This back yard is a place for kids to do their own thing

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by Gardening with Ciscoe

NWCN.com

Posted on July 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Remember what it felt like to play in the woods when you were a kid? That's exactly the feeling Hendrikus Schraven created in this landscape.

“That’s basically what it is, this was basically for the kids so they could roam around under the trees, climb trees, hang out on rocks,” said Hendrikus Schraven. “It’s kind of fenced in, so when they were really little, they couldn't get out. But they could still be out under the trees, and play with the rocks, and do their thing.”

Low lying rocks provide a play area beneath mature trees - it looks like these kids are exploring a forest. But they're just feet from their own front door.

" Kids are pretty creative, so instead of giving them too much, you have to let them figure things out for themselves, and create their own places,” said Schraven. “So you give them the basics, like rocks to jump on, and stuff like that, which is not that common.  Don't give them as many toys but let them get creative.”

Hendrikus put basalt columns to a new use, and beyond the enclosed play forest is a stone path leads to Puff Daddy the turkey. He's one of a handful of poultry pets that thrive here in this all-organic landscape.

Right next to the turkey pen is another play area you won't find on the shelves of a local retailer - a stump forest.

"We'll set the logs out so these kids can jump back and forth, sit on them and do whatever they want on them,” said Schraven. “And they get creative right away because if one is placed too far away, they use the board and bingo - toys happen.”

A future veggie garden is another important element of a kid-friendly landscape.

Final touches include a deep layer of wood chips to keep play spaces safe, and room in the flower bed for kids to add plants of their own.

The landscape is now the perfect place to watch children - and chickens - grow.

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