At first glance, splash pads might seem like an iffy choice for the backyard; public splash pads tend heavily towards a palm tree and primary colors aesthetic, and the prospect of a private splash pad sounds extravagant and spendy. Think again.
Actually, splash pads can be beautiful and make efficient use of space and resources. Marcos and Amanda's gorgeous splash pad (first photo) was completely DIY. If you have DIY ambitions but need some help on the technical end then you can look into DIY kits. If you're already looking at professional hardscaping then your contractor should be able to integrate splash pad function and design with your plan, creating a multipurpose space that works for your family long-term.
Private splash pads have been growing in popularity for a number of reasons; they are a great small space solution for major outdoor fun (they can be as small as 100 sf), and are cheaper, safer, and far more water efficient than maintaining a private pool. We frequent a public splash pad, but got major splash pad envy when we saw these:
1. Marcos and Amanda's Florida splash pad
2. Bobby's backyard splash pad in Palm Springs
3. Residential splash pad by Vintage Custom Remodeling & Construction in Houston via Houzz
4. Backyard splash pad by Splash Zone
5. SplashGround Self-Contained Splash Pad Unit
(Images: as linked above)