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Backyard Design: Creating a Kid-Friendly Outdoor Space

Have you and your spouse spent time, money and effort creating your dream backyard, complete with an outdoor kitchen island, elegant pergola, custom deck, gorgeous garden and fountain, or other features that make it your very own paradise? If kids have entered the picture, maybe it’s time to make your backyard a bit more child-friendly. This can be accomplished quite easily, without sacrificing the outdoor living space you’ve reserved for the adults. Here are five of our favorite ideas for play areas:

Swing Sets: Backyard play structures are one of the most popular and well-established products when it comes to kids and outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking for a simple slide and swings combination, or something more elaborate with towers, a rock-climbing wall, a tire swing and/or a tree house, we recommend going with a wooden cedar swing set. These playsets are typically the safest, strongest and highest quality. Plus, they look beautiful against a plush green lawn or a rubber mulch surface. As you shop around for a swing set be sure to look for one that incorporates heavy duty hardware and accessories, as well as durable assembly techniques (like the thru-bolt construction used on Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets). Remember, a swing set is an investment you’re making for your family, so you’ll want to choose one that they kids will use as they grow.

Ziplines and Slacklines: If your little one just can’t get enough adventure, a zip line is a must! A zipline will send your child sailing through the yard, and a slackline will allow him or her to walk as if on a tightrope (although the nylon webbing of the slackline provides a flatter surface, one that helps prevent foot rolls). Your children’s overall athletic skills, including their balancing abilities and core strength, will likely improve with both. Slackline and zipline kits are easy to install. They require two healthy trees and some space in your backyard. An addition that’s both economical and exciting!


Basketball Hoops: Are your kids at the age where they’re really starting to enjoy competitive sports? If their favorite is shooting hoops, a home basketball system is something to consider. We recommend in-ground or wall-mounted basketball hoops for their sturdiness. Goalsetter is our favorite because the product offers glass backboards (3/8″ competition style, and fully-tempered for a great ball response), adjustable height, and a ground anchor hinge system for long-lasting stability. Plus, Goalsetter’s in-ground systems are easy to take with you when you move. All you need is a new ground anchor. These hoops will keep your son or daughter active for hundreds of hours to come throughout the childhood and teen years. And if mom and dad are basketball lovers, too, this purchase is even more worthwhile.

Trampolines: There are few things kids love more than a trampoline. Trampolines are great for children of all ages, from little tots who have just started walking to teens (who often spend hours in and around the trampoline, using it as a “hangout” for friends). We are big fans of Springfree trampolines because their design does not use the traditional springs and steel frame at the jump surface. Instead, these trampolines use strong, fiberglass rods as part of their SoftEdge Trampoline Technology. This means your kids will never come in contact with a hard surface as they bounce to their heart’s content.

Playhouses: A playhouse does not have to be something your youngsters use only when they are little toddlers, and it does not have to have the typical plastic look that you associate with the ones sold at big box stores. It’s easy to find a kids playhouse that matches your home’s style (Victorian, cottage, log cabin, etc.) and colors. Or, you could indulge your little one and let him or her have some say in the design (like the playhouse pictured below)! Either way, our playhouses are simply gorgeous, inside and out. They really add to the look of any backyard. And as far as your children are concerned, playhouses make for a great “kids-only” area — just like a tree house or fort.