Garden into play ground - on a budget!

(22 Posts)
angela84 Mon 18-Mar-13 15:51:15

Hi,
We're lucky enough to have a rather large garden, about 100ft long, and 30ft wide.
I'd like to transform the end into the play area of my boys dreams! I've 3 boys, oldest 7, youngest soon 1.
Just wondering if anyone has any tips, ideas etc. I'll post pics if you like.
I was already thinking of painting our old plastic shed and transforming it in a cafe/mechanics etc, get some blackboard paint for 1 wall, maybe some old tyres for rolling around.
Not 100% on swings, hate the whole 'kicked in the face' fear. also not keen on sand being brought back in the house.
Got pipes I thought they could put balls down, got plenty of wood from other projects.
Got a trampoline but the net got destroyed when the boys got a friends dog on there last year (!), thinking of sinking it into the ground....
Wish I had a nice climbing tree but nope. But grass and concrete at the end.
maybe a water area. Maybe a magnetic area...
Will wood chippings attract cats?
Thinking of painting the concrete path something bright, maybe blue for the sea and lots of fish etc.
Would appreciate any advice!
Don't mind spending some money but not lots and lots.

angela84 Mon 18-Mar-13 15:52:03

As you might be able to tell the nice weather has taken me into the garden for the first time today, and it's a mess I want sorted ASAP!

MERLYPUSS Mon 18-Mar-13 16:20:04

We bought a 2 story tree house thingy from costco for about £800 2 years ago (!!!!). They used it every day since. Even eating lunch on the top deck. Could you get a deck constructed on stilts? That way there is a den underneath to store bikes etc and a pirate deck to have fantastic water fights from.

WorriedMary Mon 18-Mar-13 16:49:40

We have wood chip and cats and have not had the problem of them pooing in it.
I like wood chip because it is natural and has less of an impact on the environment.

We are having a major overhaul of our garden, this year. Can't wait to get it sorted, it's really messy at the moment.

We are getting a new shed and taking the decking up. And hoping to get a wooden climbing frame.

Have you tried Pinterest to get some ideas for little projects - like mud pie station/ water play / musical instruments from everyday objects.

WorriedMary Mon 18-Mar-13 16:51:04

You could also make a raised bed and have a dinosaur garden.

angela84 Mon 18-Mar-13 19:09:16

Thanks guys,
I'm addicted to Pinterest. It's almost out of hand, the addiction...
Treehouse might be above budget I'm afraid, thinking I'm going to turn shed into a mechanics, lots of boys tools etc,
A couple of slides, as there's a platform built that I could fix them too, and then some up cycled stuff from the house. Magnetic letters and numbers on a big sheet of metal fixed to the wall...

OloeufiaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Mar-13 19:13:36

I hate play sand too but have a sandpit full of various pea stones and the rock collection for a diggers "quarry"
my two play for hours with it when it's not sodding raining

BeaWheesht Mon 18-Mar-13 19:19:11

Stupid question. Wouldn't magnets go rusty?

BeaWheesht Mon 18-Mar-13 19:22:31

Oh and on Pinterest I saw an outdoor tic tac toe aka noughts as crosses - basically 9 tiles / slabs lain into grass and either some kind of little figures or else just chalk to play with.

angela84 Mon 18-Mar-13 23:30:52

Hmm, magnets may rust yes... Maybe Velcro wall and felt letters?
I'm also thinking hanging some saucepans and having drums.
I've seen some lovely stepping stones, mosaics.
But if I maybe put rubber matting down I could do 2 colours and the tic tax tow could work then.
God, Pinterest makes me want to (in equal measure) get super fit, bake lots of cakes, make my house amazing, and get annoyed my house isn't perfect!

WorriedMary Tue 19-Mar-13 09:24:57

Tell me about it! I had heard if it but only ventured on about 3 weeks ago.
And I love it!

I am extremely jealous of the mahoosive very posh laundry rooms. They just don't compare to my junk filled cat piss tainted shit hole of a garage/ utility--
That is our next project after the shed.
grin

angela84 Tue 19-Mar-13 17:09:30

I get confused though, it's pretty American the site, is that just a norm to them? Along with 80k weddings, carefully planned engagement and maternity photo shoots and themed baby showers.
God I'd love a laundry room though.
Whay you doing in the shed?

