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.
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. 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.
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.