Family-Friendly Garden Design: How To Grow A Garden For Kids And Adults

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by Bobex-73

Gardening with the family is rewarding and fun for everybody. Put a few family-friendly garden ideas into action, and your kids (and grandkids) will learn basic biology and the fundamentals of growing plants. In the process, they’ll understand where food comes from, and the importance of being a responsible steward of the environment.

Family-friendly garden design needn’t be expensive or complicated. Here are a few simple ideas to pique your creativity.

Family-Friendly Garden Ideas

Here are some great ideas to get everyone involved in the garden:

Worm Farming

Worm farming (vermicomposting) is easier than you may realize, and it’s a great way for the entire family to learn basic principles of composting. Start with a small closed bin, which is easier for kids to manage and won’t require a lot of space. Make sure the bin provides air circulation.

Begin with red wigglers, which you can purchase online if they aren’t available locally. Set up the bin with bedding, such as shredded newspaper, and provide a few veggie scraps to provide nutrients. Place the bin where temperatures are maintained between 50 and 80 F. (10-27 C.). Remember to keep the bedding moist, but never soggy, and to provide fresh food for the worms, but not too much. 

When the compost is deep, dark brown and the texture is relatively uniform, add it to potting mix or spread it on the surface. You can also sprinkle a little vermicompost in garden rows or transplant holes.

Butterfly Gardens

A family-friendly garden design that includes a haven for butterflies is easy and incredibly awarding. Just put in a few plants that attract butterflies, such as phlox, marigolds, zinnias, or petunias.

Create a spot for “puddling,” so the colorful visitors can replenish moisture and nutrients. To make a puddler, fill a shallow container, such as an old pie pan or plant saucer, with sand, then add water to keep the san damp. Include a couple of flat stones so the butterflies can warm their bodies as they bask in the sunlight.

Sweetness of Gardening

You can’t go wrong with fruit in the landscape, and a garden for kids and adults should include a few strawberry plants, as they’re simple to grow, easy to harvest, and delicious to eat. Raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, or even dwarf fruit trees are suitable for older kids. 

Garden for the Senses

A family-friendly garden design should delight all of the senses. Include a variety of blooming plants, such as sunflowers, nasturtiums, or zinnias, which come in a rainbow of colors and bloom all summer.

Kids enjoy touching soft, fuzzy plants like lamb’s ear or chenille plant. Herbs such as chocolate mint, dill, or lemon balm satisfy the sense of smell. (Mint plants are extremely invasive. You may want to plant them in a patio container to keep them contained).  

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