natural stone patio pergola large area

7 Landscape Design Tips to Get Your Kids Outside

Need to lure your kids away from the video games and into the yard this summer? One way is to design your home’s landscaping so they’re tempted to spend more time outside. Read on for tips on how to make your yard accessible for kids and teens.

1) Lounge-able Patio

Make your patio a place your children will want to hang out! Top the patio with a pergola to provide some shade and a sense of seclusion, and add built-in benches along the edge of the patio. To encourage teens to hang out with a book or with friends, make the seating really comfy with weather-resistant cushions.

An added benefit of a patio is that they can be built with non-slip pavers, which are good if you have small children who may be a little unsure on their feet. Pavers can also be laid out in interesting, eye-catching patterns, holding little ones’ interest.

pergola over patio minneapolis

A patio, complete with pergola and cushioned seats, could be just the thing to lure kids outside this summer.

2) Plenty of Grass

Expansive spans of turf are versatile. They can be good for a game of tag or catch, for dragging a sprinkler onto during a hot summer day, or simply for basking in the sun (but wear your sunscreen!). When kids use their imaginations, the lawn can be anything they want to be. You can also keep lawn games nearby, such as horseshoes, a beanbag toss, or croquet. While they need a little set-up, these games will keep kids of all ages entertained.

3) Children’s Play Area

Set aside a piece of the yard that’s just for the kids. If there’s a patch of concrete, make chalk available so the kids can draw and doodle to their heart’s content. If it’s grassy, a game of hopscotch made out of paving stones is a fun option. For smaller kids, put in a raised sandbox, which you can convert to a raised vegetable garden in the years to come.

To really give children a sense that this area is all theirs, make it secluded with hedges or tall flowers. They can pretend it’s a secret garden all their own—and you can supervise from a raised patio or a nearby bench.

4) Flowing Stream

Who doesn’t like a bubbling brook? The sound of water over stones is calming to people of all ages, and depending on the design, kids can splash around in the water on hot days. (Of course, always supervise children around water features, even if they’re shallow.) Simple fountains are also wonderful to sit and play near, and can be a welcome reprieve from watching a screen.

5) Outdoor Lighting

Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean the kids have to go inside. Lights along walkways, along the house, or on the patio are not only welcoming to visitors, but can draw out the inhabitants of the house too. Even if the kids don’t mind running around in the dark, at the very least, the adults can hang out on a lit patio.


Combining a waterfall with outdoor lighting makes for a welcoming yard your kids will want to play in.

6) Hammock

Who doesn’t enjoy hammocks? Especially as kids grow into their teen years, they can use hammocks for lounging around outside. Place in a well-shaded area for comfort all summer long.

7) Unique Gardens

Gardens don’t have to be the same old annuals and perennials. Mix it up with a butterfly garden for elementary schoolers, an edible garden for kids of all ages, or a sensory garden for little ones. To attract butterflies, try planting milkweed, purple coneflowers, marigolds, butterfly weed, and black-eyed Susans. For an edible garden, grow your favorite vegetables, Minnesota-hardy fruits, and table greens. A sensory garden will include flowers and plants that play on all five senses. Some good options include herbs such as mint, basil, and sage, roses (but watch for the thorns!), feather grass, lamb’s ear, and your favorite bright-colored flowers.

Another way to add some interest to your gardens is to include fairy houses. Hide these in the gardens and let kids find them and imagine just what’s going on behind the tiny doors.


Looking for more landscape design inspiration? Check out our Pinterest page or visit our blog for more ideas. And when you’re ready to embark on your own landscape design project, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at 763-568-7251 or send us a message through our quick quote system to get started today.