Ideas for all ages make your yard more family-friendly
Anytime’s an ideal time to get kids and teens outside, and the National Association of Landscape Professionals has ideas to engage all ages in backyard improvements your whole family will enjoy:
- Littlest helpers—Small hands can help welcome wildlife to your yard by assisting with a birdbath installation. Encourage little ones to find a shallow dish or bowl with a slightly rough bottom so bathing birds have some traction, or even create your own. Once the dish is filled with clean water, scatter sunflower seeds on the ground nearby to encourage feathered visitors and perhaps the occasional squirrel, or even plant a few colorful flowers so butterflies can join in the fun.
- Grade-school assistants—An old-fashioned tire swing is the perfect project for older kids. Have your child help you find the “perfect” (i.e., big and strong) tree, ideally a hardwood tree like a maple, oak, or walnut. Get a clean new or used tire and show your child how to drill a few holes in the bottom for rainy-day drainage. Select a sturdy rope that allows the swing to sit 12 to 18 inches off the ground and tie it so the tire swing will be at least three feet from the tree’s trunk. After the tire’s hung, a parent should give the tire swing a test drive to make sure it’s safe.
- Teen trainees—A fire pit’s a great place for teens to share s’mores and stories. Young people can help with this project by finding and laying paving stones on a level spot in your yard away from low-hanging branches. Place stones in a circle pattern at least 3 feet in diameter and at least 15 inches tall. Fill the bottom with pebbles and several inches of sand. Add logs and voila!
For more family-friendly landscaping ideas, visit the association’s website at www.loveyourlandscape.org; for assistance from a licensed California landscape architect, visit the Landscape Architects Technical Committee at www.latc.ca.gov.