Looking for a way to keep kids occupied while you garden? Why not build them a shady garden hideout spot? They can hang out under a simple bean teepee or an even more creative structure. Kids can even hone their gardening skills by growing their own private hideaway. How? Simply have them plant and train floral or veggie vines to grow up the form of your choice. Leave a hole for entering and exiting. By mid-summer, they'll have a fun spot to hang out with friends, read or nap away the afternoon.
The bean teepee appeals to kids of all ages.
I wouldn't mind having one myself. In fact, the grand-kids and I have plans to grow one this year. We'll cross several 2x2 posts and tie them together at the top. The bottom of the teepee will be attached to a simple wooden ground-anchored frame for stability. Bean or pea vines will be planted all around the bottom of the teepee. One side will be left open as a doorway. The other sides of the teepee will be covered with a trellis net. These are available at home improvement stores for less than $10.00.
The sunflower circle is gorgeous in bloom.
Plus, kids love harvesting the seeds at the end of the season. It's easy enough to make. Pound two parallel semi-circles of 4 foot wooden temporary fencing into the ground. Plant sunflowers between the two semi-circles. The gap is to enter and exit through. As the sunflowers grow, they are supported by the fencing. Kids love the open roof feel of this garden hideout.
The morning glory bench provides shady, private seating for kids.
If it's designed with an overhang, it's almost a house. Just train morning glory vines up a rustic bench. To make the overhang, attach a handmade grapevine form or an old inverted grapevine loveseat frame to the top of the bench. Morning glories grow up the bench legs to cover the bench and overhang. If kids want more privacy, a frame can be built around the bench.
The squash tunnel features hanging orbs.
The 2x4 frame is long and rectangular. The supporting 2x4's are sunken into the ground for stability. Think of a grape trellis, but shorter. Stretch netting across the frame, leaving both ends of the tunnel open for access. Squash is planted on each side of the tunnel. It grows up the sides and over the top. As the squash itself grows, it creates a stunning display of suspended squash orbs. Kids will love hanging out in this crazy alien looking hideout.
Note: Support heavier squash with netting.
Cover your kids' playhouse with ivy.
Giving your kids a unique hideout of their own doesn't have to be complicated. If you're not exactly talented at garden structures, try this idea. Simply buy a ready made playhouse. Cover it with netting, leaving the doorway clear. Plant ivy vines all around it, leaving the doorway clear. Now that inexpensive playhouse blends right into the garden.
This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! property.