This post is brought to you in collaboration with Thomsons Outdoor Pine.
With summer officially just days away, it's time to begin preparing for some wonderful long days spent outdoors. The warmer months offer ample opportunities to spread out and take in the season. Bring it on! To make this a relaxing reality, there's most likely a little ground work to cover for all of us.
There's nothing like getting the kids outside for a little healthy play to shake off all of that winter dust. Likewise, spring and early summer are an excellent time to get your garden and outdoor entertaining areas (even kids!), in shape for the hottest days to come. A little planning and work now, will hopefully see you (and your children), relaxing and enjoying some of the pending heat in suitable surrounds over the holiday season.
So while the air is cool and the sun is warm, it's a good time now, to write up a list of must-dos and plans for the summer you envisage for your family on your very own turf. If you are planning to host a Christmas event or just looking to reverse the havoc of winter in your surrounds, get thinking and work on your goals now, well before the heatwave hits.
Here's a list of considerations you may find helpful for restoring or transforming your garden and entertaining areas, into fully-functional spaces, while keeping in mind the fun factor and assistance of your kids too.
Garden goals: Whether it's just a case of pruning and maintaining what you already have, or totally redesigning your outdoors areas altogether, get things into action now.
We've found our kids to be very helpful when it comes to collaborating with us, to clean up our own garden and outdoor living areas. Kids are an endless source of inspiration and a fountain of ideas when it comes to planning a whole new landscape. Get your kids employed in the tidying and tossing of rubbish and garden mess. Cleaning up areas filled with old play things, safe building waste and garden matter is quite enjoyed by children of all ages, especially with that little incentive known as pocket money!
Plan an outdoor entertaining area overhaul: Extend your cleaning and maintenance overhaul to your outdoor entertaining areas too. If you have a balcony, give it a good spruce up, starting with a thorough clean. Kids love to get wet, so invite them to hose down and scrub these areas till they sparkle. (We like to give the younger kids paint brushes and let them 'paint' these areas with water. It's a bit of fun for them and a job ticked off the list for us!)
Older kids will enjoy using garden tools such as brooms, rakes and even pressurised water cleaners with some adult guidance.
Think about exactly what you want to cultivate in your outdoor space: While the cleaning and maintenance is in full swing, start thinking about your end goals for your yard.
Ask and listen to your kids for their own ideas about what makes a great outdoor space for families in general. No doubt another kid they know has a wonderful outdoor play space that they never stop talking about! Chances are, your kids will want as much fun and games crammed into their outdoor area as possible.
Consider installing timber decks to create an ultimate outdoor retreat great for family gatherings and summer entertaining. Companies like Thomsons Outdoor Pine offer custom designed decks tailored to suit your style and preference.
You may also start planning areas for a sandpit, an inflatable pool, outdoor sports play and room for bikes and scooters.
We ourselves are currently in the process of clearing our own backyard for a brand new trampoline when our funds allow it. The communal family dream of this has seen our kids chipping in nicely to assist with the dismantling of an old garden bed, when asked.
Need versus Want: As you clean, tidy and develop your ideal space together, consider items such as outdoor furnishings. Does your current seating accommodate all the members of your family well? Can you afford to upgrade a few items? Scout around your local classifieds for freebies or outdoor furniture bargains if the budget is tight, or overhaul your space with a new furniture setting if dollars are not a problem.
With Christmas coming fast, having an attractive and functional space in which to relax and entertain is a top priority for many. If your budget is tight, look at creative ways you can upgrade what you already have. (I have a Pinterest board you might find helpful here.)
Plant a garden: Look at your garden's trees and plants closely. Are any blocking your views? Are any of your trees dangerous?
You might as well like what you see in your own yard so make your garden, (whatever its size), the focal point for your family this summer. Research what plants thrive in sunny positions, shady positions or flower in the warmer months. Make that vegetable garden you always dreamed of. Invest in some plants that are to be planted in strategic areas or that alternatively thrive in pots.
Potted plants in particular can make an enormous difference to any area in terms of appeal, and the cost can be surprisingly minimal. Furthermore, let your kids design and cultivate their own dream gardens - even a simple potted one will help to keep your children entertained outdoors this summer.
Are you happy with your outdoor space?
Do your kids enjoy helping out in the garden?
Are you planning on entertaining outdoors this summer?