Having a backyard garden is more than just improving the aesthetics of your property. They can offer you and your family many benefits, such as improving your mood and letting you enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. It can be a place where you and your family can relax and bond on weekends.
However, a garden can be a risky place, especially for children. Hazardous plants can be accidentally ingested. They can trip and fall on stones, or a garden hose left lying around. They can be stung by insects. Although it might not be a problem, it can be an issue for children with allergic reactions to insect stings.
The risks should not stop you from creating a garden in your backyard and enjoying its benefits. Creating a child-friendly garden can mean extra planning and foresight on your end, but it is possible. You can discuss how you want your garden to be with your full-service contractor, and they will gladly do it for you.
Keep your garden toxin-free.
You can start by choosing non-toxic plants. Although most children might not be inclined to munch on your plants’ leaves, it is still a risk that you would want to avoid altogether. Remove plants with fruits that are not edible and safe. Your child might mistake it for delicious fruit and munch on it. Avoid plants with fruits that look like berries but are, in fact, not safe to eat.
Another toxin that can potentially be harmful to your kids is chemical-laden fertilizers. Keeping your garden organic is the key to making it safer for the kids. Use compost and other chemical-free options to fertilize and nourish your plants. Avoid using pesticides that can also contain harmful and toxic chemicals.
Build a garden shed.
Do not leave your garden tools lying around for your child to pick and play with. A garden shed with a lock that only adults can open can help keep your children safe from your gardening tools and paraphernalia. Keep your hand trowels, digging shovels, spades, rakes, digging forks, wheelbarrows, and garden knives safe from those little hands. Keep those little hands safe too from injuries. You can also keep your lawnmowers, hose, and wheelbarrow in your garden shed. Not only is it for everyone’s safety, but it will also make your garden more pleasing to look at.
If you cannot avoid using fertilizers and garden chemicals, be sure to keep them secured in your garden shed.
Stay away from stagnant water features.
You think that ponds are a nice addition to your garden, but you might want to wait until the children are grown up. You can put a fence around your pond, but children are excellent climbers. In the US, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children aged 1 to 14. Children who live near sources of water are most especially at risk of drowning.
Another reason to stay away from stagnant water is mosquitoes. These bodies of water can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can carry diseases and viruses which they can pass on to humans, such as the West Nile Virus and the St. Louis encephalitis. In some areas, mosquitoes can be carriers of dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Give the children a space of their own.
One way to keep children off from restricted sections of your garden is to give them a safe place of their own. Give them a small section of the garden where they can also do their own gardening. Plants with deep roots can survive some harmless child’s play. Let them plant their own vegetables, so they can also be excited about their own produce.
Give children safe tools such as their own gardening gloves and small watering cans. They can water their own plants as you work in your garden. Just make sure not to leave younger children unattended.
Here are some plants that are safe for your children:
- California Poppy
Grass their playing area.
Children are prone to falls and some accidents during playtime. Grow grass in your yard for a cushion in case of accidents. Choose a grass variety that is resilient despite being constantly stepped upon. You can also fence their playing area, but you must remember that children can outgrow them fast. The fence you’ve built might not be sufficient for your child 6 months after.
Fence your grounds.
Fencing your grounds will not only protect your property from trespassers and stray animals. A fence can also keep your children from wandering into your neighbor’s unsafe grounds or out into the streets.
Do not leave your children unattended.
No matter how much you have child-proofed your garden, never let them out on their own. Children are pretty imaginative, and there can be problem areas that you have overlooked. Keeping an eye on your children is still the best way of keeping them safe.
Having children does not mean you cannot maintain a beautiful garden. However, you must be able to do some added precautions for your children’s safety and your peace of mind.