Lawns with Less Grass: Outdoor play spaces for children

We have been working to eliminate as much unnecessary grass as possible. 

If the grass isn't a space in the yard that is conducive to playing ball or some other purpose, I feel there is no need for grass which needs to be watered and mowed.

Instead, my goal is to make our yard a magical place for kids to grow and explore, even in the middle of the city.

So we added a small pond, lovingly referred to as a puddle by my neighbor, and lots of plantings.

Perennial beds, vegetable gardens, fruit trees and bushes, and paths give us lots of alternatives to grass.

Butterflies, birds, rabbits, hummingbirds, bees, and even deer come to visit our little oasis in the city.

I drew much inspiration from "A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children" by Molly Dannenmaier.  The photos are incredible.  The ideas unique and magical. I wanted to jump into each page and live there. 

The book provided ideas for creating the essential elements of an outdoor playspace including, water, dirt, sand, creatures, and places for climbing, pretending, hiding, picking, moving, learning, imagining.

Because we live on a corner lot, with lots of front yard and hardly any back yard, all our gardens are front yard gardens.  So it was wonderful to find a book all about growing in the front yard instead of the traditional back yard garden. 

I love the concept of The Welcoming Garden by Gordon Hayward, with gardens that call out an invitation to enter and gather instead of being seen as barriers or perimeter borders.

Here are the books which have been useful in thinking about how to create our outdoor environment for children and adults, keeping in mind low-maintenance goals while being on a small plot of land in which all our space is in the front.  That's a tall order!  These are some great books to help.


Pat Lentz said...

Thanks for the book list. I'll definitely check them out.

Quon_mom said...

@Pat Lentz
I'm glad you found the list helpful!

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