Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Dream Garden For My Family

Dh and I are incredibly proud of our garden.  When we moved in to this house 12 years ago, the garden was just a patch of bare earth, not even rotivated or fenced off from our neighbours.  Dh set to work and transformed it into a fantastic family garden for ds1 and later dd1 when she arrived.  We spent many happy hours out there with the children and as our family expanded, the garden evolved too of course.  We added further borders, trees to make it more private and the children had a swing then a climbing frame and latterly we grassed over the bark play area and removed all the play equipment so that they could have space to run around.

Our garden, looking beautiful in Summer 2012

Once the twins arrived, our garden wasn't really very child friendly any more and there was not a lot for them to play with.  I felt bad about this and decided to get them a swing which was a great success!

Ds3 swings for the first time!

We haven't lavished much attention on our garden in the last year or so - dh has returned to work in the city centre and this extra time commuting, especially in the summer, means that he has less time to tend to his beloved garden.  When I saw that Tots100 were running another of their super competitions for bloggers to become play ambassadors (idly wonders whether the winner will be required to host a party serving Ferrero Rocher) for Activity Toys Direct, with a top prize of £750 to spend on your garden, how could I refuse to enter?

Growing up I was always playing in the garden wherever we lived, and although I like to think my children are the same, they really are not, favouring gaming over gardening any day of the week!  My favourite thing in our family garden was a Wendy House that my dad made for me out of wooden packing crates.  I can still see and smell it now when I close my eyes!  It had a fitted carpet (which often got damp and hosted large amounts of earwigs!) and a sliding perspex window with red gingham curtains held up on a small length of curtain wire.  It had shelves running round the top of the inside and cup hooks on which I hung the tiny china cups from my dolls' tea set.  The outside was painted white with black beams rather like a mock tudor house!  It was so special, none of my friends had anything like it!  My dad was a really practical man and could turn his hand to making this kind of thing very easily.  I like to think that if he was still here now he would happily make something similar for my children, but very sadly he isn't and neither dh or myself are really practical in that respect.

My garden makeover would therefore include a play house for the twins to play in.  I have my eye on the rather lovely looking TP Toys Forest Lodge 2 (I wish it were big enough for me!).  Our garden isn't huge so this would not only serve as a play house but also has a sand pit underneath and a slide!.  I can't sew curtains so I would deck it out with some beautiful bunting instead and of course a dolls' tea set too!

Beautiful Multi Purpose TP Toys Forest Lodge 2

Not quite like mine was, but perfect for tea parties with dolls (

I love bunting, so pretty and colourful (

As far as the rest of the garden makeover is concerned, well that's easy!  Our fence is falling down so I'd fix that - not exciting but the trellis that is attached to that fence was something my dad made before he passed away and so I'm keen to keep it supporting the beautiful honeysuckle that grows down that side of the garden.  Once I'd done that I would create a chill out area for the teen and the pre-teen and their friends on our existing deck.  I would love some funky sort of umbrella and some outdoor beanbags for them too.

Comfy and colourful (
Funky in the shade (
Maybe we should also have a patio heater so that we could enjoy the garden into the evening, instead of the cold forcing us back inside the house.  This might even encourage our older children to spend more time outdoors, who knows!

Lastly, we love to cook (and eat!) and so I'd spend some time and money on some planters really well stocked with herbs.  Our current ones have been especially poor this year, again I think due to having less time to spend in the garden.

Ready for a feast (

I think that would just about use up our £750 budget and ensure there would be something for everyone in our garden.  Oh wait, I forgot ds2!  He's a football mad boy so I think we'd possibly have to include a goal like this TP Toys Super Goal.  Compact enough for our garden but still plenty of fun!

Super goal for a super footballer

There it is, our perfect dream garden for a busy family of seven!  I wonder if our dreams will come true?

This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition.


  1. I'd love to do more with our garden to get the kids outside more too. It's so easy for them just to sit in front of the TV isn't it?

    1. Yes! My youngest two would live outside if I let them, and my eldest daughter too. My two oldest boys are the problem, but I reckon a garden makeover would definitely give them a reason to be out there! Thanks for commenting :)

  2. It’s great to know that your kids are enjoying the kiddy-friendly version of your garden. Hopefully, this will encourage your older ones to have fun outside too. Just keep your garden pretty, so everyone in your “family of seven” will take an interest in spending a fun time outside. Have a good day!

    Darrell Gardner @ Living Colour Gardens

  3. Your garden seem to have a wide enough space for your kids to play in. Anyway, have you considered adding some perennial plants, or planting some crops? I think your garden will still have enough space to accommodate those living ornaments to make it look more attractive and appealing. Cheers!

    Terry Holt @ LandTech Landscaping


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