I’m Clare. I’m an interior designer, educator and Mum of 3 crazy boys.

I help designers, decorators and home renovators with the design and renovation process.

I’ve helped hundreds of clients and students create beautiful homes via my online courses, workshops, design services and renovation resources.

And I look forward to helping you as well! :)

How to design a family friendly garden

How to design a family friendly garden

The weather is getting warmer and it’s time to move the fun outdoors again. Here are lots of ideas for how to create the perfect family friendly garden. These amazing gardens are fun for kids and relaxing for parents. I know most of these ideas will be out of many people's budgets (including mine) - so for us these are just for us to dream about. But at the end of the post I've included some fun ways to keep the kids occupied in the garden this summer while you relax and entertain your friends. 

Here's my round up of six things to include in the ultimate family garden - modern cubby houses, outdoor TVs, swimming pools, in ground trampolines, outdoor chalkboards and sandpits. 

Modern Cubby Houses

I'm painting our cubby house at the moment so this one is close to my heart. Plain wood versions can look cute but check out these modern cubby houses designed by creative parents. I sometimes wonder if these mini play houses are more for the grown ups than the kids....

Image via  pinterest

Image via pinterest

Image via  pinterest

Image via pinterest

Image via  pinterest

Image via pinterest

Outdoor TVs

This one gets everyone outside and nobody has to miss any sport while entertaining the kids. When installing an outdoor TV don't forget to consider weather or glare from the sun when you are positioning it. This will be something you want to factor in right from the start of your planning so that electrical wires can be roughed in. 

Image via  pinterest

Image via pinterest

Outdoor Chalkboards

Chalkboards outside are an inexpensive way to bring a bit of creativity to your outdoor space. As an added bonus the mess of chalkdust remains outside and saves you the hassle of cleaning up. Chalkboards don't only have to be for kids - they can be used to write dinner menus, garden planting schedules or fun quotes for your your guests to read. There are heaps of different uses and the plain black wall when not in use looks modern and elegant. 

Woolahra Courtyard -  Designed by Secret Gardens

Woolahra Courtyard - Designed by Secret Gardens

Swimming pools

A long standing family favourite - swimming pools are expensive to install but the hours of family enjoyment that come from them are worth the investment. We are currently researching swimming pools to install one in our new home and here are some designs I've collected as inspiration. 

I often get asked "what is the perfect size for a family pool?" and generally the best size for a pool is 8m by 4m. Bigger than that and it can get hard to look after and smaller than that and it can be a bit cramped when you have a larger group of people swimming. Of course the space you have in the garden will dictate the size you put in and in my opinion even a small pool can really lift a garden and make it beautiful. I'm a water baby at heart and being able to look out on water while cooking or entertaining is just so relaxing. 

Randwick Garden -  Designed by Secret Gardens

Randwick Garden - Designed by Secret Gardens

Paddington Garden -  Designed by Secret Gardens

Paddington Garden - Designed by Secret Gardens

Built in trampolines

In ground trampolines are a real luxury but the bonus is that it gets these ugly pieces of equipment in the ground and out of sight. They are easy for kids to get on and off and they are incredibly safe as there is nowhere to fall. Installing an inground trampoline requires quite a bit of forward planning in your garden design. Unless you have natural levels the hole for the trampoline will need to be excavated, which can be quite costly. But trampolines are great exercise for kids (and adults alike!) and my kids spend hours burning energy. 


I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of sandpits - the kids love them but the sand they bring inside every. single. time. is SO annoying. But to make up for this downside the kids do spend hours in there playing with their trucks and building things. It's great for imaginative and cooperative play. I've put our sandpit right down the back of the garden which means they at least have a decent patch of grass to walk over and lots of the sand naturally falls of onn this walk. This is a good tip for removing at least some of the sand. I've seen people set up water basins at the back door for sand removal as well. If you can get over the mess then here are some pretty cool sandpit options.

So there you have it - six things you might want to consider including in the ultimate family garden. We've looked at lots of family friendly garden ideas but let's be honest most are pretty expensive for any of us to install. So here's a few quick ideas for how to entice your kids outdoors this summer and keep them entertained while you relax.

  • good old fashioned slip and slide

  • hang a sprinkler over the trampoline for water fun

  • give them a bottle of bubble mix

  • get a cheap piece of ply from the hardware store and paint with chalkboard paint for an easy calkboard option

  • buy some jumbo pavement chalk and get creative on the footpath

  • set up an outdoor track for their cars and trucks - include some bark chips, dirt, rocks and other things to move around.

The main thing is to just get outside and enjoy yourselves. I hope this post has given you some helpful ideas. If you've enjoyed this post I would encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter so I can send you some more ideas + inspiration. 

Have a great day!

Clare x

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