As outdoor living booms in popularity, homeowners are finding smart design techniques to craft a space everyone in the family can enjoy. It doesn’t matter how big or small your backyard is, any sized outdoor space still has the potential to be the ultimate family hangout spot.

And whilst child-friendly design is paramount – these tips and tricks won’t jeopardise on aesthetics, outdoor entertaining and appeal.

Crafting a space that encourages your children to play, learn and develop is an important part of a family friendly design. Combined with comfy furnishings, space-smart strategies, safety considerations and entertaining made easy – it’s easy to design an outdoor patio area that has all the essentials for everyone to benefit from.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Utilise colour, patterns and texture

Children love it when all sensors are activated and colour, patterns and textures are a great way to get this ball rolling. Not only will it brighten up a tired looking outdoor space but the vibrant changes will make the outdoor area appealing for the little ones. Utilising a mix of colour, patterns and touchable textures can match perfectly with wood stains and help with camouflaging any spills and accidents for extra convenience too.

Use colour to marry the outdoors with the interior of your home for a seamless blend between the two worlds.

If the space is small, you can make it appear larger with multiple seating, playing and entertaining zones that are vamped up with colourful cushions, outdoor rugs and accessories.

2. Be sun smart

The best outdoor spaces are ones that can be enjoyed all year round. And if you have little ones wanting to play and enjoy it too – being sun smart is a vital safety consideration. Create a patio design that will serve as a secondary room for the whole family to relax in with the right roofing option to encourage protection regardless what the weather throws at you.

Patio designs can have retractable roofs, insulation and other trends to ensure you can enjoy the space without getting burnt, wet or uncomfortable. For homeowners wanting to boost their resale value of the property and craft an outdoor space that adapts to various lifestyles, investing in a well-designed patio can be the ultimate renovation project. In addition to a shaded patio area, utilise landscaping techniques with lush shade trees to keep cool in the warmer months.

3. Protect landscaping with steppers and bridges

One of the hardest things about having kids outdoors is them trampling all over your great garden beds! There are a few ways to handle this one and when you find one that works for you and your family; you’ll be able to have your polished landscape garden in a child-friendly zone.

Using stepping stones through garden beds or small bridges can create a child-friendly space easily. Most kids will love crossing or stepping over pathways crafted especially for them – there’s something thrilling and magical about it that will tap into child-play and adventures. Not to mention; it’ll encourage them to keep the plants safe. You can also create a designated garden bed for your children to use too. This will give them their own space to attend too, whilst keeping them distracted from the rest of the garden.

4. Create a seamless flow between the house and yard

Kid’s lives are generally pretty seamless. They love to run barefoot outside and when there’s a seamless flow between the house and the outdoor living area, your children will be more content merging between the two. And it’ll create an appealing blend between your interior space and backyard space.

Upgrading the back door to double glass doors is a great place to start. Specific outdoor lighting techniques will create a flow between the spaces too and where possible, utilise the same flooring material indoors and out for an uninterrupted blend. Having a sheltered patio or pergola area outside will help to merge the house and yard together and form a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors.

5. Carve ‘kid-friendly’ spaces

To encourage children to utilise the family-friendly outdoor space, you want to carve out specific areas for them to enjoy. Kids love a spot they can call their own and the more designated areas you can incorporate, the more they will feel inspired to learn, grow and play outdoors. Think a secret hideaway, a small treehouse they can deck out on their own or a round patio space with a few of their favourite things in it.

Carving one or two kid-friendly spaces will allow the whole family to get some much deserved RnR time. Don’t segment the spaces too much – just enough for them to feel comfortable in their own area whilst still being a part of the backyard as a whole. This will offer an opportunity to keep a close eye on little ones whilst you can enjoy entertaining with friends and family in an alternative space.

6. Use safe sustainable materials

When it comes to caring for your family, investing in safe materials that are durable to last the distance is a smart choice. Decorate the outdoor area with sustainable ingenuity, eco-friendly furniture and repurposed items that can be used in new and inventive ways.

Think recycled rubber tyres or rubber mulch for ground cover in the kid-friendly spaces. Rubber can be softer than traditional mulch for children to play on and recycled tyres can come in a variety of colours to appeal to young imaginations. Keep the outdoor space comfortable and relaxing by ‘greening’ the outdoor furniture. This will revamp the space to be eco-friendly, encourage an element of safety and take into consideration the Earth’s resources by doing your bit for the environment.

You’ll want your children to love the outdoor space as much as the rest of the family. So consider everyone’s needs to allow for flexibility, creative adventures and lush landscaping ideas everyone can enjoy.

Do you have any great tips to make a wonderful outdoor area for your family? Please share in the comments below.

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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  • Just starting my patio and what I have decided to do is not having a garden but using large pot with lots of colourful plants


  • Great ideas and very informative, thanks!


  • We created a ‘retreat’ area in the back corner of our house to replace the cubby house that has long gone. It’s a concreted space with shade sail and acapulco chairs that people are drawn too. I love to look from my kitchen to the back corner – we have a buddha plaque and plants surround the area. It’s my happy place.


  • Beautiful ideas ! Maybe one day they’re suitable for our family (my youngest has Down Syndrome and pulls out all flowers etc so at this point only grass is suitable for us).


  • Fantastic ideas – not necessarily for children, we all need some space.


  • What wonderful ideas, thanks so much.


  • alfresco areas are quite common these days, but I don’t agree that there has to be a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors. Some separation is also nice.


  • I love the outdoor burner. Is it a DYI or is it obtainable from somewhere


  • We have a huge greenhouse and only small back yard full of fruit trees – no lawn to speak of, but the produce from the greenhouse and all our fruit trees is great – all our grandchildren love visiting so that can eat what we produce. As we are older we only want to potter in our yard and this suits us fine.
    Great tips in this article for those starting off though.


  • its such a crime that i live in QLD but we have no outdoor entertaining area and no BBQ.
    All these years we have focused on fixing up the inside of the house.
    A welcoming outdoor area is something we really need to focus on.


  • Some fantastic tips. Thank you for sharing!


  • Good tips, thanks !


  • Love these ideas, now to just win lotto…


  • I love red solid bricks for patching areas it gives a heritage feel. Fairy and solar lights can also jazz up outside areas.


  • It is fantastic to see a childsafe landscaped garden. So often you see some that make no rpvision for kids at all. My only concern is the fire. Very tempting for small children to get too close. I would put a guard of some type around it with a childproof lock on it for safety until the children are definitely old enough to understand not to touch it or go to close. Bear in mind they can be sitting next to you and gone in a split second. It is easy to be distracted while talking to other people, tending to another child etc.


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