Tailor a gazebo to your yard and children for the ultimate focal point. Engage the kids with jobs big and small in the design process -- paint, hammer, drill and carry materials -- according to the age of each child. Design a basic gazebo, or add features such as a sandbox and a playhouse for the kids to enjoy.
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A basic gazebo with a few steps leading up to it is ideal for kids of any age. To make it kid friendly, design railings and stairs with the kids' heights in mind. Paint the gazebo in a rainbow of bright hues, or choose one shade (chartreuse, orange or lemon yellow) to intermingle with white. Make your own plan, enlist the help of a contractor or modify plans found at your local hardware store. Position the gazebo in a kid-friendly area of the yard, overlooking the garden in a spot you can see them from the house or patio.
Shade your children from the sun with a custom-built sandbox covered with a gazebo. A sandbox gazebo can be built to the space available in your yard. If you build it with open sides, you will not sacrifice any of your view. Built-in benches allow multiple kids to play at once. Take it up a notch, and create a centrepiece in the middle of the sandbox where you can add a water or pebble feature for making sandcastles and mud pies. Customise the gazebo further with small hooks for hanging shovels, pails and other supplies.
Design a gazebo as part of a playhouse or next to a playhouse to create a play complex. Ideas to incorporate include a climbing wall, slide, swing, sandbox, musical play centre with chimes, balance beams and other playground-style features. Create an open-area gazebo, or close some of the sections in for window and door areas. Make curtains for the gazebo playhouse out of outdoor fabric in a pattern like gingham, polka dots or stripes for an extra punch of colour.
Homemade gazebos can also be altered to incorporate a built-in picnic table. Or build benches around the outside perimeter that kids can use at any age to socialise with friends at parties and sleepovers. Landscape the yard around the gazebo, and ask kids to tend to the small patch of flowers, plants, herbs or vegetables. Clear a path to the gazebo in winter months, and help your kids build a snow fort. You can also install solar lights on the interior or exterior of the gazebo.
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