Fun Ideas to Get Your Kids Outside in the Yard
Can you have kids AND a nice yard with gorgeous grass? It might be easier than you think!
We talked to Wes Bray of Lawns and Gardens Plus, who's been beautifying yards for families for over 30 years. Today, he and his wife, Paula, have been joined in their business with their sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. So he's an expert when it comes to creating and maintaining yards that are both gorgeous and family-friendly. Read on for some of his top tips.
Can I Have a Nice Yard and Kids?
It might seem like an insurmountable obstacle when you have a swing set, balls, bikes, or a sandbox lying around. But Wes assures us that kids and good grass aren't mutually exclusive. But it definitely helps to give them part of the yard that's just for them.
"Have an area where kids can explore and examine the wonders of nature," says Wes. "Let them play in the dirt and dig holes." This area doesn't have to take up your entire yard, of course, but giving your kids their own bit of yard to enjoy will help them from destroying yours.
He recommends the philosophy: "Front lawn in the front and backyard in back." That way, you can have that outdoor play area where kids can play and just be kids without worrying about what will happen to your grass.
How Do I Get My Kids in the Yard?
With additional lockdowns and quarantines due to COVID-19, a yard where your child can play for hours can have great benefits for their mental and physical health.
Wes recommends a vegetable garden that the family can enjoy together. "Put it near the kids' area and keep it simple," he says. "Let them see you enjoying the hard work and rewards." Let your kids pick out their own vegetables to grow so they can really enjoy the fruit of their labor."
If veggies aren't your thing, Wes suggests "selecting plants that are softer-textured, durable, and low-maintenance." That way, you can essentially kid-proof the yard. He recommends planting pretty flowers for your child to pick, so they can enjoy them even when they come inside.
You can use the backyard as a training area. Once they've mastered that, Wes says you can "have your children help with garden chores on the front lawn side."
What Are Some Other Fun Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Yard?
There are small ways to make your yard more appealing to kids so they can enjoy it every day. Especially when the weather's nice, Wes suggests that you put a table or patio in your backyard so everyone can sit and enjoy the outdoors. If you have space and budget, fire pits or outdoor kitchens other great options.
If your child likes to play sports, you might want to select a turfgrass or sports turf for durability. Artificial turf looks great year-round, so it's also an option that will always look good.
Above all else, do what you can to "make it fun," says Wes. "You can get your kids to help by making it a game." It might seem frustrating at first when it seems like your little one just wants to sit and make mud pies. But Wes advises to "be tolerant of what happens in the back yard, less so in the front lawn."
So let your child explore nature and play outside every day, even when the weather gets colder. What are your best tips for a kid-friendly yard? Be sure to share your ideas with friends and loved ones on your favorite family app.
And if you're in the Virginia Beach area and need some landscaping assistance, be sure to call Wes, Paula, and the whole Bray family at Lawns and Garden, Plus!
Lawns and Gardens Plus
"Paula and I met when we worked together in a local restaurant at the Oceanfront," Wes says. "From there, we worked together for an oceanfront lawn mowing company. While we worked there, we noticed that many clients wanted more than just grass cutting. So after several years, we determined that if we were to work this hard and succeed, we would work for ourselves. We formed Lawns Plus in 1989."
Today, Lawns Plus has expanded into Lawns and Gardens Plus, Inc, and takes care of all their clients' landscaping needs, from mowing yards and pulling weeds to designing and maintaining gorgeous gardens.
In addition to Wes and Paula, their two sons, Scott and Kevin, two granddaughters, Brittany and Amiee, and one grandson Kevin Jr. all work in the field. Their daughter-in-law, Maryann, runs the office.
"We are truly blessed to be able to work together and certainly wouldn't be where we are at now without everyone's efforts," Wes says. "Our greatest achievement has been to be able to leave work at work."