ISSUE   |  Children's Garden

To Lawn or Not to Lawn? With Kids, That is the Question

May 28, 2013 10:00 AM

BY Meredith Swinehart

To lawn or not to lawn? With kids, it’s a tough question. Lawns are ideal as a soft place for children to play, but they can also be visually uninteresting and a pain to mow. We love this solution from SF-based landscape architects.

Todd Lansing and Scott Mulholland of Creo Landscape Architecture (members of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory) redesigned a backyard garden for homeowners near the Presidio in San Francisco. Their task was to produce an interesting and low-maintenance play area for the owners’ two young children while maintaining an inviting adult area to lounge and entertain.

To start, Creo rethought what a lawn should be and created miniature rolling hills throughout no-mow grass, making a lawn unique for both kids and adults while minimizing maintenance. They contained the lawn and ensured additional usable areas for current and future planting as the owners desire. Creo gave their clients entertaining flexibility with built-in wooden benches and an L-shaped adult space stretching from a brick barbecue patio behind the house to a more secluded seating area in the back. They planted olive trees along the modern wooden fence to fulfill their clients’ request for privacy while keeping an overall feeling of airiness. For more, visit Creo Landscape Architecture

Photography by Kayo Shibano. 

Above: Sturdy sculptures embedded in the grassy “hills” double as kids’ toys.

Above: Built-in redwood benches lining the lawn serve as extra seating and as storage for the boys’ outdoor playthings.

Above: Entertaining space for the adults abuts the lawn on a patio of decomposed granite.

Above: Between the dining space and lounge chairs, white pots filled with lavender provide a finishing touch. 

Above: Adjoining the house and garden is a barbecue patio made from brick used in a previous iteration of the backyard.

Above: Creo uses singular bursts of color throughout the garden that are not repeated elsewhere.

Above: Young olive trees look statuesque against the modern fence, uplit at night.

Above: Shrubby yew will grow into a solid green backdrop against the garden’s back wall.

Looking for more inspiration for kids outdoors? See our 14 posts on Children’s Outdoors on Gardenista.