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Making a garden child friendly

(16 Posts)
MatLeaveForever Mon 11-Jul-11 14:36:29

I'm considering buying a house which doesn't have a child friendly garden - with the intention to change it if we decide to buy it. It's full of shrubs, plants, flowers and pebble paths and is very pretty but not the lawn that I wanted for my baby to grow up and play in. It also has a small pond that would need to be filled in. It's a medium sized garden at the back of a 3 bed detached, sorry don't have dimensions!

I was just wondering if anyone has completely transformed their garden before and how long it took and most importantly how much it cost, as I have no idea! I'm in Greater Manchester. Thanks!

NerfHerder Mon 11-Jul-11 14:44:18

The main costs in landscaping are labour and hard landscaping materials (ie stone).

Would it be easy to fill in the pond, and put a lawn over that? Might save you having to alter too much (no idea how big the pond is...)

You are probably looking at £10K (plus) to completely redo it, depending on what you mean by medium-sized wink

MovingAndScared Mon 11-Jul-11 15:03:01

we redid our garden -its was a small ish - it didn't cost anything like 10K but we did most of it ourselves - we got someone to take out some trees and someone to lay the turf -my DH put in some decking and did a bit of hard lanscaping - probably about 1k tops including money spend on plants
you could get some landscaping firms to give a quote which would give you the top end price

7to25 Mon 11-Jul-11 18:00:36

Why not offer the shrubs free to anyone that would take them away?
somebody may be grateful for them and then that is half the job done.

MatLeaveForever Mon 11-Jul-11 18:24:24

Thanks for your suggestions - there are a couple of pics of the garden here which could help! And the pond is very small ;)

GrendelsMum Mon 11-Jul-11 20:21:10

I think you might find that the garden looks quite a lot smaller with a single stretch of lawn than it does with the current flower borders. I think the garden is actually rather small, and that it's been well laid out to make the most of it. Are you thinking of putting the whole lot down to lawn?

It looks as if it would be fairly quick to turn it back into lawn - take out the plants (I agree the suggestion about offering them on Freecycle or perhaps to a local school / charity who would like a ready made garden full of plants), rake up the gravel / pebbles from the paths (again, you could offer this on Freecycle to someone who would bag it up and take it away), and then shove turf over the whole lot. I see there's a shady paved seating area at the far end and I think you should definitely keep that. If the pond has a liner, then you can either remove it or punch a lot of holes in it to make sure that water drains freely through it, and then fill in the hole with top soil to lay turf on to.

You need to wait until Sept / Oct to lay the turf. This has to be done at specific times of year. If the garden's shady, you should choose appropraite turf, and make sure it's hard wearing for children to play on.

You could explain to the current owners that they're more than welcome to take all their plants, pond, paths and pebbles when they move - they may think you're completely mad, but they'd be the easiest people to take them away.

I would imagine it should be fairly cheap, as all you want is turf and someone to lay it.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 11-Jul-11 20:35:05

Are you sure you want/need a lawn? My friend - garden designer, two boys, no lawn - says they have got far more use from their garden because it has no lawn, as 10 minutes after rain they can play on the hard surfaces, while grass would still be too wet to play on.

I agree that gravel could be a nuisance with a baby, though.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 11-Jul-11 20:38:52

And how about installing a safety cover on the pond, rather than filling it in? In a few years it could be lovely for your child to watch tadpoles in it.

moomaa Mon 11-Jul-11 20:46:00

Looks a fairly straight forward job. I would just start taking it all out but if money is short do it carefully and you will be able to reuse lots of things like the paving slabs or sell them on cheap cycle or save yourself a tip run and put them on free cycle.

Some of the plants would look good in pots on a patio or in the front garden.

echt Mon 11-Jul-11 22:46:01

You do not need to fill in the pond.

Get thickest gauge rebar and put this over the pond, making sure it comes well over edges. Secure with big croquet hoops of thick metal, drive into soil a good foot. In this way you get to keep the pond, plants will grow through, and the frogs will be happy. I've seen this done, and it's not ugly.

Top grade rebar can take an adult's weight.

MatLeaveForever Tue 12-Jul-11 07:35:56

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, all great. I still think I'd prefer a lawn but maybe we could just cover the pond rather than fill it. Now I just need to convince my husband to make an offer on the house - I don't feel like the garden is a deal breaker anymore so thanks ladies! smile

Chestnutx3 Tue 12-Jul-11 13:07:53

I think its a lovely but small garden and would look much smaller laid to lawn, its never going to be a kick the ball round garden due to its size. Lots of effort has gone into it, I would partially turf it, maybe where the pond is. If its shady the lawn may not work well no matter if you buy the right turf/seed.

Fizzylemonade Tue 12-Jul-11 14:11:56

My friend's entire garden is blocked paved with a raised flower bed in the middle and planting round the outside.

The advantage is the children ride their bikes/scooters/little tikes cars round it in a circuit and you can go on it when it is wet.

My beautiful lawn (inherited with the house) looks trashed as the children play football on it and run around on it. If my garden wasn't sloped I would seriously consider paving it in some way.

Bad points of a lawn - continual mowing, grass stains on trousers, muddy when wet, needs watering in summer when it is too dry.

JumpJockey Tue 12-Jul-11 14:28:38

I've seen a suggestion to make the pond into a sandpit, which seems like a good idea as long as there aren't too many cats in the area!

We rejected a house that would otherwise have ticked about 80% of our boxes because the garden was very much like the one you've got there - not really child friendly, and we'd have felt like utter heels for destroying a lot of work that someone had put into it. Is there a park nearby for the more active/destructive kind of play...?

JumpJockey Tue 12-Jul-11 14:29:38

NB sorry, don't want that to sound rude about your plans to change the garden - for us the it was one of several non-child-friendly features, not the deal breaker.

MatLeaveForever Tue 12-Jul-11 17:51:37

Thanks again for the new messages - I understand the negatives of having a lawn however at the moment we only have a small courtyard garden and I'd love a lawn to be able to lie on in the summer, so for me as well as for my daughter! I know it would be a shame to change it when it looks nice as it is, but the other house we're considering has a small kitchen and extending that would cost more money than changing a garden - just trying to work through the compromises. The garden is bigger in real life than it looks on the pictures so I think we could change it and still keep some of the nice seating areas etc. I'm getting carried away with it and we haven't even offered on it yet....

Anyway thanks again for giving me lots to think about!

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