A deck in the backyard can be the setting for playdates, cookouts, celebrations, or even just summer evenings with a glass of lemonade. No matter what you’re doing, your backyard deck provides the setting. So, what can you do to make your deck a safe, exciting place for kids to play and adults to relax? Here are a few ideas:
- Have unique lighting
- Bring your own shade
- Set up lounge furniture in view of the play area
- Install a smokeless fire pit or barbeque
- Stock a kid-friendly beverage bar
- Keep outdoor games on the deck
With the right trappings, you can transform your backyard deck into an exciting, luxurious social space. If you’re looking for kid-friendly deck ideas that will keep your children safe and your neighbours jealous, keep reading.
Have Unique Lighting
Adequate lighting is an important factor of a child-safe patio. Improper lighting, especially on a deck with stairs or any kind of multi-level element, increases the risk of injury for both children and adults.
Lighting also provides the opportunity for a creative flourish. Use unique or themed lighting fixtures to create a desired atmosphere on the deck. Whether it’s strings of lights along the railings or bulbs shaped like mason jars hanging aesthetically from the ceiling, having non-traditional light fixtures allows parents to keep a safe eye on their children without killing the desired ambiance.
Bring Your Own Shade
On hot summer days, shade is crucial for both comfort and safety. Having an awning or a large folding umbrella is a simple way to give both parents and children a place to get out of the heat.
If a traditional umbrella doesn’t coincide with the deck and/or building an awning is not an option, here are a few alternative shade ideas to consider:
- Sun Sails are a unique, effective way to provide shade over your deck. The advantage of a sun sail is it can be easily adjusted over the course of the day as the sun moves.
- Pergolas can be set up on the deck, and a covering can be placed over the top to create a cool, shaded room.
- Outdoor curtains can be installed around an existing gazebo, awning, pergola, or where shade is needed. Outdoor curtains also provide some wind and rain protection, which allows for an at least partially outdoor experience regardless of the weather.
Creating a shady environment on the deck will allow parents and children to relax out of danger from sunburn.
Set Up Lounge Furniture In View Of The Play Area
The addition of lounge furniture can transform a deck into a comfortable social area. If the deck commands a view of a backyard, arrange the furniture so that the play areas are in full view. This allows parents to relax in the shade on the deck while keeping an eye on the children at play.
If your deck is on posts or has a sturdy covering, hanging hammock-style seating provides an additional level of lounge accommodation with built-in shade.
Install a Smokeless Fire Pit or Barbeque
Fire features, when applied tastefully, can create a wow factor that will make the deck a favourite hangout spot for cool evenings.
Gaslamp heaters, while effective, can be dangerous and unattractive. Fire pits, if safely installed and protected, create an exciting focal point for social gatherings. At-home campfires could be hosted on the deck, where children can roast marshmallows and enjoy the outdoors in the safety of their own backyard.
Using smokeless fire pits, such as the Esright Firebowl, allows for all the excitement of a bonfire in the backyard without the smoke pestering children’s lungs and eyes. Smokeless fire pits are also a safer option for a wooden deck environment, reducing the risk of fly-away embers igniting the boards.
Having a barbeque on–or even built into–the deck makes for a fun, inclusive outdoor dining option. The luxury of the deck furniture and the presence of a grill will make the deck ideal for hosting cookouts, birthday parties, and team events.
Stock a Kid-Friendly Beverage Bar
Having a bar on the deck is fun for the grownups, but don’t miss the opportunity to let kids in on the experience.
Having a small refrigerator filled with kid-friendly beverage options, aside from being fun and convenient, is an easy way to encourage kids to stay hydrated throughout the day. The novelty of a kid-friendly bar also may encourage kids to drink healthy beverages if provided.
Keep Outdoor Games On The Deck
Backyard games are a great way to bring families together, get everyone outside, and encourage fresh air and exercise. Here are a few fun ideas of games that could be played on the deck:
- Cornhole is a popular backyard game that could be easily played on a decent size deck. It is recommended, however, to orient the game horizontally in relation to the house in order to minimize the chances of overshot bags causing damage.
- Giant Chess is a fun and unique deck game option. It’s not as convenient as other options, as the chessmen take up space and require storage. The size of the game, however, may encourage children to be interested in chess. This can provide a fun, intellectually healthy challenge for both kids and adults.
- Minigolf is beloved by children of all ages and sure to be a hit with kids, friends, and probably their parents too. Building a single, small obstacle course with a golf cup at the end is surprisingly easy to do with simple materials around the house or possibly a quick run to the hardware store.
- Art stations are a great way to encourage creativity and expression for kids. Having a specific place where messy activities are allowed, such as finger painting, chalk, etc., will also give children a place to channel their creatively chaotic energy.
A backyard deck is, by nature, a social setting. Whether you’re using it for family nights or hosting neighbourhood block parties, having your space totally “decked” out (yes, pun intended) with kid-friendly deck furniture, activities and features will make your yard a favourite.