Family: Grana, Granpa, Brenna (Mama) & Kellen (28 months)
Location: Annandale, VA
My son and I recently had to move back home to live with my parents. Since we'll only be here for about 6 months and there's only one (very active) toddler and three adults using the space, we didn't want to do anything overwhelming or permanent. On the other hand, we're outside all the time and the space needed to be toddler-friendly.
My parents have a wonderful front yard. Tons of space, great shade, great landscaping. The adults (including my two adult siblings and friends) use it constantly, for soccer, bocce ball, badminton or just laying in the grass and relaxing. Whatever Tacky Toddler Things we acquired had to be portable, hide-able or at least not hideous. I think we succeeded!
In addition to the flower beds, there are two vegetable gardens and Granpa and Kellen work hard at keeping everything growing. They have a worm farm in the shed and one of Kellen's favorite things is to let the worms free in the dirt. For Father's Day, Granpa got a toddler-scarecrow to help keep the chipmunks away.
I found a playcube and playhouse on Craigslist and repainted the house to match the big house. We placed it by one of the vegetable gardens, up in the trees like an elf house. It's customized with the family dog in the dog house and laminated family pictures on the inside. The playcube migrates around the yard as needed. On hot sunny days, the beach umbrella, sprinkler and pool come out. Kellen gets his very own waterpark and the grass and plants get watered! I get to lounge nearby with fruit and a towel at the ready.
On rainy days (or when the bugs are too much), Kellen hangs out in the garage with his dump trucks at the 'quarry'. We bought a bag of pea gravel and a cheap baby pool and it's great! The gravel sweeps up quickly and Kellen loves it. Grana and Kellen regularly cover the driveway and slate sidewalk with chalk art and Kellen loves helping cut flowers and pick herbs for dinner. He's also in charge of watering plants and scaring the squirrels away from the birdfeeders.
The end result is a space that is comfortable for everyone, from the 2 year old to the 52 year old and all of us in between.
Thanks Brenna! There's no reason to go inside with an outdoor space like this!
MY GREAT OUTDOORS SUBMISSION FORM