8 Ways to Child-Proof Your Garden in Newcastle

Here’s how to let your little ones safely enjoy, and make the most of, your garden

Gardens and outdoor areas provide limitless opportunities for kids to get into all kinds of mischief, especially in the places that the adults don’t bother to look. That’s why it’s so important to go and check your garden to make sure it is safe for the kids who will use it. The team here at Hunter Patios & Additions has put together some important and helpful tips to achieve a child-proof garden in Newcastle - just click on each item to find out more:

  1. Set up some zones
  2. Choose child-friendly materials in designing the garden
  3. Cushion those surfaces
  4. Avoid poisonous plants
  5. Control garden pests
  6. Watch the kids like a hawk
  7. Bring in some shade.
Set up some zones

1.    Set up some zones

Implement zoning in the garden with safety in mind. Imagine concentric rings that radiate from the house.

The 1st area, the closest to the house, should be the most secure. This is where the kids can be easily seen from the house without needing to be with them. This may also be the best area to have your favourite plants and garden features, making sure that the kids can still share the space, of course! Do not go overboard in styling the garden – you don’t want the space to feel exclusive to the adults. Putting a playhouse or den helps share the space with kids.

Choose child-friendly materials in designing the garden

2.    Choose child-friendly materials in designing the garden

Choose the materials carefully to ensure the safety of your little ones and your visitors alike. Beware of hard or sharp materials like spiked fences, jagged rocks, or metal finishes. Natural options usually look more pleasant as compared to plastic and they are also more environmentally friendly.

  • Timber sleepers are an excellent choice. They are safe, multifunctional and soft enough to blend in several garden areas as well as being high enough to protect a toddler from the border when stacked. They can also serve as perch or seats for both children and adults.
  • Smooth pebbles, turf, and wood chips work well for a shallow stream.
  • External porcelain as paving material is ideal for young families. The textured surface provides a slip-resistant feature. It’s also non-permeable, which means that it’s nearly impossible to stain, and the marks can get easily washed off the surface.
Cushion those surfaces

3.    Cushion those surfaces

It’s worth exploring how to cushion the surfaces to reduce the risk of damage due to accidents and falls, especially if kids love to run around the area or are just learning to toddle around.

Cut back any plants and trees with sharp branches. Consider using alternatives such as hedges, ground covering plants and soft plantings to serve as barriers against possibly harmful hard scapes and garden beds. Some plants that serve as great cushions are listed below:

  • Woolly Bush (Adenanthos) – softest and prettiest plant to touch.
  • Zoysia, Dymondia, and Dichondra – can be walked on without getting destroyed.
  • Synthetic grass – may not be as lovely and soft as the real thing. Still, these are quite useful for areas where the grass is difficult to grow.

If you are having trouble deciding on any particular details of your patio, just get in contact with  us at Hunter Patios & Additions and we will be there to take out the hard work for you. We can even do the installation for you!

Soften those edges

4.    Soften those edges

Some sharp edges or tripping hazards are not detected until it’s already too late. Search for hard objects that are at the kid’s eye level. This includes retaining walls or garden furniture. If there are wooden objects like sandpit or garden bed edging, soften the edges with a chainsaw. This way, the kids won’t get accidentally hit if they pass by.

Avoid poisonous plants

5.    Avoid poisonous plants

Look out for prickly or possibly toxic plants that kids might touch. Avoid varieties like Oleander, cacti, chillies, hydrangeas, agave, azaleas, and some succulents. Consulting a landscape designer or local garden centre is recommended if there are doubts about the plant’s variety.

Control garden pests

6.    Control garden pests

Knowledge is power, so it is important to be aware of the local harmful insects, bugs and wildlife – especially in NSW. Research what they look like and the suggested first aid for each species. Here’s how we recommend you prepare for unpleasant wildlife encounters:

  • Prepare an identification chart, summary of first aid, and emergency numbers.
  • Watch out for wasp nests.
  • Make sure to keep the little ones still if a bee visits the garden. Bees are very unlikely to sting but they can do if they feel threatened. Bee stings can also cause an allergic reaction, so It may be helpful to prepare an emergency EpiPen at home.
  • Remove any natural matter that is either dying or rotten. A good example is fruits that fall from trees and decompose on the ground. These items will lure in wasps and the like. Children can also pick these up by mistake, thinking they are tasty treats.
  • Prune fruits trees regularly. Watch out for fruit-bearing trees that are already overhanging on the fence-line.
  • Consider putting up a bug hotel in the backyard. Having the good bugs will drive the bad ones away. Making a safe refuge for the correct type of insects will do this job.
Watch the kids like a hawk

7.    Watch the kids like a hawk

This seems obvious, but we must say it regardless. Babies and young kids enjoy investigating their surroundings. But unfortunately, they have little to no understanding of the dangers around them. Close supervision is essential, although this doesn’t mean not allowing them to explore.

The goal is to make sure that the toddlers don’t put anything in their mouths, trip up too much, wander into unsafe zones or hurt themselves on objects. Try not to hover too closely. Having their parents nearby makes them feel safe. However, allowing them to explore builds up their confidence.

Bring in some shade

8.    Bring in some shade

UV rays can still sneak through even on the gloomiest days, especially in Australia, therefore, putting additional shade in the garden like a pergola will serve as a safe outdoor space that kids can use the whole year. This is highly recommended if the garden has play equipment like a mud kitchen, sandpit, or cubby house.  A light shade or a big shady tree protects the kids from UV rays. They can play for hours without their health becoming at risk.

Child-Proof Your Newcastle Garden with Hunter Patios and Additions

A child-friendly garden is not equivalent to stuffing it with toys - safety should always be the top priority and, with enough space to allow imaginations to run wild, sometimes, simply being creative with the layout is all it takes for the kids to enjoy.

If you need help building shaded areas like a deck for your garden, building the patio or deck itself, or are seeking ways to have your garden space renovated, you’ve come to the right place. Hunter Patios and Additions can build decks or extend the entertaining areas in your home. In this way, the kids can have fun without getting harmed. Call us at 02 4966 8488 or email info@hunterpatios.com.au for enquiries. Alternatively, click here to send us a message now and we will contact you right back.

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