Garden ideas for a family backyard include play structures, swimming pools, and toys. However, we’ve found that our kids enjoy our backyard without “kid-specific” features. Although we have a fairly small backyard, we were able to create garden paths that our kids continue to enjoy exploring.
We created a dry creek bed, mostly because it was pretty and fun to do. But I noticed that our kids loved to use the creek bed as a walking path. So we were inspired to continue making garden paths throughout the yard. The wider parts of the creek include plenty of rocks to step on. The end of the creek includes larger rocks for the kids to use as stepping stones. As a bonus, using the rocks keeps the kids from stepping on the flowers (most of the time).
We also added different kinds of stepping stones that lead into the creek bed. I must admit that all the paths are not just for the kids. They also help with getting around the garden to plant and care for the flowers. The hummingbirds also benefit from the garden paths because the paths create open spaces between the plants, so the birds can visit the flowers without worrying about harming their wings.
We have stepping rocks next to larger plants to provide more access to other areas of the garden and to help direct the walking traffic. Some areas of the garden are just covered with shredded bark. We kept areas around roses and trees with low canopies free of flowers for easy pruning, but our kids appreciate the additional areas to run around.
Our wooden garden bridge is like a kid magnet. It’s the first garden feature that friends and family go to when they first come to our backyard.
We also added raised beds to the side yard with vegetables, herbs, and cutting flowers. Our kids and dog love this small, enclosed garden space.
I hope these garden ideas help you come up with some fun spaces for your kids that don’t involve large structures, pools, and plastic toys. Garden paths can help the adults get around the garden, and they can help the kids feel like they’re exploring.