Creating a great outdoor family space

Posted on September 4, 2020 by Ashlee Hall

When it comes to creating a family space in your backyard, it doesn’t have to just include sandpits and trampolines – you can include aspects from both worlds with an amazing high impact design and yard that suits the whole family.

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Image courtesy of Lawn Solutions Australia

There are a few big steps you can take to make this dream come to life and, if you would like a little help when it comes to your lawn, give Rosemount Turf a call and we would be happy to help.

Create a Wish List

Step 1 – create a Wish List! You should go about designing your family space the same way as any garden design, which begins with making a Wish List of what you want and need in your garden. 

Your Wish List should include all the things you think that your family will use and all the things you’ve always wanted in a backyard space – this can include anything from a swimming pool and a lawn for the kids to play on to an entertaining space, a BBQ, a veggie patch and somewhere for the dog to sleep… it’s completely up to you!

Next, you have to prioritise the aspects on your Wish List that are most important to you – this includes the absolute must-haves at the top and the would-be nice points towards the lower end. It can be tricky, but when sorting through your list you need to consider the actuality of some of these items. This can include asking yourself the hard questions, including:

  • Do you have the time to care for a swimming pool?  
  • Can you spend hours of your week deadheading flowering perennials?
  • Do you have time to regularly water the masses of garden beds?

But, don’t be disheartened – wanting something a little low maintenance doesn’t mean that you have to give up on a great family space. For example, choosing a turf variety such as Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo Grass means your lawn will remain lush and green, even when you don’t mow it as often as you probably should.

Create a Concept Plan

Once your Wish List is complete, you need to fit all these elements into your yard in a practical way. The best way to do this is with a Concept Plan, which is actually simpler than you may think. Working to scale, draw up all your garden wants in plan view to make sure everything fits into your space – it is so easy to think it will all fit, but space might actually be tighter than you think.  

A quick tip – when adding any spaces that will have people moving around and through them (e.g. entertaining spaces and lawns in which kids and pets will play on), make sure you give them generous proportions.  For lawns in particular, which is a necessity in a family garden, make sure you make it as big as you possibly can – this will not only give you practical space, but some breathing room for the surrounding planting so the garden doesn’t feel too crowded.

If working to scale isn’t something that you enjoy doing, we recommend cutting out different spaces in paper and then arranging them over a survey or a house plan. This allows for the easy addition or removal of different spaces during the planning process, and you can try out a range of options for your property.

When planning your garden and layout, consider the parts you want to be able to see and enjoy and the bits that you would prefer to hide or mask.  Having an open lawn where you can watch the family play in a relaxing setting requires open sightlines, whereas utility areas like washing lines and trampolines may benefit from some hedging or screening to interrupt your view of them.

Site Analysis

Once you are happy with your Concept Plan, it is time to sit and wait outside. This may sound strange, but it is important to see where the sunny spots are – where veggie patches and many lawn varieties will thrive – and the shady, wet and dry spots too. Any of these or other issues may affect how you will use the space and how you have arranged parts of your Concept Plan – nobody likes an entertaining space in a wind tunnel. It is good to do it after you have had a play around with the shapes and elements of the garden though, as it gives you options to change rather than being constrained or put off by these effects on the garden once it is built.

Choice of Elements

Once you have decided on the layout of your family space, you’ll want to apply your finishes to these elements. This is what gives your garden a design edge. With family gardens, you need to pick wisely as picking the right product to its usage will make your garden look new for longer.  This can include anything from using natural stone for paving to timber accents to choosing hardy plants where kids will be playing and pets will be running – just because areas of your backyard have to be practical, doesn’t mean they can’t look great too.

Choice of Lawn

When it comes to your chosen lawn variety, a tough and hard-wearing lawn is always a good choice for a family yard. There are two super great choices that Rosemount Turf recommend:

  • TifTuf Bermuda: Looks great, as well as drought tolerant, tough and hard-wearing. No wonder it is used for sports fields and stadiums!
  • Sir Walter DNA Certified: Slightly larger leaf than TifTuf, but also hard-wearing and tough. It is a classic choice for families and performs well in most backyards.

The best way to make the most of your family garden is to get out there and use it – designing and building a new garden is something that can take time but utilising it is the best part.

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