5 family garden ideas to child proof your outdoor space

Here’s some inspiration to help you create a safe and beautiful family garden to enjoy all year round.

A family garden should have something for everyone – and that includes a safe space for children to play. While many of us work hard to ensure our homes are child proof, we may not pay as much attention to our outdoor spaces. Of course, every child is different and their needs change as they grow. However, there are a few key areas to focus on if you want to create a safe family garden.

1. Pick a safe surface

Choosing surfaces is one of the biggest decisions if you are planning to redesign your garden. There are three major considerations when selecting the best surface for your family garden:

  • How do you want to use the space?

    Are you planning a seated area that could be used for outdoor dining, or do you need somewhere for children or grandchildren to run around?

  • What are the potential hazards?
    For babies or toddlers, loose gravel or chippings could be a choking hazard. Children can easily slip on wet decking, while uneven paving creates trip hazards for little feet.
  • How much time do you have?
    While a lawn can be a great place for children to play, it does require a considerable amount of maintenance. If you are short on time, a hard surface such as a deck may be more practical as it will involve far less upkeep.

Decking can be a great option for a family garden. It’s low maintenance and ideal for prams, scooters and trikes. Unfortunately, traditional decking gets horribly slippery when wet. That means your garden may be a no-go area in rainy weather, which is a major problem if you have lively children or grandchildren who need to let off steam. That’s why Gripsure non-slip decking, such as Home or Contemporary, is ideally suited to a family garden. You can achieve the aesthetic of a natural timber surface without the risk of slips. It’s also suitable for barefoot use and proven to be paw friendly so children and pets can happily pad around.

2. Remove major hazards

Playing outdoors is a great way for children to learn about taking appropriate risks. Of course, every parent has a different view on this. However, there are a few common garden hazards that should be removed or hidden from children.

  • Ponds and water features
    Ponds are a great garden feature if you want to attract wildlife. Sadly, however, they are also a serious hazard for young children. If you have a pond or pool in your garden, you should never leave young children unsupervised because of the risk of drowning.
  • Chemicals
    You may be surprised by how many toxic substances are lurking in your shed. Most garden pesticides and fertilisers are poisonous to both animals and humans. Remove any chemicals you do not want to keep and install a lock on any outbuildings or sheds.
  • Garden tools
    From lawnmowers and strimmers to ladders and loppers, the tools we use in the garden can prove very dangerous if they get into the wrong hands. Keep garden tools safely locked away and do not leave them unattended when children are playing outdoors.

3. Grow safe plants

A family garden can inspire a lifelong appreciation of nature. Getting young children involved in growing plants can be enormously rewarding. From holding a sunflower competition to harvesting strawberries and runner beans, there are many great ways for children to enjoy plants.

There are so many benefits to gardening that it makes sense to include a range of child-friendly plants in your family garden. After all, you might inspire your children or grandchildren to become passionate gardeners in the future. However, it is important to know what is growing in your garden. In particular, are any of the plants toxic? The RHS has some useful advice to help you identify any potentially poisonous plants.

4. Zone your family garden

Creating a family garden means thinking about everyone’s needs. One way to achieve this is to split your garden into defined spaces for different purposes. That could give you a safe area for young children to play, somewhere for older kids to run around and perhaps even a quiet spot for parents to enjoy a few moments peace.

You can create divisions between zones using planting or features such as archways or pergolas. Installing different surfaces will also clearly define your areas. Of course, space will be a factor and a larger garden will give you more options. However, even a small family garden could feature a lawn (for children to run around) and a decked area (for outdoor dining), for example.

5. Make it uniquely yours

While you may need to take some key steps to childproof your garden, every family is different. You may have family members with specific needs which means you need to consider accessibility, for example. Your priorities will also change as your children or grandchildren grow. While younger kids need constant supervision, older children will appreciate having some independence and space of their own.

The best family garden is the one that is right for you and your loved ones. That may be a beautiful and well-manicured garden with plenty of space for relaxing. Or, it could be somewhere to play football and ride bikes. If you think about the changing needs and interests of everyone in the family you can’t go far wrong.

Why not also consider ways to inject some of your family’s unique personalities into the garden? Here are a few ideas:

  • Paint a fence in a child’s favourite colour
  • Bring back memories of a family holiday by choosing plants from the location
  • Give your children pots to paint or top with shells from the beach
  • You could even create a deck that’s unique to your family with Gripsure’s DeckArt range This non-slip decking features a range of designs to celebrate your individuality

Every family is different but we think every family deserves to get the most out of their space.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?

From Cornwall to Ghana: decking upcycling making a difference

Retired local minister Peter Willows is raising money for a new maternity unit in Ghana - by selling planters made from timber offcuts of Gripsure non-slip decking.

Peter has made dozens of the popular garden troughs, which he then sells on Facebook.
The money Peter collects goes towards The King’s Village, a project in Northern Ghana, Africa. The charity provides healthcare, education and development to the country’s poorest communities.

Peter’s planters have so far helped to raise more than £3,000 towards a £150,000 target to build a new life-saving maternity unit in the area.

I’m so pleased with how well the planters been selling,” said Peter, who approached Gripsure to ask if he could use our decking offcuts to help his woodworking project. “I’d been getting hold of old bits of wood and upcycling them for a while, but I needed some more. I put an appeal out online and someone suggested Gripsure, who were very helpful.

Peter, who lives in nearby Cornish town St Austell, was invited to come along to Gripsure’s site, where staff helped him to fill the boot of his car with timber offcuts.

I must have been back five or six times since,” said Peter. “The people there are all very friendly and helpful to deal with. When I couldn’t get all of one load into my car, one member of staff delivered it round to my house the following evening.

Peter, who admits he’s a novice woodworker, said he really enjoys making his planters of various sizes – and is just about keeping up with demand.

I’m not a professional carpenter – I was a minister in a church,” said Peter. “But I started doing woodwork recently and got to like it,” he added, explaining how he makes his planters. “I get hold of the wood and cut them to length and then join them together. It’s a case of glue and screw, really!

I get a huge amount of satisfaction on the one hand of taking, what is in one sense scrap and turning it into something people want.

Peter is planning to get hold of some more Gripsure waste timber soon to create some of the smaller wooden plant pots that are selling fast on his Facebook Marketplace page. His product prices range from £20 to £30.

Gripsure Managing Director Mike Nicholson said he was delighted the firm’s offcuts were being put to such good use.

What Peter has been doing is fantastic,” he said. “Gripsure has a strong commitment to sustainability and this community project is a great example of what can be achieved with a little imagination and hard work.

Every day we work hard to reuse and reduce any waste from the business. All our paper, plastic and timber offcuts are recycled. We really like collaborating with local craftsmen who upcycle our decking offcuts into beautiful and unique products.
“We’re also pleased that our family business in Cornwall has helped to play some part in helping communities in Northern Ghana.

Find out more

To learn more about the fantastic work Peter gets up to, feel free to reach out to him at peterjwillows@hotmail.com.