When you’re a kid, there’s nothing like exploring the great outdoors in your own backyard. From navigating imaginary sea voyages from the helm of the patio deck to discovering otherworldly creatures living beneath the dirt, having an outdoor space is a treasure for children big and small (that is, if you can pry them away from the screen for a few hours).
But without some forethought and planning, it doesn’t take much for the kids’ play area to dominate your outdoor space, making it much less like a relaxing oasis and more like an advertisement for your neighborhood daycare. Is it possible to have an outside area for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy, without it being an eyesore for your curb appeal? Here are five kid-friendly backyard ideas that are equal parts fun and stylish.
Image source: Little Miracles Designs
This custom pergola is an attractive alternative to a traditional manufactured playset and an excellent option for a small backyard. Complete with two swings, a rock-climbing wall, and a rope ladder, it allows kids to get the wiggles out while creating a striking focal point. Artificial turf offers low-maintenance ground cover, while wooden benches on the sides double as storage for toys. Flowering vines could also be added to the top of the pergola to deliver natural shade.
Image source: A Beautiful Mess
Playing house is much more fun when you have a little abode that’s all your own, but many of the mass-produced sets are made of plastic and aren’t very sturdy. Minimalist in design, this Scandinavian-inspired A-frame playhouse features a simple deck, front door, and circular windows in the front and back to let in natural light. What’s more, you can DIY it using some basic supplies from your local hardware store. Outfit it with a play kitchen, reading nook, coloring area, or whatever your little ones will enjoy.
Bocce Ball Court
Image source: Decor pad
This Italian lawn game is growing in popularity in the U.S., and it’s great for kids and adults alike. A regulation bocce ball court spans 13 by 91 feet, and according to Houzz, if you hire pros to install it, it can cost you around $20,000. But for a simple family pastime, you can opt for a smaller area, and instead of using traditional oyster shell flour for the surface, add turf or grass to make it a multipurpose play zone for games like cornhole, ring toss, or giant Jenga.
Built-In Splash Pad
Image source: Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals
If an in-ground pool is not in the cards for you, a splash pad built into your patio can be a functional and stylish alternative to help kids cool off in the heat of the summer. When you’re not splashing around, it serves as a lovely water feature. Install multicolored lighting to illuminate the night and create an even more impressive display. Safety tip: Wear swim shoes to reduce the risk of slipping, or opt for a rubber surface for better traction.
Giant Outdoor Chalkboard
Image source: Better Homes and Gardens
Kids will love expressing their inner artists on this massive chalkboard canvas. Because it sits against the fence, you can create a “kids zone” with a minimal footprint while still providing lots of surface area to be creative. Get the whole family involved for an outdoor game of tic-tac-toe or Pictionary, or for a more versatile sensory experience, you can install a sandbox at the foot of your chalkboard.
Your outdoor living area should be a place the entire family can enjoy. By getting creative with the design and features, you can create a backyard that’s fun for the kids, relaxing for adults, and aesthetically pleasing for everyone.