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Toddler Friendly Garden - Desperate for help/ideas

(19 Posts)
OuiOui Wed 18-Sep-02 13:05:36

My dd is 11 months old and we've recently moved into a house with a smallish garden (altho it is London so we count ourselves very lucky) However it's quite wild and the grass area is very wet. We've had a handyman clear it up but don't know what to do about the wet grass. We want to put new turf down but don't know if the wetness will continue to seep through. Anyone any ideas? Also want to put up a small play area (swing/slide) type thing and sand pit (next Spring really) Open to all ideas. Know anyone who can help? We're in Highgate.

musica Wed 18-Sep-02 13:56:05

Re the grass - push your fork into the grass at regular intervals to make small holes, and then push sharp sand into the holes. This will improve drainage - you should probably do it twice a year. Regular mowing will also help.

Bozza Wed 18-Sep-02 14:33:11

Putting new turf down will not do any good unless you improve the drainage - like Musica says. Make sure any sandpit has a cover. My DS has a sandpit on legs (from Argos) I think which he loved when he was at the cruising stage and gave him confidence (something to hold onto) outdoors.

Enid Wed 18-Sep-02 16:37:05

Only get a sandpit if you don't mind permanently cleaning sand off your floors. My childminder completely put me off the idea.

I am currently planning a toddler/child patch at the back of our garden and think that stepping stones and some sort of 'hut' are essentials. Factor in a small area where she/you can plant flowers next summer - sunflowers, strawberry plants, pansies are all good. I am also going to get a few 'statues', by that I mean pottery hedgehogs, wicker bunnies etc. Sounds twee I know but its just in a corner and I know dd will love it. We splashed out on a lovely wooden swing from Treetops that we are going to add a climbing frame to next year - swings are great, have a long play life, personally I wouldn't bother with a slide unless you really don't have a park near.

You may have to completely dig up the turfed area and put down lots of sharp sand before laying new turf. Alternatively you could get rid of the grass completely and replace it with decking (if its a smallish area).

Bozza Wed 18-Sep-02 16:41:03

I'm impressed Enid. You seem to have put a lot of thought into it. I would like to do something similar when we've eventually had a patio/retaining wall lain. Its taking ages to get quotes and they are very different (ie one twice the price of another).

helenmc Wed 18-Sep-02 18:46:44

Thinking ahead a bit when dd is very mobile is a a race track round the grass (no edging to do when you cut the grass as well), works for cars/skates/toy carts prams etc etc etc

monkey Wed 18-Sep-02 20:37:33

re swing vs slide - I was really keen on a swing, but my mum really disagrred and thought slides were better. She bought ds a little slide/climbing frame fro his 1st birthday, & I later bought him a swing.

Well, I have to say, she was so right. The slide is still v. popular even though it's really small for him now. Most importantly, he can go on it by himself whenever he wants.

The swing is a total pain - I have to push them, & they want to stay on ages. Plus ds2 (1.5) regularly tries to climb on himself. Sometimes succeeds & screams till I come & push him. Sometimes doesn't quite succeed & I find him screaming with the safety bar holding him in a tight headlock.

I guess swing'd be better for older kids, but not toddlers ime

ionesmum Wed 18-Sep-02 21:15:39

I loved my swing when I was young, I used it right up until I was 13 or so. We're going to buy our dd a swing that has a special baby seat for six mo plus, you can then add different seats and extend the legs so it's suitable as they grow up. I didn't like my slide as I get vertigo!

However, I have huge sympathy with monkey!

Re the grass, Enid's decking idea is good. Or, if you're not keen gardeners, you could replace the lot with plastic 'grass'. I love gardens myself and before dd came along I'd never envisage suggesting that but since we've had her I've learned the value of practicality over looks!

robinw Wed 18-Sep-02 22:23:06

message withdrawn

maryz Wed 18-Sep-02 22:31:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OuiOui Thu 19-Sep-02 11:50:48

wow - great ideas all round. We already have a deck area which leads out from the house and then it steps down to the aformentioned wet grass area.
Ionesmum - what's this "Plastic grass"??? - sounds interesting. Definitely not gardeners - keen or otherwise. Like the look of nature though. Also like the sound of the bark and railway sleepers. How do we start?

ionesmum Thu 19-Sep-02 14:24:17

Ouioui, I'm trying to think where I saw the fake grass. It's similar to the stuff that they used to have in greengrocers and it's used on roof gardens and so on. Try a builder's merchants or reclamation yard for railway sleepers and bark should be available from a garden centre.

Enid Thu 19-Sep-02 14:29:29

Do you mean Astroturf?

Or Treetops and other play equipment suppliers usually sell grass protection mats to go under the swing, we've got one although a bare patch of grass doesn't particularly offend me.

ionesmum Thu 19-Sep-02 14:35:19

That's the sort of stuff, Enid.

helenmc Thu 19-Sep-02 21:31:05

at the moment we have our old hiddeous green/yellow carpet under the swing to stop its getting muddy... trouble is the cat still thinks its in the lounge! But I have seen the playground bouncy 'tarmac' advertised some-where and thought about that.

robinw Fri 20-Sep-02 07:19:29

message withdrawn

Jane101 Fri 20-Sep-02 13:58:19

Hi everybody,

I've got a tiny garden and a 20 month old son who loves climbing (mainly to reach things he shouldn't have mind you). There's no way we've got room for a proper climbing frame, but I'm quite tempted by the Little Tikes "Wave Climber". Has anyone got one, and if so, what do you think of it and at what age did your child grow out of it?

maryz Fri 20-Sep-02 22:47:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

titchy Mon 23-Sep-02 12:31:09

Would just suggest a sand-pit for now - but think carefully before you put it on or near grass - at least half the sand will end up on the grass (mind you if you have a drainage problem you may not mind that!). Our sandpit is on the patio where spillage can easily be swept up. Early Learning Centre so a combined swing/climbing frame/slide with a net for small gardens which you may want to get for next year or the year after. DS at 18 months was quite happy to climb up dd's climbing frame, although I was none too happy about it!

Put down play bark (like normal bark but chunkier) for a safer landing.

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