, plus borders around the yard where the other things listed below will go along with plants.

The path will need to be relatively flat, and from an aesthetic standpoint ideally I would put in a brick path, but that's probably beyond my budget right now, so I'm thinking of using large square concrete pavers -- I can always upgrade to brick later. I also want to build a low wooden bridge that she can ride over, and roll things down (the yard is quite level so there are no natural hills to follow).

2. In one place the tricycle path splits and comes together again, forming an island. That is where her sandbox will go. I also want to get some larger, round rocks that she can play with like blocks. There will also be room in the island for some plants.

3. Not far from the sandbox a hammock will be hung -- a quiet spot for me or her!

4. Next come some logs which are partially buried in the ground -- some vertically, for climbing and jumping off of the tops, another horizontally to be a balance beam. Also a rustic bench.

5. In the far corner of the yard is a spot for her playhouse, sitting on either slate, wooden decking, or pea gravel.

6. I want to add a music station where I will hang various chimes and bells that she can hit with a stick or pull on a string and make her own music.

7. This can wait until she's a little older, but across part of the lawn I want to place stepping stones with the numbers for a hopscotch course. I also want to add a long water feature which is a flowing course of water that boats can be floated along. (The instructions for making both of these are in the "Great Gardens for Kids" book.)

8. Where there might be active play I'll limit my plantings to things in the ground that don't have any hard sticks jutting out. In other, quieter areas, I'll be freer to use containers and more woody shrubs. In some of the corners where I plan to plant shrubs I'm going to leave some empty spots among the shrubs to form little secret spots for playing. And of course nothing poisonous!

9. Back on the patio near the house I want to build a long, low table that can be used for water play or arts and crafts. The top will remove so that I can store things in the bottom.

Hope this helps you with your own ideas!


    Bookmark   February 2, 2003 at 4:47PM
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I've come across one more excellent resource I would add to the list. It is the Evergreen website, and in specific their Design Ideas for the Outdoor Classroom -- see link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen's Design Ideas for the Outdoor Classroom

    Bookmark   February 7, 2003 at 6:18PM
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Need help in planning a preschool garden. I already have a space that is 15x5 above the ground by about a foot. They have used this space in the past, but have not kept up with it. Right now there is strawberrys in about 1/4 of it and slowly taking it over. And one head of lettuce popping out of the ground. I wanna start over with some themes. Can I do a spaghetti or pizza garden in half and a butterfly in the other half?

What do I need to do to prepare the soil since it has been used in the past for gardening. I live in North Texas. It gets a lot of sun where it is.

Thanks! Ariel

    Bookmark   February 19, 2003 at 2:45PM
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careytearose(z9 NoCal)

wow, all these ideas sound great! We've got a formerly "junk zone" side yard that we're turning into a Secret Garden for our two children. Its 5.5 feet wide by 37 feet long. In this pic here you can see the landscape paint on the soil marking out the space for the future river and pond, the vegetable garden, and the rainbow flower garden areas.

This is being a really fun project for our whole family to do together. DH is out there rotilling and adding soil amendments in it right now as I am typing! The children have enjoyed the planning and design phase with me, what I call the "imagining" stage. We've gone to plant nurseries and chosen lots of plants and found a nice stone birdbath to go into their garden. I've got a few pics of the SG in progress on my Picture Trail.

Here is a link that might be useful: look in the Landscaping Projects 2007 album

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 8:49PM
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I've been looking for good ideas for a children's garden area. These are great!

I'm going to the library this week to see if I can find some of the recommended books. I know this is an older post, but does anyone have pictures?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:38PM
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