The first day of spring is just a few weeks away … although you might say that the season arrived early here in southeast Texas, given the warm temperatures we’ve been seeing! Spring is the perfect time to spruce up the greenery around your kids outdoor playground and enhance the natural surroundings for kids and parents alike.
Spending time in a greener environment isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it benefits kids as well as grownups on many different levels. Studies have shown that spending time in nature builds kids’ confidence, improves creativity and imagination, teaches responsibility, and stimulates their brains by engaging all their senses. For parents, being around trees and other greenery has a calming effect, offering a welcome break from fast-paced, technology-packed routines.
Of course, lush greenery also enhances the eye-appeal of your playground equipment, enticing kids and young families to visit more often and to stay longer. If the green areas around your play equipment could use a little TLC, this is the perfect time to spruce them up.
Remember that anything you plant will be accessible by little ones, so keep these safety tips in mind:
- Avoid plants with thorns that can cut or scrape little ones as they run past or fall into branches.
- Avoid plants that produce small berries; even if nonpoisonous, they could pose a choking hazard.
- Steer clear of plants that are prone to attracting stinging insects.
What to Plant
If you’re ready to add some fresh life to the green areas around your preschool playground equipment, here are some terrific options for planting this spring:
Shade Trees: Trees offer not only health-boosting oxygen, but also the shade that becomes so important during our hot Texas summers. Think about adding some different varieties of oaks or elms to add color and variety to your landscape.
Hardy Shrubs: These little green gems let you create paths and segmentations without blocking visitors’ views … not to mention keeping bouncing balls from rolling into the street. They’re also great for games of hide-and-seek. Consider boxwood or another hardy variety of shrub to make sure it stands up to heavy traffic … and occasional tackles by rambunctious little ones.
Vines: Well-placed vines offer a great way to beautify vertical structures such as chain-link fences or to use as ground cover in shady areas. Some vine varieties grow more aggressively and require more frequent trimming than others; keep this in mind when deciding which ones to plant.
Flowering Plants: Plant flowers in lower-traffic areas where they’re less likely to be trampled by little guests. A colorful bed of blooms near the entrance to your playground adds eye appeal that will help attract visitors. Choose hardy varieties that require little maintenance, such as yarrow, petunias, and daisies.