How to bring the nature play experience into your own backyard

Remember how much time we spent outside as kids? When we were kids, there was no internet, fewer TV channels and a whole world outside to explore! Even the backyard was a place for endless fun, imagination and hanging out with friends.

Some of what we did back then is now called ‘nature play’ and it’s enjoying huge popularity with specially designed playgrounds springing up across Australia. So we thought it was time to look at how to bring some of that experience home.

This gallery of our favourite projects shows that even small spaces can be made interesting for kids.

Pull together a range of materials – and make it easy for them to be packed away when you want to reclaim the space. Images: via Pinterest; via Community Playthings

Every kid loves building cubbies – keep it low-cost with pallets, branches and a bamboo blind. Image: via Pinterest

Put that tree to use with a mini treehouse, marble run or fort. Images: via Apartment Therapy; via Pinterest; Wife Mother Gardener

Even a courtyard garden offers space for nature play. Image: via Pinterest

Prep some hidden spaces with gravel and rocks – and keep the play going on hot or sunny days. Image: via Pinterest

Add a swing – autumn leaves make great camouflage. Image: via Pinterest

Design your garden with space between elements to encourage exploration and play. Image: via Playbased Learning

Add some semi-permanent or permanent elements – they’re great for encouraging first time visitors to join in, while also allowing favourite games to be played out again and again. Images: via All For The Boys; via Parents Magazine; Create With Your Hands

If you want to provide a boundary between kids and any precious plants, Link Edge is the ideal garden edging – easy to install, safe on feet and hands with a rolled top edge, seriously tough and long lasting, stays in place, and it’s great for forming curves or straight lines. The Link Edge range includes powder coated colours plus circle and square kits. Learn more and find stockists at linkedge.com.au