Some of us are lucky enough to buy a house already equipped with the ideal garden. More often, however, it happens that you have to reinvent your green space by imagining it with different plants and characteristics, and the company can be more complex than expected, especially if it is the first time. Often we introduce the elements – a porch in the sun, a pavilion on the back, a bathtub in a nacosto nacosto – considering them as singles, simply where there is space, without thinking about the overall impact of the garden. Many have the same attitude in the choice of vegetation, which is often acquired little by little according to personal tastes and fashion of the moment, without considering how it will blend next to the existing one or what it will look like in a dozen or so years. If we were to judge by the number of television programs and manuals dedicated to the subject, we would all have beautiful gardens, organized and cultivated properly, with comfortable paths, practical patios with access to the kitchen and pretty pergolas for good and bad weather, in addition to a magnificent selection of plants to guarantee shape and color throughout the year. But in reality, naturally, the gardens usually evolve little by little, because starting a new project, especially in an already existing garden, it is a far from simple undertaking. The variety of skills needed – from farming techniques to do-it-yourself, from architecture to design – can easily curb enthusiasm, as does the idea of the confusion that causes, by force of things, every improvement work of the house. Deciding the furnishing elements and establishing the most suitable plants for the garden and the project would be in itself a pleasant task, if there were no numbers to complicate things: in fact dozens of styles of canopies and pavilions, as well as literally thousands of plants , make the choice more difficult.
In the past, the family gardens had an extremely simple scheme, with a main lawn area, a swing, a sand pit and some sturdy plants, capable of resisting the ball. Today, the needs of a family have become more complex. We would all like to use the outdoor space to relax, entertain friends, work and play, but we would also like to have a place where our children, aware of the problems of the environment, can learn about the many plant and animal species that live in the city. Of course we also want the garden to be beautiful, both a continuation of the house and not requiring too much care. Perhaps we ask too much, but I believe that with a good project it is possible to create an exciting and functional space, capable of meeting the needs of everyone.
A family garden must be flexible. Of course, the smaller it is, the more difficult it will be to use it as you would like. If you subdivide it in too many parts it could be artifact, not very functional and claustrophobic. Instead of inserting everything that comes to mind, try to create areas of satisfactory size. Imagine you are a child and think about how you would like to use the garden. To play football and ride my children go to the park; in the home garden, on the other hand, they climb where they can, swing, cultivate, draw, play, observe nature. When planning the garden structure, remember that it is not just a playground, and should be suitable for both children and adults. After all, children grow up and with the passage of time they always have different needs. It will therefore have to be a flexible space. Although often the lawn may seem the most obvious and economical choice for a family garden, if it is very small it will be difficult to cure and use it. In winter it turns into a puddle of mud, making the garden inaccessible. In my garden there are paved areas – some with slate slabs, others with wooden slats – that make it usable all year round and I do not have to scold the kids because they ruin the lawn or come home covered with mud! All the successful gardens exploit the height, using both plants and architectural structures, to create interest at eye level. On the more spacious platform, located at the back, I built a pergola with galvanized pipes to introduce a higher element into the garden, but also to hang tires to be used as swings, on which children love to climb and play with their neighbors’ children. In summer, the plants hide the platform from view, which becomes an intimate space. If I had older children I would keep them lower, but I think it is important for children to have a place where they do not feel observed all the time. When they are older, I will grow vines on the arbor and create a shaded area in which to sit.
Sometimes it is not easy to create a garden without risk for children’s games and at the same time pleasant and attractive for relaxation and social life of adults. In the attempt to satisfy the needs of the whole family, in fact, you could find yourself with a series of disharmonic spaces that can not merge into a convincing whole.
Strengths in a garden project for the family
- A spacious patio and lawn for play and relaxation.
- A separate playground for a swing or a slide.
- A layout that meets everyone’s needs open.
- A safe storage area for tools.
- A small child-proof fountain.
- Harmless plants that guarantee attractiveness throughout the year.
- Easy maintenance. ‘Possibility to remotely control children.
To be able to keep an eye on children it is important to allocate a clearly visible space to the games, which often means having a good view from the kitchen window. If the area is not grassy, you can either floor it with wood or cover it with wood chips. Equip it with a slide, a swing or a frame to climb on.
The possibility of having fresh fruit and vegetables transforms a small vegetable garden into one of the most appreciated outfits for every garden. Make sure that it is protected from possible damage caused by balloons and bicycles, and that you have a gate with child-resistant closure.
A patio for guests
Entertaining friends and family in the cool of the garden on summer days is a sure cause for enjoyment. Place the patio near the house for convenient access to the outside, and cultivate various scented plants nearby, on the ground or in pots; just a few steps or a gentle breeze to immediately enjoy the fragrance.
In a family-sized garden you tend to exclude the pools of water in order not to take risks with the children, but building a fountain in which water is out of reach of children will allow you to remedy the problem. Use an underground vessel or basin as a reservoir, and place the chosen ornamental element (an overflowing urn, a grindstone, or a stone) on the outside, resting it on steel frames on top of the tank. A submerged pump, hidden in the basin, will serve to let the water flow in the desired direction.
Pre-drilled grindstone, vase or ornamental stone to let the pump tube pass Preformed basin or basin Sandbag – about 27 kg Fine soil Concrete bricks or blocks Reinforced bars or strong metallic mesh, 60 x 60 cm Fine mesh electro-welded mesh 60 x 60 cm Fine mesh garden net, 60 x 60 cm Submersible pump Connecting ring for pipes 1 m flexible hose Pebbles, slabs or gravel to decorate
- Dig a hole for the basin, level the bottom with a layer of compact sand about 2 cm, place the container and make sure it is stable and does not protrude from the ground level. Fill the lateral cavities with the resulting earth and compact it.
- Place the reinforcement bars or the sturdy metal mesh over the pelvis, allowing it to protrude at least 15 cm from the edges. If you have chosen a heavy element, such as a millstone, you will need additional support, in the form of piles of bricks or concrete blocks. Careful to leave enough space under the grinding wheel for the pump tube.
- Connect one end of the pipe to the stone and the other to the pump. Slide the power cord through a hole that you will have to drill just below the edge of the basin, to prevent contact with the overhanging wire mesh.
- Fill the water basin and operate the pump. Establish the flow of the fountain with the appropriate regulator.
- Place two pieces of fine mesh welded mesh over the fence to prevent stones and pebbles from falling into the basin. If you use fine gravel or pebbles, roll out additional sections of the garden net.
- Cover the wire mesh with stones, pebbles, slabs or gravel.
The ideal plants on this garden ptoject
The project employs shrubs, perennial and herbaceous plants of few pretenses and low costs. Risk-free for children and animals, as well as selected for vigor and resistance to accidental damage, they do not have particular cultivation requirements, apart from a minimum drainage, and are easy to maintain.
Also read: TYPES OF GARDENS: Mediterranean Garden.