4 ways to make the garden more child friendly in Winter

This is a collaborative post.

This Winter seems to have dragged on forever. It’s not so much the cold, more the impracticality of being outside. Everything’s wet and muddy in the garden so the children are stuck indoors. It’s impossible to get the trampoline dry and the decking is slippery when it’s wet so I worry about them running around on it. This year though, I’m determined to sort out our garden. I’d always focussed on getting it usable in Summer, so now I want it to be a child-friendly garden for the Winter. Here are the four things I’m looking at doing.

Two young girls walking along outside in the snow

1. Play house

The girls only really have the trampoline in terms of large play equipment outside. It’s perfect for the Summer and they spend hours on it, but it’s not so great for Winter. They have a little Wendy house, but it’s a plastic one that is quite open at the sides. It has also served its time with my two really, they could do with something a little bigger that’s aimed at older children. I’d love to buy them a proper wooden play house that they could decorate inside and make it their own. I think having their own little space away from us would encourage them to go outside whatever the weather.

2. The right surface

My husband and my dad decked our back garden a few years ago. It has made the space so much more usable and in the summer months, we’re out there all the time. Unfortunately though, decking isn’t ideal for the Winter. Our side garden tends to get muddy because the dogs are always out there in all weather and our front garden isn’t usable at the moment. So this year, I’m going to get the front garden fenced off so the girls can use it. I want to put a swing and slide in there and I’m tempted to put some fake grass down under them so it doesn’t end up with those awful muddy puddles under the equipment.

3 year old girl with toy car on a track

3. Winter vegetables

As well as an area for the girls, I want our new garden to have somewhere for me to grow vegetables. It’s something the girls love doing with me and would be a reason for us all to get out there together. I took some tips from a friend last year on gardening with children. By next Winter, I hope to have some vegetable beds with Winter vegetables in them.

The Walled Gardens at Croome National Trust in Worcestershire, West Midlands | Croome Walled Garden is the largest walled garden in Europe. It has a hot wall with furnaces, tunnels to explore, a pond and several wells. There are lawn games for children to play and for them, it is like exploring a secret garden. The walls give the garden a microclimate similar to that in the Loire Valley. This is a fascinating example of a historical garden that is a real adventure for the whole family.

4. Wildlife

Next Winter, I think we might build a bug hotel and put a few more bird feeders around the garden. There will be an area that the dogs don’t go in without us, so they won’t frighten the birds off. I might even have a go at creating a hedgehog house and let the girls fill it with dry leaves. Little projects like this give the children some responsibility both for the garden and for wildlife. I’m hoping it will make them more keen to get outdoors.

Feed the birds with a children's Big Bird Gift Box from Box Wild

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Please note, this is a collaborative post. All views, opinions and currently rather useless Winter gardens are my own.

12 Comments

  1. March 18, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    I’m really tempted by fake grass, it looks really good and low maintenance! We’re out in the garden as soon as it warms up

    • monsterid March 21, 2018 / 2:21 pm

      Oh us too, and I can’t wait!
      Nat.x

  2. March 18, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    I keep saying to Si that we should go for either fake grass or paving all around the gardens outside, I get chronic hayfever and I HATE all the mud that the boys drag in all year long from the garden. Hopefully this is the year we finish off the house and garden!

    Stevie x

    • monsterid March 21, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      Ahh yes the fake grass would be perfect with hay fever!
      Nat.x

  3. March 20, 2018 / 5:37 am

    Hi Nat, I love the idea of a hedgehog house! I’m sure any child would love the idea of having a wild hedgehog snuggled up in a house they’ve helped create for winter. A proper playhouse sounds like a plan too, and with a veggie patch of their own to sustain them through the winter I have a feeling they may never go back into the main house.

    xx

    • monsterid March 21, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      I know, I’d be quite excited to have a hedgehog living in the garden too!
      Nat.x

  4. March 20, 2018 / 8:45 am

    Perfect ideas! I really want fake grass in our small back garden, the kids are out there all year round and it can get very muddy!
    Wish we had enough room for a slide and swing set etc, but our garden is too little!

    • monsterid March 21, 2018 / 2:15 pm

      Yes it’s really tempting to get the fake grass to minimise mud isn’t it?
      Nat.x

  5. March 21, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    Sounds like you’ve got some really good ideas. We don’t go out in the garden at all in the winter, which is a real shame. I’m desperate for the guinea pigs to get back on the grass, but it’s still too cold and damp for them.

    • monsterid March 22, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      Oh gosh yes, I bet the guinea pigs can’t wait either! The Winter seems to be lasting forever!
      Nat.x

  6. March 22, 2018 / 9:19 am

    A wooden playhouse sounds like a fabulous idea. We’ve recently had our fences replaced and the workmen cleared quite a lot of the garden at the same time. It’s now like a blank canvas and it’s finally made me want to do something more with the space. I like the idea of a bug hotel as well! Good luck with your garden projects 🙂

    • monsterid March 22, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Ahh that’s lovely, I can’t wait to get our garden like that!
      Nat.x

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