Time Outside – Making the most of a rented garden

I love to imagine my dream house, but I’ve never imagined my dream garden. There are somethings that I know for sure about my dream garden though: it needs to have a gardener, it needs to be big and it needs to be sunny. I would love huge trees and masses of beautiful flowers. I would definitely like for there to be a secret garden where the children could explore – perhaps with wild flowers and butterflies and Mary Poppins. I know, I’m quite the fantasist.

I’d definitely have an amazing castle climbing frame like this one for Joni and Wilbur to play on. We recently let Wilbur loose at the park for the first time and I have never seen him so happy!

Happy Boy in the park

Happy Boy in the park

Joni has a longstanding love affair with anything outside, so an amazing garden to play in would be wonderful – she loves going to the park, whether its to be a daredevil on the frames and swings or kick a football around – imagine having a garden to do that in?!

Ok, fantasy over. Let’s face the reality. The reality is this little garden:

Our little garden

Our little garden

We rent our house, and don’t see that changing in the next 10 years at least … So what do you do with a garden that is small and not really yours?? You have to be a little bit more creative. Anyone who rents will know that plants in nice pots are the only way to really grow flowers in your garden. We can’t dig up our landlords lawn to put flowers in, so we rely on growing things where we can. So if I had some cash to transform our garden some lovely pots with lovely plants and flowers would be my first investment. Those beautiful pots from garden centres that I have to sadly bypass. I challenge anyone to not smile at the sight of lovely flowers, they cheer me up even on grey and gloomy days. I also love pretty lights, so I’d definitely like to buy some of those solar powered lantern lights like these:


Some sort of shade is a must for my pale children, they love being outside but their skin does not. Life in the garden with them is full of the ‘do they have enough sunscreen’ stress for me! So I quite fancy a small gazebo or sunshade. Anyway, enough of what I want! I’d love to really be able to make the most of the garden for the children, despite it not being ours!

So here are some of the things that I would buy and how we would use them:


This Deluxe Picnic Table Sandpit is perfect use of small space in a rented garden. Its easy to take with you when you move and provides play space as well as somewhere to eat al fresco!

I’d love to rearrange the back of the garden a little to accommodate a play house – I really wanted one of these as a child, so I think I would love it as much as I know Joni and Wilbur would. This one – Beach 100 Wooden Playhouse – would fit in nicely, and I love its muted colour.



No play house is complete without excellent furniture, like this fantastic play kitchen, chairs and table and food.

The key to having lots of fun in a rented house and garden are toys that can be moved from inside, to outside and to the park too!

STEP2517 BThese ride on toys, play tunnels and balance bike are perfect to be stored away in the shed and brought out to play with – and that’s the key -awesome toys that can be used everywhere. There are so many to choose from on the Activity Toys Direct website.

Lastly, anyone who knows me at all will know that no garden of mine is complete without the most vital piece of garden equipment …

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This netball post is fantastic and perfect for my aspiring netball playing daughter (i’m kidding … kind of … only hints of that mother here … )

So there we have it – the definitive guide to turning your rented garden into a small, yet perfectly formed, garden for little people.

This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition, if you’d like to enter then look for more info here


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2 Responses to Time Outside – Making the most of a rented garden

  1. Donna says:

    Lovely reading your view from a rented perspective! Really good to look at toys you can take to different places and things you can do to the garden without actually ‘doing’ anything to the garden that isn’t yours. Good luck with the competition! 🙂 x

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