An active lifestyle is paramount to a healthy heart and soul. If you enjoy staying active, designing a landscape to meet your lifestyle, whether it is playing bocce with a group of friends or dribbling a basketball to show off that “beyond the arc” shot, your backyard garden can be a canvas for any number of activities. Besides the optimal health benefits, utilizing the garden for physical activity increases the functionality of the space.
Source: Terra Ferma Landscapes
As designers, our approach is to keep an open mind by looking at the character of the space; strategizing and determining the most suitable location and configuration of the space; and taking into account any safety measures these activities may endure.
Spaces for activities are plentiful. For instance, designing a bocce ball court, there are many aspects to consider. While most individuals do not have room for a regulation court, a sizeable court can still be incorporated into the garden design to fit the space appropriately. Often the perimeter of a bocce court can be designed as a seat and/or wide enough to rest drink. The materiality of the bocce perimeter is often wood or concrete. While a wood perimeter may evoke a warm sensation, a concrete perimeter may stand to be more durable. The interior surface traditionally uses crushed oyster shells, but alternatively the use of decomposed granite or artificial play matting can work too. A bocce court with crushed oyster shell surfacing is typical, however, artificial play matting surface requires less maintenance. In the end, the selection of material is a personal preference and desired aesthetic.
Source: Heavenly Greens
For more active play, a sports court can be fun and flexible for both adults and children. When designing a sports court, it is necessary to evaluate the appropriate location for the play surface as well as the basketball hoop. According to NCAA standards, you can give your project 47 ft. x 50 ft. of space to build a sport court. If you were to decide on a movable hoop, then you would have more flexibility in preference of location. A fixed hoop will requires strategizing the right location to have basketballs remain in the court. If for whatever reason the hoop has to be situated in front of the property fence, then netting would be advisable in order to prevent any basketballs from being thrown over the fence and into your neighbor’s garden.
Children’s play and exploration is key with keeping kids active and learning. There are many options on the market for pre-fabricated play equipment structures but going beyond a slide and swing offers more opportunities, interest, and excitement. For example, by repurposing the use of the existing redwood tree from the site we were to create a series of steps and obstacles in this Atherton children’s garden. Additionally, rather than a traditional, flat, well-manicured, lawn, we manipulated the earth to design and form No-Mow fescue berms. In turn, these types of spaces offer kids an area to spark curiosity and intellect within a natural environment.
Alternatively, play equipment still serves its purpose and one major aspect to keep in mind during installation is ensuring all safety requirements are met to guarantee the space remains fun and worry-free. Two important safety items are: the selected material for the ground surface and having optimal fall zones surrounding the play structures. Options for the specific material for ground surfacing can be cushioned surface like a rubber foam mat, play area tiles, or mulch. It is also important to allow enough space between the active play zone and adjacencies. As doctors use preventive measures for kids to not catch a cold, we treat your project one-and-the-same, so your kids play is fun and safe.
Regardless of the reasoning behind having areas of active recreations in the garden, it is important for us, as a team, to be cognizant of your considerations for healthy fun living while maintaining a fully functional backyard. Given our design expertise, we are able to aid in the aesthetics, spatial arrangement, and safety of sports activity spaces. We expect these spaces to enhance the backyard and improve the well-being of our clients’ body, mind, and soul.