Help me improve our neglected garden - children play ideas

19 April, 2019
Ok before you look at photos the reasons my garden is no neglected is
1) I have a two little children that have occupied lots of my time
2) a yob neighbour who hung over the fence meant I avoided being in it
3) we have a rabbit that eats ALL our shrubs, flowers, veg
For these these reasons I’ve avoided the garden.
However the children (2&4)are wanting to use the garden more Independently, the yob has left home (the rabbit is still alive and nibbling)
I would love to enhance the garden and though we don’t have a huge budget (few hundred pounds) we have my husbands best friend who is a very clever joiner (if presented with something to copy)
How can I make this space more interactive and prettier? Has anyone got any suggestions (be brutal) or anything I can copy
My ideas are minimal perhaps remove the gravel bit and put Astro turf? A picnic bench and parasol? I’d love lots of
Colourful flowers but it would just be an expensive lunch for the rabbit
Any help much appreciated

Comments (11)

  • forzaitalia

    Well, I was expecting a 6 ft jungle of grass, but your garden is pretty! There are a lot of level changes but that does help to make an interesting garden. Having two young children is a full time job so that can be a lot of pressure, but won’t be long before they go to school. And as for the creepy neighbour, thank goodness he’s gone!

    I think its wonderful that your bunny has free range of your garden, even if it’s only part of the time - that is one happy bunny! Bunnies are one of the most neglected pets in the uk, living in tiny hutches forever. However, this can make planting difficult. How about planting a veggie patch for it? I remember ours loved curly kale.

    Are you or your partner up for painting the fencing, and possibly the decking? That will spruce up the garden no end. Perhaps the same green you have at the bottom of the garden. Then I would get some large pots (Wilkinson’s and The Range have some good budget ones) and then get some summer bedding and plant them up, things like Geraniums, Petunias and Verbena etc.

    i think somewhere soft for the children to play is an excellent idea. Fake grass is expensive if laid by a pro, but you could buy it off the roll and lay it yourself, but it never looks as good as a pro. How about an outdoor rug for the children - the rug can stay outside even if it rains and can be hosed down if it get mucky, I have one! I do put it away in the garage during winter. Here’s a pic:

  • moominrhubarb
    I love the rug idea thank you. I think we have one in the garage actually.

    We do love our rabbit plus it found us so feels even more special turning up in the front garden and was never claimed ! It has full run of all garden at all times but we’ve buried a tunnel in the fenced area which takes it under ground out into the coop so it can hide if needed from predators. I hate seeing tiny miserable rabbits
  • Tryphic
    How about some pots hung on the fence panels? Sort of like hanging baskets, but I think you can get one that come out at a slight angle, pansies etc are cheap as and will give you colour through the spring and summer, replant with something for the winter, fake things even?! Also as suggested above pots, bigger ones should keep plants away from the rabbit, or how about a trough on a bit of a stand to do a small veg patch with the children? Or recycle pallets to create shelving for pots.
  • tamp75

    As mentioned before, repainting the decking and the fencing would liven up the garden. I'd probably put kind of barrier around the patio level by the steps - you have a long planter there but part of the drop to the next level isn't covered and not safe. The bushes you have look like box hedging? If so, these would be great shaped into box balls or even other shapes. If you don't like them or want them, clip them and sell them - box bushes of that size are usually expensive to buy. Even just laying some fake grass over some of the decking would make the area more visually appealing as well as being softer for your little ones to play. I agree some plants in large pots would add lots of colour - nasturtiums are easy to grow quickly from seed, will bring plenty of colour and are edible too so shouldn't be a problem if your children decide to eat them!

  • nstomo

    Add a sandpit as children love them. Or a little painted play house. I agree with the comments above, try adding plants to the walls and fences- there an article on houzz about adding height to a garden = pretty flowers the rabbit can’t eat. Or have a section of the garden the rabbit can’t get into and put all the colour and flowers there.

  • A Babbsy
    I don’t think your garden looks too bad at all considering you think you’ve neglected it!

    Definately think of adding safety rails for the children, and I’d go for some artificial grass to create a nice safe area to play plus adding a bit of colour.

    Depending on how much you want for the children, I used a step in our garden to add a slide between levels for the kids and a sunken tranpoline.
  • Hil
    How about vertical planters? You could have colour away from your bunny. Or maybe plant it with veggies, lettuce etc? This would then keep the floor space free for your children to play... Good luck (& after photos please ) xx
  • 1shanson
    This space has potential and you can work with what you have. Perhaps you could start by power-washing the decking and refreshing the colour, along with the log rolls. Try using Garden Shades. It’s a bit more pricey but gives good coverage and lasts. It also has a good range of colours. As previously suggested use artificial turf (middle tier where the yellow tractor is on pic). Keep the Box shrubs but reshape. You have what looks like a sculpture/water feature that is hidden - bring that out and make a feature of it on the decking. You could always get your joiner to cut out part of the decking and make a trap door then sink a sand pit below. Trellis part of your fencing and grow climbers - protect the young plants by burying plastic coated metal mesh in the soil and above the soil by a couple of feet (make sure any sharp edges are made safe for the kids). Buy large pots rather than small, plant them up and place on decking. We are surrounded by fields and wild rabbits invade our garden. They will eat anything if hungry but there are plants they will tend to avoid. Luckily they are mainly of the same pink/purple pallet. Try planting any of the following: Hellebore, Lambs Ear, Peony, Salvia, Baptista, Cat Mint, Foxgloves, Astilbe, Veronica, Iris, Lavender, Allium, Daffodils, Bee Balm, Daylily, Anise Hyssop - above all, keep that bunny well fed with what you want it to eat! Good luck.
  • moominrhubarb
    Wow I’m blown away with your comments.

    Can I be cheeky and ask whether you think I can stray away from the traditional brown and green colour paint we have and if so what you suggest?

    My brother runs a flooring company and says he can get Fake grass at cost so he may know someone who can fit it (neither me or husband are handy) and I like the idea of putting it on the area with diggers

    I’m now leaning more towards keeping the gravel and bushes as in winter it is green and very low maintenance. I need to trim them into a better shape.

    The sunken sand pit is a good idea and one to investigate.

    I’ll look for some planters for on the fence and tall pots to fill with some of the suggested plants.
  • forzaitalia

    Cuprinol do some amazing fence colours called Shades, everything from the palest off white to darkest grey and black. Lovely paint to use and on offer at Wickes and B&Q at the moment. Do not use on a deck, but they do paint especially for decks. Dark grey always looks smart. My neighbour has painted an arbour and obelisk in a soft mauve, it’s not bright or in your face just rather lovely. This is the paint chart but if you go on Cuprinol website you can click and try all the colours on a fence or shed or whatever. The colour is not completely accurate, but it gives you an idea. Great that you have friends in high places and can get the grass at a bargain price! It’s all coming together. Just take your time and you will get there.

  • 1shanson
    I would definitely ditch the green as it looks dated. Two tones of greys would look good. Black is also having a moment so you could repaint the decking in the brown that you have and buy Black Ash for the rest.

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