I have to admit I’m very proud of the outdoor space I’m creating for the children to learn and explore in. I’ve always loved making things look exciting and inviting for children in my classroom and so it’s been especially nice to be able to do this at home for both my own children and the children I care for.
Although we go on lots of different adventures, if any of the small children are asked what they want to do you can guarantee they’ll say “stay at Hannah’s house!”
Living on a street full of terraces I don’t think anyone expects to find what I’ve done with my garden when they open my back gate!! My favourite first reaction was from one of my parents when they first turned the corner into my garden and just whispered “wow!” It was then that I realised that all the thought and effort I’d put into it was worth it.
I wanted to share a bit of the thought that went into setting up my garden the way it is and what works well in order to give others a little bit of inspiration.
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This is what our garden looked like when we first bought our house back in 2013!
It certainly looks a lot different back then to what it looks like now! But I think it also gives you an idea of what we started with and hopefully shows you that with a little hard work and magic what it can become!
We went for astro turf completely by accident as we had tried real turf but the ground just wouldn’t take it and so we were left with no other option as I really didn’t want concrete with little kids. However, I wouldn’t change it now and would recommend it to everyone especially if you are a bit crap at gardening like me. The main thing I love about the Astro turf is that no matter how much mess we make outside it can be quickly tidied up 😉 I can often be found hoovering the grass at the weekend making it nice again for the next week! (Yes the neighbours do laugh! 😂😂😂)
We kept the shed, gave it a lick of paint and added some bunting to make it look more appealing because lets face it a shed is a shed, it just needed to look nice! We’ve also kept the fences but have begun adding to them to make them more inviting for the kids. So far I have added a water wall, train chalkboard and number bunting.
(The trellis works really well to add things to the walls with cable ties 😀)
We got the play house for my daughters birthday 2 years ago and it has been fabulous! I searched and searched for a wooden house that wasn’t ridiculously expensive and I’m very pleased with this one we got from Garden buildings direct. Again we have painted the outside and added carpet inside. The kids this summer have spent hours painting inside too. This space is open for anything that takes the children’s interests – some days its a house, some days its a rocket. I try to keep it empty in order for the children to make it into what they want and then provide the resources for that.
My personal favourite thing in our garden is the mural that my friend Molly painted (MollyMural) for ages we had been wondering what to do with the back wall as the view from our kitchen window was pretty vile… I ended up just asking Molly to take it on and do whatever she wanted as long as it was kid friendly and this is what she came up with and we all LOVE IT ❤
I work alongside my mum so she had this one done in her garden to make her shed look a bit more fun!
The resources I have out in the garden change all the time depending on the children’s interests. However, I’m a huge fan of tuff spots (which I have spoken more about in my messy play post) and so I always have at least one of these out. I also love the littletikes sand pit (Cheapest one I can find) for anything that needs to be a little more contained. I have had numerous paddling pools in the past and think nothing works better then water in either the tuff spot or littletikes sandpit and they dont take much cleaning either 😉. In my experience the things that children love most are either free or very cheap so don’t go spending a fortune on plastic!!