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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Key Design Features For A Child's Garden

is a modest family home on the northern edge of Scottsdale. Karie is extremely creative and her passion is evident in every corner. She has created many "rooms" and incorporated strong features and the garden is set to become a beautiful backdrop for many weddings to come, but it is the children's garden design I'll share in this post.

Healthy play and plenty of outdoor time is to be encouraged and regardless of the size of your yard, there are some key design features found here that could easily be adopted in your yard.

The property is exposed to some pretty windy extremes and hedges and wind breaks feature throughout the garden. These also serve to screen the play area and all the paraphernalia too.

It's comforting to have children playing within earshot but they enjoy being secreted away too. Having your own special space not right under parent eyes gives a feeling of independence and a freedom feeling. Many of the surrounding hedges have tunnels for entrance ways, something I adored as a child. A cubby house is also a great place for independent imaginary play AND a useful toy storage area. Using treated timber makes for a low maintenance yet sturdy structure.

Another essential in the garden area is a bike track. This one is a purpose laid cement path within another hedge enclosure but you could easily incorporate yours as part of your path structure, driveway and clothesline access. Note the interior bed is interesting with large rocks and hardy native grasses, soft but hardy agapanthus and bark mulched so that watering and trailing hoses are not required. The small trees are canopied high, providing some dappled sheltering cover but no eye hight hazards around the track. The bikes and scooters tend to have a "home" here, rather than be left lying around the yard as tripping hazards.

Between the bike track and the cubby house is a "moored" boat sand pit tied up at a "landing dock/jetty". Note the treated pine stepping stumps set off the "jetty". How could kids fail to engage in imaginative play. Again the area is also bark chipped and planted with different coloured flax clumps and drought tolerant succulents also soften corners and edges.

After all that, riding, swinging, digging, chasing....
is a quiet nook at the end of the "dock" for some time out, maybe some book reading and afternoon tea. A cosy place for a mum to knit and supervise from. 
A simple pagola style covered in wisteria also in keeping with the purple hues of the plantings throughout the play area.

But there is more!
A fairy walk with more secret paths winding beneath shady canopies.

Little fairy nests and bowers made from garden findings. A seasonal creative activity for the children every year,

Again the use of old mirrors extend the space and add mystery glimpses. 

Whimsical miniatures are a must in fairy gardens. Note the plantings perfect for shady places that fill the borders, also the lattice work and little garden iron-work edges that help to define the space. 

An old punch set glitters and reflects light in the gloomy undergrowth providing magical meeting places for fairies.

And another green alcove off the secret path where imagination takes flight.

Clever, creative touches that need not cost the earth.
Be inspired by the junk in your work shed and the items no longer used.

Old mirrors, some recycled bricks for paving, off cuts of lattice...
Visiting an open garden provides plenty of food for thought and we are so lucky gardeners like this participate in the Australian Open Garden scheme.
You can see more wonderful photos of Adawood here on a post by photographer, Belinda Fettke. It's called "You Have Cancer...Three Words You Never Want To Hear" and as you may guess there is more to this story and plenty more inspiration.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Empty Pickle Jar- My Resolution

I have been doing a lot of thinking about priorities. About time, family, friends and also myself. 
There will be some changes.
I'll keep my jobs and I will continue with my voluntary work with kidney health

I'm going to let go of the Growers Market 
I'm also stepping back from Living Better With Less.
There is every reason to believe that these things will go on without me just fine and the world will surely keep turning but it is time for me to shift my priorities and time effectiveness.
I am embracing my grandmother-hood-ness!
Teaching is like tossing pebbles onto a still pond.
In the last four years I have been gratified to have lost count of the ripples and I am grateful for the opportunities and the growth I have also gained.
Loving this suburban life.

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