5 free outdoor activities for kids this summer

With summer comes longer days and at Gripsure we think that means one thing – more time to enjoy your garden. This is especially good news if you have children. Playing outside has so many benefits for young bodies and minds, from getting exercise to learning about nature. As Europe’s leading creators of non-slip decking, we are great believers in helping people enjoy their garden all year round, so here are our top free outdoor activities for kids this summer.

1. Help them make a home for nature

Younger children will love using leaves, petals, grass and twigs to create tiny spaces for minibeasts. How about an ant hotel, a play area for centipedes or a cosy den for woodlice? For older children – and grown-ups too – the RSPB has some brilliant ideas for more ambitious projects, including a hedgehog home and a bee B&B, through their Give Nature a Home in Your Garden campaign.

2. Inspire them to create alfresco art

Water painting is a very simple activity that is surprisingly popular with pre-schoolers: give them a paintbrush and a pot of water and let them create art on your walls, decking or patio. It’s great for parents too as this is probably the least messy art activity! If you have chalk, children can create slightly longer-lasting artworks that will still wash away. And of course, children can create beautiful things using natural materials from the garden. The Imagination Tree blog has some great ideas, from painting pebbles to making a leaf collage.

3. Encourage them to build a den

Younger children will enjoy making a simple, cosy shelter with a couple of chairs and a blanket. Let them take some cushions, teddies and books outside and they will have their own secret hideaway. If you have an overgrown area of your garden, or spare branches or timber, older kids can use their ingenuity to create their own private retreat in the garden. Not everyone’s back garden is suitable for den building, so it’s worth looking out for events at local visitor attractions. Our customer The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall regularly invites families to enjoy den building, along with campfires, marshmallow toasting and bushcraft (Please note events are not taking place this year due to Covid-19, however, fingers crossed they will return for some more hammock-swinging and campfire singing next year!).

4. Let them get wet

While a spot of rain is enough to put most adults off the idea of stepping outside, children are usually much less worried about getting wet. With wellies and waterproofs, they can splash in puddles, catch raindrops in their mouths and watch the worms. Timber decking gets very slippery when it’s wet so non-slip decking is a great alternative if your garden is due for an upgrade. If you have anti-slip decking, you can relax and let your children run around, whatever the weather. It’s no accident that almost every nursery and pre-school has a water play area. Playing with water is such a natural and relaxing activity for young children, whereas toddlers and pre-schoolers will often be happy just with a large bowl of water and some plastic bottles and funnels.

5. Teach them the games you used to play

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, the chances are you played outside a lot more than your own children today. Can you remember the games you used to play? What about hide and seek, hopscotch, Mother May I, What Time is it Mr Wolf and tag? Why not teach your favourite childhood games to your kids so they can try them out with their friends?

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can get your children outside this summer. Available from a selection of merchants, or from us direct, our great value non-slip decking is ideal for a family-friendly garden.

5 inspiring outdoor living projects

When it comes to our gardens, most of us have to settle for somewhere to enjoy the odd sunny day and nurture a few plants. But sometimes it’s good to think big, so here are some amazing and inspiring outdoor living projects to get the creative juices flowing!

1. An extraordinary treehouse

This treehouse, in a garden in Greece, has so many amazing features. Not only can you exit via a slide or a fireman’s pole, it has a beautiful curved staircase and a rope bridge. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this project, though, is the cosy and luxurious exterior. This amazing building was created by BlueForest, a British company that specialises in luxury tree houses.

2. Shed of the year

This fantastic hobbit hole shed was named Shed of the Year 2019, beating many others to claim the title. Creator Chris Hield is a massive Lord of the Rings fan so when he decided to build a shed it had to be a hobby hole! It was important for Chris that the shed fit in with the wildlife and nature they had cultivated in the rest of the garden so the grass roof was a big feature!

3. Fancy a dip?

There are some truly amazing outdoor swimming pools out there. Just a quick search on Houzz brings up infinity pools in fabulous Mediterranean settings. But we love this more understated natural pool in an English garden. Yes, we don’t always get the weather for outdoor swimming but just imagine cooling off in this lovely spot on a warm summer’s day.

4. A Scandi lodge overlooking a rural vista

This gorgeous Scandinavian-style lodge is situated in a large garden, with a stunning view of rural Cornwall. A lodge like this could be used as an office, studio or a teenager’s den, as well as for parties and entertaining, or just relaxing. This lodge was designed by Barbecue Lodges and Gripsure was delighted to supply non-slip decking.

