We had previously installed a small artificial grass lawn for two dogs owned by the clients in one part of this reasonably sized Kent garden.
This had proved successful, so now that grandchildren were of an age to be adventurous, we returned to create a children’s play area by landscaping an area in another part of the garden.
Consisting of another artificial grass lawn and a climbing frame this was a simple design brief that took a lot of landscaping preparation.
Where to put the children’s’ play area was an easy decision as there was a largely unused area at the rear of the garden that still had a pond and the remains of a rockery garden.
That we suggested artificial grass as a suitable surface came as an initial surprise to our Kent clients, who had been expecting us to suggest bark chippings or recycled rubber tyres. However, as both bark chippings and recycled rubber tyres are loose laid they would not have been practical in this situation, due to animals (pets and wildlife) and the autumn leaves would have been difficult to remove.
There was a pond with large rockery garden and waterfall to dismantle and fill in. This had to be sufficiently well filled and compacted to form the sub-base so that not only the artificial turf but also the climbing frame remained secure and level.
The designated area was already raised above the rest of this part of the garden, so it was decided that the whole play area should remain slightly raised, and be surrounded and supported by oak sleepers. A new raised bed would contain the existing hedge and trees that were to remain for privacy. This would turn the play area and artificial turf into a self-contained space; and the wooden edge linked the new to other parts of the garden, especially to the low raised vegetable borders which had previously been constructed.
We like to re-use and recycle materials wherever possible and practical during landscaping projects, so much of the rockery found its way in to the old pond hole.
The climbing frame was bought locally in Kent and we ensured it was correctly and firmly attached to the substructure not just the artificial lawn so as to prevent movement.
The artificial grass was chosen for its quality, ie density of structure (think of the tufts or pile on a good quality carpet) so that it will withstand the wear and tear of children running and scuffing. A short, or close, pile was chosen to increase the ease of leaf removal in the autumn, as the area is surrounded by deciduous trees.
Using artificial turf has been a good choice as the grandchildren have played there fairly constantly; the area drains quickly so the surface is usable all year round in a way that a real grass lawn wouldn’t be.