Talkinpeace Tue 19-Mar-13 18:33:00

I dedicated one of the vegetable beds to my kids as a digging area - they could go as deep as they liked
cost nothing
amused them for years

bought a big TP climbing frame on ebay
sold it on ebay 7 years later for the same amount

BeaWheesht Tue 19-Mar-13 18:55:37

Saw another good thing on Pinterest today - a water Wall - basically loads of containers / pipes attached to fence / wooden pallet.

Wiifitmama Tue 19-Mar-13 19:14:14

We have a very similar size garden and three boys. When we moved here 4 years ago the boys were 6 months, 4 and 7. They are now 4 years older smile We had a completely blank canvas to work with. Basically we did a lot of hard landscaping to create areas. We kept a grass area for football playing nearest to the patio/house. But we created a path around it which has been used loads for racing scooters around. The middle area is bark chip and has a small slide and play/climbing structure. What we actually wanted there was a big pole with a wooden platform on it. But it didn't happen. I KNOW it would have been used loads. The back area (raised) is mostly bark chip and has a massive netted trampoline which gets a lot if use.

The things they have done the most over the years is football, scooters, water play in summer, and trampoline.

angela84 Tue 19-Mar-13 20:14:54

God they love to dig. The arguments over leaving the park's sandpit/beach because my oldest wanted to 'finish' the hole...
Maybe they're trying to escape.
Digging area would need to not be near paths and 'clean' areas.
So talking to the grumpy husband, he thinks sinking our large trampoline is too much work. So he thinks a smaller one. I am now thinking a couple of smaller ones.
We've got an ikea kura bed (the bed you can have high or low, blue panels..) that were replacing, thinking I might try and fix some slides to it.
Plus a nice big pool for the summer. Even if it does kill the grass.
Water wall I wanna have a think about!
I'm gonna get some sheets of metal, spray them with blackboard paint, and then stick little magnets onto plastic cars, animals..

WorriedMary Tue 19-Mar-13 21:35:17

The shed is my DH's domain and I am going to send him to it as often as possible!
He uses it for woodwork stuff.

We have a play house that he made whilst he was off work due to redundancy and I am going to prettify that this summer (well as much as you can with 2 boys).

I love the water wall idea too.

angela84 Wed 20-Mar-13 11:37:24

I'm just thinking now about the shed turned playhouse for us. What you going to put in it? Can't decide between a play kitchen, play shop, mechanics/tool set, just a sofa...
My boys don't really ever play make believe games. Maybe I'll cut a hole in the side for a tunnel and just put squashy stuff in there for jumping on

MERLYPUSS Wed 20-Mar-13 12:43:41

Get a camoflage net if you can and they can make it a jungle camp. A shed / den is a great place to plan your next adventue whilst you eat pack lunch. Although my tree house was expensive it takes the weight of the whole family and the kids love being higher than the adults. It is often the crows nest - a piece of drain pipe as a telescope and home made flags painted on sheets / tea towels.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 20-Mar-13 17:54:49

The playhouse has some shelving in it for toys and books, but I'm thinking of putting a seating area in and a table. Under one of the windows like a caravan, so they can pretend they are beds. However, they mainly just run in and out and slam the door!

I am going to paint it inside (white currently yellow and red as I used up old paint), recycle some old curtains by chopping them and putting them up. It needs a right sort out though it is quite messy!

I like the idea of a camouflage net.

We also hope to make a climbing frame and are thinking of using the decking boards we are taking up to make a series of platforms. As the space we have designated for it is not very wide and the climbing frames that you can buy won't fit - plus we don't have £400-500.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 20-Mar-13 17:59:33

oops just changed back to my usual name.

daffsarecomingup Mon 01-Apr-13 14:33:45

i amn in the second year of planning my garden for my two boys (9 and 6). i bought them a shed to play in - and they just run AROUND the wretched thing! They use their trampoline most of the time, tbh.
I made some mosaic stepping stones with them which i'm going to sink into the flower bed in their garden. I am also decorating the area with stone gargoyles, tree trunk faces etc. but, really, if i had simply grassed the whole area, they would have had just as much fun!

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