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Space for the active family

By Hosea Omole | May 12th 2016

If your family is the active kind, you need a backyard with games facilities to soak up their excess energy. The problem is that you may not want to turn your backyard into a mini stadium. You want these facilities to be discreetly integrated with other elements of the landscape to create a beautiful, but functional backyard.

Mini courts

You do not need to take out your lawn and replace it with a large hard surface for tennis or basketball. Instead, look to existing hard surfaces such as the parking lot and find creative ways to modify them so that they can double up as courts. You will often find that all you need to do is mount the rim or nets and do a bit of marking and you are done.

Alternatively, by planting grass that can take trampling, you can turn part of your lawn into a mini court for badminton or volleyball. The outer dimensions of the court can be marked inconspicuously with landscape timber laid flush with the ground. Set this way, they don’t interfere with mowing or cause anyone to trip, yet they remain as clear markers.

Also, you can temporarily make these borders or official court lines bolder with garden lime, gypsum, or even flour whenever need arises. Make sure you do not use any substance that will harm the grass.

Children Games

Many games such as hopscotch simply need a small hard surface. To make such surfaces less conspicuous, you can locate them at the perimeter of the yard and plant around it so that it is partially hidden behind shrubs and trees. You can also surround them with selected evergreen ground covers to soften their hard edges.

Existing hard surfaces may offer solutions. The surface of an underground tank, for instance, is enough to accommodate many small games. Markings can be done by chalk or even permanently painted if you do not mind seeing them.

Sand and Accessories

Children will also delight in a timber-edged sandbox or a sunken sand pit which can be turned into a flower bed when they eventually outgrow building sand castles.

Equipped with the right play accessories, sand pits and boxes offer a wide range of play options for young children while providing them with a soft landing in case of falls.

Go for movable play accessories which can be kept away in a store when not in use. That way, you can still have an attractive clutter free backyard when play is not in session and a backyard sports field for your active family.

It is also a good idea to provide an area for refreshing after a heavy workout session or just a vantage point from where the less active adults can enjoy watching the sporting action. A strategically placed deck, patio or gazebo can provide the perfect setting for doing so as you sip a cold drink on a hot Saturday afternoon.

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