Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Child Folk Outdoor Play Area - Part One

When we moved into our house our yard was nothing but flagstones and a few plants in oddly placed areas in an otherwise empty garden beside out house. Over the last five years we have done a lot of work in the yard but left most of the odd plants where they were because, well - we had two kids in the meantime and very little money to spend on outdoor beautification.

Recently, little K has taken to climbing behind one of the odd plants into a weird little area of vine roots, dirt and a dangerous window well. Despite several scraped legs, she persists. It got me thinking that I never really liked the plant in the first place - which got me thinking that I should dig up the small 4'x4' area and make it kid friendly. That led me on an inspirational search for what to put in that area.

We already have a heavy duty plastic climber found on craigslist several years ago so I knew I didn't want anything else big and plastic, especially an outdoor house. I'm of the mindset that if you give children everything they think they want two things occur - the first is that they don't want it anymore, and the second is the destruction of the creative process that got them to wanting it in the first place.

So what to do? I wanted to build an area that is open to interpretation and imagination and let the child folk be themselves in all their wonderful silliness. I also wanted a space that could be left outside to be weathered and worn and could get dirty too. I envisioned a little outdoor kitchen/ice cream stand/ shop/laboratory -essentially a space that offers the bones of play so that the young ones could fill in the rest. Oh and of course it has to be cheap, cheap, cheap too!
Too much to ask?

Here is the space in its original state - note the gas meter, virginia creeper roots that we want to keep, the window well and the pipes!

It took me forever to dig up the plant as I wanted to save the roots so that my neighbours could replant it.

Leveling the soil.

We purchased outdoor wood tiles from Ikea to use as a makeshift floor that would allow for water drainage. They can be cut into smaller tiles for little spaces and screwed together for stability.
Stay tuned for Part Two - kitchen design.
Thanks for stopping by.

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