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

Published by Armstone

With so many screens, games, shows and activities inside, it can sometimes be hard to convince children to simply go outside and ‘be kids’.

Constructing a backyard that looks good and actively encourages your children to spend time in it can be a great way to stop them being cooped up inside all day, and lets them shake off any excess energy they might build up in the process.

Unfortunately, a lot of play equipment comes in loud colours and disruptive designs – something you’ll want to be clearing away whenever you have guests over. Instead of having to worry about clearing things out of sight before guests arrive, why not try a few of these ideas that’ll provide entertainment for the kids – while looking good to boot.

The old fashioned swing

A picturesque backyard landscape just isn’t complete without 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, setting up a swing is a great way to encourage kids to spend a little more time outdoors. And a good swing is never an eyesore.

For anybody with firm trees with thick overhanging branches, you’ve already got half of the job done in building a support structure. Just make extra sure that the branch is sturdy. Gums aren’t a good choice for a homemade swing, as they shed limbs with little warning; try to find a thick, old oak or equivalent that isn’t going anywhere soon, and apply plenty of pressure on it to test before even thinking of a swing setup.


The cubby house

If we’re discussing the traditional backyard play, what’s the other side to the swingset? The cubby house of course!

Youngsters love places to go and be kids, and there’s no reason that they can’t spend a little bit of time in nature while they do so. A cubby house can be bought pre-constructed, or (depending on the age and general desire in constructing things) you can get some planks of your own and build one DIY with your child as a holiday building project.

If you’re worried about constructing an entire space, or don’t want a fixture sitting around 24\7, you might want to consider a cubby house teepee instead. While your child won’t be able to hide away in it when it rains, building a teepee out of canvas or similar means that you or your child can simply take it out from under the cover and walk it out onto the garden whenever they want some outside time.

The other good thing about this is that it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more flexible to set up than a traditional wooden house. Plus, if your child outgrows it, you won’t have to knock it down. You can just pack it up and pop it in the garage.


In the grotto

Not everybody’s youngster is an extrovert who wants run around for hours. For those of you who have a quieter or more introverted child, the outside can be a perfect place to escape. Why not make them a safe space, their own little grotto? This is a particularly good idea if your child shares a room with a sibling or other relative; making a little hideaway in the garden can be just what they need.

All that you’ll require is a somewhere semi-hidden, like a corner of the yard or in the middle of some flowerbeds. Lay some large paving stones and surround them with a circle of shrubs or flowers, and use the overhang of a tree or some kind of shade cloth overhead. From there, it’s a simple affair for your child to take with them some pillows or a book to read in their own little garden grotto.


Easel does it

Promoting creativity in kids, particularly with things like art and music, is linked strongly with development of secondary learning characteristics in later life. While it’s important not to force it too hard on them, if your son or daughter has a creative streak, let them doodle away to their heart’s content.

To help facilitate this, you can grab a combination artist’s easel and chalkboard, and these can be very inexpensive. If your child is really embracing their art, or if they are a bit older, you can buy a separate easel. Stock up on canvases and a big roll of butchers paper to keep your kids entertained and focused for hours.

Whatever you end up deciding upon, having an easy place outside to scribble on means that your child can draw whatever comes to mind, or take inspiration from the outdoors. They’ll be working outside, and not on little pieces of paper too, so they’ll be able to get really hands on and visceral with chalk, without any fear of mess or clutter on the living room carpet.


Not only will these great ideas get your kids out for some much needed fresh air and tablet-free time, but it might just get you out into the garden too. There are so many simple (and complex!) projects you can do for, and with, your children. We at Armstone are inspired, and hope you are too, so have a go at some DIY garden activities today. We often look for inspiration for our homes though adult’s eyes, but by paying attention to your child – and you inner child – your home might just become a bit more playful for the young, and the young at heart.

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