5. A garden office with a difference

More of us are working from home so garden offices are growing in popularity. Just imagine how a space like this, designed by Platform 5 Architects, could spark some creativity. We love the use of natural timber and beautiful sweeping curved design. The use of glass will also allow in plenty of natural light and make the most of the garden view.

While most of us can only dream of having something like this in back yard, we hope these projects provide some inspiration for improving your own garden. These ideas also show that you don’t have to follow convention and you can be creative.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.

5 ways to add value to your home (without spending a fortune!)

Did you know the average Brit spends 86 minutes a week gardening? Well it’s time well spent as it has been reported that an attractive garden can increase property value by up to 20%. This means that with the average UK house price sitting at £248,000 (ONS, 2020) your outdoor space could be worth just short of £50,000. But how do you add value to your garden? Here are our 5 quick wins (without breaking the bank)…

One major selling point of a garden is accessibility. People want an outdoor space that they can use as if it were an extra room of their house without having to spend hours gardening each month. At Gripsure we want everyone to get the most out of their outdoor living space all year round so we’ve put together this handy guide on how increase the value of your garden.

1. Keep it simple and low maintenance

In line with 2019 trends, natural looking, simple gardens are increasingly popular. These low maintenance gardens are easy to care for, meaning you’ll spend less time pruning and more time enjoying your beautiful space. Start by stripping back your garden so you have minimal free-standing pots, defined spaces and clean edges. You can then utilise a few well-placed features, such as decking and flowerbeds to create a welcoming outdoor living environment. To make caring for you garden even easier, fill pots and beds with native plants as these will thrive in the local climate and require less care.

2. Split your garden into sections

Many gardens have a combination of paving, decking, lawn and flowerbeds. Having clean borders between these can make the area look more attractive and increase its value. If you have a lawn make sure it is mowed regularly and that the edges are kept crisp, trimmed and weed free.

If you want to add value to your garden, it is worth considering investing in some good quality decking to create a space for al fresco dining. According to property guru Sarah Beeny, decking could add 2% to the value of your property – that’s £4,960 for the average house. Poor quality or badly maintained decking is likely to have the opposite effect though, especially as it can become dangerously slippery. Gripsure anti-slip decking is safe, durable and will add value to any outdoor living space. Our Home and Contemporary are our most popular decking profiles for homeowners, which are made with sustainable Redwood timber and are available from our website.

3. Invest in some outdoor furniture

Part of selling your home is selling a lifestyle and you don’t need a massive garden to enjoy the outside! Make your garden more inviting by buying a set of good quality, weather-resistant furniture, such as White Store’s rattan sets, to create a seating area on your patio or decking. This reinforces the idea that the garden is an extra room of the house, adding value to it. Adding lighting will increase the amount of time the garden can be used year round. Festoon lighting works well in outdoor dining areas and we particularly like the set of 20 available from Willow & Stones. You can also add solar lights (like these mini ones from Solar Centre) to flowerbeds and borders, which will come on automatically as it gets dark, creating a comforting atmosphere as the light fades in the early evening.

4. Use plants to hide issues

Whether it’s nosy neighbours or noise from a busy road, there are lots of issues which may stop people enjoying their gardens and decrease their value. Solve these problems by getting creative with trees, flowerbeds and shrubbery. For example, planting hedging and shrubs can help counteract problems – such as traffic noise and pollution – caused by living close to a busy road. Planting tall bushes and mature trees can give your garden more privacy. You can also use climbing plants to breathe life back into old walls and fencing. If you’re thinking about moving and don’t want to spend money on shrubs and flowers you’ll leave behind, invest in pretty posts and perennials that you can take with you.

5. Make it colourful

A bright garden will be worth more than a garden which is dull and dank, so liven up your outdoor space with a few pops of colour. This may sound daunting but it’s easy to do with a few free standing pots or by popping down to your local garden centre and stocking up on flowers for your flowerbeds. Choose a selection of colourful plants that complement one another and position them strategically around your garden. Another tip is to pick species that flower at different times of the year so your garden looks beautiful no matter what the season.

Spending some time nurturing your outdoor space can really reap rewards. Not only will you be able to get more enjoyment from your garden, you will also be adding value to your property.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.