Carrie shares some trade secrets on gardens geared for family living.
Create a food garden Growing fruit and vegetables is a great family pastime. Let your kids pick herbs and salad greens while you’re cooking – it’s a modest yet profound way to engage and teach them about where food comes from. If you don’t have enough time to tend to a vegetable garden, focus on perennial food crops, fruit, herbs and berries that don’t need to be replanted seasonally.
Driveway reboot Create a multipurpose space where your kids can play and practice sport against the garage.
Let them dig in We don’t nurture a sense of enthusiasm for plants in children enough. It’s such an under-explored means of expression for them. So, give your kids ownership over a section of the garden. Take a trip to the nursery and let them pick their plants with your guidance. If you have a large garden, give them their own dedicated plant bed. With a smaller garden, give each child a nice big pot to plant up with annuals each season.
Make a splash One of the most popular features is a swimming pool. But, once it’s been family-proofed with fencing or covers, it tends to be unsightly. Think carefully and creatively about pool safety. Creating a terraced garden that separates the pool with level changes is a design-savvy way to make a pool inaccessible without requiring unsightly infrastructure. If you’re willing to invest, consider glass balustrades rather than pool fencing. With a roll-up cover, take the time to design below-ground storage so that it blends seamlessly with the surrounds.
Teen spirit Don’t forget to cater for teenagers. Few gardens are designed with kids over 12 in mind. Teenagers love to hang out in the garden. They will happily lounge around in the fresh air for hours with their friends if there’s something plush or special to lure them outdoors. Think comfy, overstuffed outdoor beanbags, hammock seats, built-in day beds, armchair lilos and a large umbrella.
clockwise, from top left Rosa ‘l’aimant’, a freeflowing floribunda rose; architectural artichokes make a great addition To edible gardens; Melaleuca armillaris, a specimen rarely found in local gardens; burgundy iceberg features clusters of wine-red blooms and makes a good cutting flower; Penstemon ‘husker red’ does well in wet winters
opposite page, clockwise, from top a structured gravel pathway and ribbons of richly layered planting line The main lawn Terrace off The patio; The pool Terrace is graciously framed by a copse of robinia Trees; The intermediate Terrace between The lawn and pool features lush robinia Trees, while hedging adds a Touch of formality