School is out, and we’re thrilled that breezy, carefree days of summer are upon us. If you’re like us, you’re probably pushing your kids to spend more time outside.

To help you encourage your kids to get out there, we put together a few ideas for creating new playscapes and sprucing up the play structures already in your yard. Your kids will be out in the fresh air having fun and you’ll add safety to the space and a burst of new life without a ton of time and effort.

Sprucing up existing playscapes

If you’ve got a playset that’s looking a little tired, don’t underestimate the renewed life that comes from fresh base material spread underneath the structure and around its perimeter. Mulch is an excellent option for adding shock absorbency, safety, and a fresh look.

Pine Landscape’s natural hardwood mulches have no added chemicals or dyes, which makes them safe for both kids and pets. Keep in mind that mulch has to be refreshed about every year.

Pea gravel costs more than mulch, but lasts longer and offers a fun sensory material for digging and playing. Another base material that’s fun to play with is our clean fill sand. To help prevent bugs in the sand, mix it with cinnamon. To ward away cats who want to use it as a litter box, spray vinegar around the area, and mix cayenne pepper or coffee grounds into the sand.

Regardless of the material you choose, you’ll want to lay down a base of landscape fabric. You also may want to consider adding paving stones around the perimeter to keep materials in place and add a defined outline to the playscape.

We offer convenient delivery service for bulk mulch, sand, gravel, paving stones, and everything else right to your home, placed as close as possible to your playset to save you work.

Simple ideas for new playscapes

The best way to keep the construction of new playscapes simple is to use the natural features of your yard. Make creative use of trees, bare patches, and slopes. Even the side of your house can contribute to a fun new play area.

Sensory pit: Excavate an area where you have a hard time getting grass to grow and install a pit for play with gravel or sand. You can also divide up the pit with a natural slope to offer both textures. The soil should be excavated to a depth of about 22 inches, but it can be purposefully tilted to offer deeper and shallower ends.

Lay down a base of washed ¾ inch rock to provide drainage. Secure the area with landscape fabric, then pile in the clean fill sand. Though it’s nice for play pits to be under shade, keep in mind that sunshine and aeration are sand’s best disinfectant.

Consider edging the pit with natural stone or flagstones to close off the boundaries. Stone can also provide weight to anchor a tarp in the winter and during rainy periods.

If you don’t want to embed the sensory pit into the ground, consider a raised bed. You could even use the foundation of your house for one side of the structure. An old bookshelf that’s been painted, sealed, and laid on its back can make for a creative and convenient smaller sandbox.

Creative stone: Use flagstones to add built-in games for your kids. Hopscotch, life-size checkers and chess, and a yard maze are a few of the possibilities. It’s a bonus if the stonework adds practical value as a path connecting the yard!

Pick the game space you want to create and calculate how much flagstone will be needed for the project. Apply base paint and add numbers or design to the stones as necessary, then preserve them with a finishing sealant. Dig out the grass in the area needed for the shape of the game, then embed the flagstones in the soil. Fill in dirt as needed.

If your kids love playing in the water but a pool is out of the question, consider buying or building a water table. Make sure you have a solid base so it doesn’t turn into a mud pit. Stone patios make for a great base for water tables. Here’s a convenient guide for how to build a stone patio. https://pinelandscape.com/2019/04/11/get-the-dirt-on-dirt/

You can also add boulders that are not only a beautiful natural element to add to the yard, but a fun structure for kids to climb and jump off. We carry massive boulders and offer convenient delivery service to get them to you.

Get out there

Try to get your kids involved in the design and construction process as much as possible. When your project is complete, don’t let them have all the fun. Get out there and play with them in the updated playscape. We could all use a little more fresh air anyway.