Backyard Design Ideas To Get The Kids Outside And Playing (And That Look Good Too)

Now, more than ever, children are occupied by a plethora of screens, games, shows and activities that keep them indoors. As such, it can be challenging to get them to play outside and ‘be kids’.

A good way to encourage your children to go outside and shake off all that excess energy, is by constructing a backyard that looks good and engages them actively.

We know that some play equipment comes in loud colours and wild designs, which might not suit your home or decor and may even be too much for your children, so we’ve put together this article with some alternative ideas that will entertain your kids and look great too!

The old fashioned swing

There is something to be said about a picturesque backyard landscape that has a swing. Whether you’re a fan of the the childhood classic tyre-on-a-rope, a modern fluorescent plastic swing-set or a DIY chain and plank setup, a swing is a great way to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors. Also, a good swing is never an eyesore as it almost blends with the surroundings as well placed extension of the whole space.

If your backyard and garden has firm trees with thick overhanging branches, you’ve already half the way there with building a support structure. Just make extra sure that the branch is sturdy and not likely to break under any seated weight on the swing. In this regard, gums are not a good choice for homemade swings because they shed limbs with little warning. The best trees as a swing support are old oaks with thick trucks. Before allowing anyone to use the swing set, make sure to test it first by applying plenty of pressure on it and checking that the tree is healthy too.


The cubby house

When thinking about traditional backyard play, what’s the opposite of the swing-set?

The cubby house of course!

Children absolutely love playing make-believe, going on random adventures and creating their own worlds. And they can do all of this outdoors, in nature. Cubby houses are a perfect companion for all your children’s outdoor adventures. Depending on how creative and confident you feel with constructing something, you can either invest in a pre-constructed cubby house that requires simple assembling, or you can get some planks of your own and build a DIY cubby and appoint your your child as the chief supervising officer. You could even make it a holiday building project for the entire family to enjoy.

Alternatively, if you have limited outdoor space and are not particularly sold on having a permanent fixture sitting around 24\7, the cubby house teepee may be an option for you. While it might not be the best hideaway for your child on a rainy day, your child can easily move their canvas teepee cubby house into the garden whenever they want to be outside. The other advantage of a teepee cubby house is that it’s a lot cheaper (a huge bonus if you’re on a budget) and has a more flexible set up than a traditional wooden house. So if your child outgrows it, instead of knocking it down you can just pack it up and pop it in the garage.


In the grotto

As all children are different, you might have one kid who is quieter and more introverted and instead of running around for hours, prefers to sit outside on their own. A perfect outdoor situation for them could be a little grotto where they can escape and be in a safe space. This is a particularly good idea if your child shares a room with a sibling or other relative as it gives them a little hideaway in the garden, because – let’s be honest – sometimes we all need some alone time to recoup our energy.

Building a grotto is simple: all that you need is a semi-hidden space, like a corner of the yard or in the middle of some flowerbeds. Once you’ve found the ideal spot, lay some large paving stones and plant a circle of shrubs or flowers around them. Then use the overhang of a tree to install some kind of cloth to provide some shade from the sun. Once the space is ready, send you kid out into their little grotto with a pillow, a book or their toys so they can enjoy the outdoors at their leisure.


Easel does it

Multiple studies have shown that encouraging creativity in kids, particularly with things like art and music, is strongly linked with the healthy development of secondary learning skills in life. Though it’s important not to force your child or reprimand them into creative pursuits, if you see that your daughter or son have a creative streak, let them doodle away to their heart’s content and give them positive reinforcement as they do.

You can also do a few little things to help facilitate these pursuits. For example, investing in a combined easel and chalkboard (which are often very inexpensive) and putting them in your patio where you kids can draw the garden. If you see that your kid is really working on their artistic skills, or if they are a bit older, you can buy a separate easel to encourage their development. Then stock up on canvases and big rolls of butchers paper, both of which will keep your kids entertained and focused for hours.

Whatever you choose, installing a place outside where your children can scribble means that, firstly, the walls of your home won’t be art galleries and secondly, they will find inspiration for their art from nature. It’s truly a win-win-win situation.


There you have it!

A few simple ideas that will encourage your kids to get some much needed fresh air and connection with nature as well as screen-free time. We hope these suggestions have inspired you to get outside with your family with some DIY garden activities.

And if you need any more help with these suggestions, reach out to our natural stone experts at Armstone online or calling 1300 560 560. We would love to help you with any questions about creating a fun and safe play environment for your kids.

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