Your playground is the perfect place for children to connect with nature—even if you only have a small outdoor space. You can extend outdoor learning beyond traditional toys and activities by introducing kid-friendly plants, shrubs and trees near play equipment. A carefully planned natural area cultivates curiosity while beautifying the landscape.
In this guide, we’ll explore low-maintenance options to enhance play spaces of all sizes. From durable groundcovers to edible perennials, our selections are robust, non-toxic and designed to withstand heavy foot traffic or occasional pulls, pets or splashes from the water table. Beyond aesthetic appeal, these plants engage multiple senses and invite self-guided discovery.
Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small balcony, learn how to incorporate flora that brings sensory stimulation and education into active recreation zones. Discover which varieties thrive in different light conditions to benefit pollinators. Filling your playground with safe botanical discoveries opens up new avenues for outdoor fun, exercise and early nature lessons.
What to Plant Around a Playground
A well-thought-out play space allows kids to grow and develop key skills. Consequently, we can plan and design play spaces with different plants and gardens to nurture children’s development, creativity, and imagination.
A simple way to achieve this is by planting trees and shrubs. Plants mark the passing of seasons and introduce children to a sense of time and natural processes as plants grow and change. However, use the right plants for a safe play space before you plant anything.
Best Flowering Shrubs
Shrubs bring colourful garden accents perfect for playground landscaping. Their sturdy forms hold up well to lively activity nearby. Some top flowering plant choices:
A magnet for pollinators, its clusters of showy blooms attract monarch butterflies. Provide nectar-rich education. Varieties reach 6+ feet with various hues. Low-care and drought-tolerant once established.
Sweet spring aroma defines this classic. Clusters of purple, white or pink buds open wide for sniffing. Sturdy yet delicate appearance. Prune after flowering to maintain a bushy shape within boundaries.
Upright stalks topped with crinkly blooms in solids or bicolours seem cut from storybooks. Annual self-seeds reliably for years of enjoyment. Tall garden statues entice leaf and bloom inspection.
Perennial flowers add pops of colour season after season with minimal effort. Great options for playground grounds include:
Silky blooms in red, orange and white shades nod gracefully on airy stems. Short plants engender careful handling without risk of falls. Pop off fluffy seeds indoors for more springtime magic.
Clouds of pink, purple, lavender or white button-like blooms top wiry stems both early and late in the growing year. Their cheerful faces emanate a wildflower feel. Attract beneficial insects.
Golden centres and white petals reveal intricate details under close inspection. Prospers in sun or shade, depending on species. Cheerful faces add to outdoor fun. Some varieties produce daisy chain headbands for little gardeners!
Low Maintenance Ground cover
Durable groundcovers pair practicality with visual appeal outside active play areas. These low-growers withstand traffic while softening spaces:
Choose plants with healthy, full, well-shaped root systems. Woody stems root wherever they touch, spreading a lush green carpet tickled by curious fingers. Fragrant clumps tolerate sunny heat and lean soils without complaint.
Delicate leaves belie a resilient constitution. Traffic, drought and poor soil bounce off its matt-like padding. Upturned white or pink cupped blooms invite children to lean in close.
From petite ornamental selections to meadow grasses, lawns support busy play. Consider drought-tolerant blue fescue, red fescue or buffalo grass for hardier wear. Kids can investigate bugs without risking thorns or messy berries falling from overhead plants.
Tips for Maintenance and Safety
Keep care and safety in mind when incorporating flora into active play areas like pergola. Inspect beds regularly for weeds, pests or hazards and address issues promptly.
Maintain edging to contain plantings away from high-traffic zones. Locate playground equipment beyond the drip line of existing trees to avoid damage to tree roots, preferably on the north side to provide shade. Water deeply but infrequently, and use fertiliser sparingly, if at all, to discourage child handling.
Only choose non-poisonous native species marked as kid-safe and supervise young explorers interacting closely with leaves, flowers, or decorative berries. Consider fencing off flowerbeds or installing edging to contain gardening supplies.
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. Choose fully branched plants with evidence of vigorous growth and dense foliage.
Guide outside play further from landscaping during maintenance, like pruning or applying treatments. Choose shade trees if you’re ready to add fresh life to the green areas around your preschool playground equipment. With a few simple precautions, you can encourage outdoor discovery safely amidst blooms and greenery.
Enhance Outdoor Play with Kid-Friendly Landscaping
We hope this guide has inspired you to fill your playground with beautiful, engaging plants that enhance outdoor fun and education. From flowering shrubs to resilient groundcovers, the kid-friendly options outlined here can truly transform active play spaces into natural discovery zones. Choosing local plants can also help educate kids about the local environment.
For any other landscape design questions specific to your property or equipment, please reach out to the experts at Aaron’s Outdoor. As your local leader in playground safety and plant selection, we’d be happy to offer complimentary consultations or recommendations on maintenance.
Let us help bring the joys of nature and gardening into your family’s outdoor activities. Contact Aaron’s Outdoor today to turn your playground into an inviting place for hands-on learning in the years to come.