Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour 25

Come Visit a Play Garden!

Welcome to my Play Garden! I believe that gardens should be for everyone, and this space is intended to be inviting and interesting, welcoming adults, children, and furry friends alike. Children love gardens just as much as adults do and a long-lasting appreciation for flora and fauna comes from sharing your garden space with them.  Tour a play garden - a whimsical space meant to invite in all ages to enjoy the gardenToday, I’m happy to show some photos of the backyard play space that I have been building for my family and friends to enjoy. Keep in mind that growing gardens is a long-term project and this tour begins when the garden is in its infancy. The elements have been created and the plants chosen, but it will continue to grow and develop over the season and subsequent years. Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (3)

I have five gardens that I am currently working on:

  • the backyard play garden,
  • the front yard shade garden,
  • the perennial herb garden,
  • the vertical vegetable beds,
  • and the ornamental shade garden and quarry.

Today the tour begins with the newly created play garden space in the backyard. Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour

When I moved into the house, all of the structure of the garden spaces and was finished and it was just the plants that needed an update. The trees were planned out well around the property to bloom in succession, bringing interest to the garden from early spring into summer. But the garden beds were full of 5-foot tall raspberries and roses and other thorny, green things that created a visual barrier as well as an unwelcoming feeling.

The worst thing I encountered, however, was that the soil was dead. Not a worm or microbe to be found. The plants had plenty of disease and struggled to thrive in this unhealthy soil. Even worse, the home renovators buried literally tons of construction material in the soil. I worked hard over the last three years to rebuild the soil (see how to do that here) and this year, finally, I was ready to plant!Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (26)

The back garden bed, just off the main lawn in the back yard is 5 feet wide and 20 feet long. A plain rectangle that had two large trees flanking either side and an awkward vegetable garden strip. My goal for the space was to retain the current structure of the center lawn with three surrounding beds but remove the tall plantings, basal prune the trees and shrubs and remove any unhealthy or crowded plants. With the heaviness of the trees and shrubs lifted there was room for new perennials, annuals and vegetables down below. The new structure created visual room around the garden, expanding the overall living space.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (16)

I wanted to integrate play structures for my toddler so that the yard would be usable but also beautiful and educational. Creating elements like a table and chairs made out of found wood stumps, a hopscotch pathway through the middle of the garden, and low plantings (18″ and under) that are decorative, sensory, and occasionally edible, makes for an interactive garden space that becomes an extension of the lawn.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (2)Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (9)

These hopscotch stepping stones were created by using this method and laid in the garden forming a path that goes by bleeding hearts, blueberries, and bunny tail grasses until it reaches the table and chairs made out of wood stumps.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (15)

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (1)Hopscotch in the garden with DIY concrete stepping stonesRustic children's garden table and chairs with a teapot planted with succulents

Above the table and chairs is a solar light chandelier which you can see how to make here.DIY Solar Light Chandelier hanging over rustic tree stump table and chairs

On the table, a tea kettle planted with succulents leads you to believe it is the perfect spot for a tea party.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (19)

More stepping stones were created throughout the garden beyond the hopscotch stones, using prints from leaves found around the garden. See how to make these stepping stones here.

In addition, a leaf from the large rhubarb that grows at the west side of the garden was used as a mold to create the stepping stone that sits at the base of the table and chairs. See how to make stepping stones from large leaves here.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (24)

Upon exiting the play space, there is a pot for digging with a wall of golden raspberries in behind for snacking.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (18)

Coming out of the garden you approach two bright red Adirondack chairs, beside the Japanese maple “Bloodgood” that is planted in a large pot filled with alpine strawberry plants. I plant strawberries wherever I have a free container. More on strawberries in containers here and here and here.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (14)

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (25)

My favorite place to relax is the hammock swing. Built off the deck with an arbor structure, this hammock swing is the perfect spot to enjoy the garden. The arbor is currently growing an evergreen clematis, although it can’t be seen yet. In time it will cover the arbor providing some shade and beautiful fragrance when in bloom.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (1)

Behind the swing, growing on the side of the deck is an espaliered apple tree with five different apple varieties grafted on. The espalier tree is only two years old, yet it is producing a few apples this year! In future years, I will continue to prune and train it to produce an abundance of apples in a small space. The branches will thicken and create more buds for more apples as the years go by, but the overall height, width, and shape will remain the same.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (13)

The stairs go up to the deck which overlooks the garden. Beside the deck you’ll find the perennial herb garden which makes for easy access for zipping down from the kitchen to get some fresh herbs. The herb garden contains rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, nodding onion, chives, a large fig tree, and even a small yuzu tree I was given as a gift. (See the perennial herb garden from my last house here). There are also a few hanging baskets with Tiny Tim Tomatoes and annuals sent to me from Proven Winners as part of their 2016 collection.Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (3)Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (2)

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (4)

All of this in a small city backyard and I haven’t even shown you HALF of the gardens! You can see many of the projects that I have done around the space in the Garden Projects Gallery.bhome summer open house graphic-1

Today I am part of the bHome Open House Tour which encouraged me to start showing the WHOLE garden, not just the DIY parts. I hope you have time to visit my bHome friends and take a look at their homes and gardens all decked out for summer. There are great ideas and tons of inspiration. See them here:


My Soulful Home

Home Made by Carmona

AKA Design

On Sutton Place


Cedar Hill Farmhouse

At The Picket Fence

Unskinny Boppy

Miss Mustard Seed

French Country Cottage




Housepitality Designs

Craftberry Bush

Cupcakes and Crinoline

Shabby Art Boutique

Setting For Four

A Healthy Life For Me


Southern Hospitality

Top This Top That

Rooms FOR Rent

Savvy Southern Style

Lilacs & Longhorns

Eclectically Vintage

Cynthia Weber Design


Maison de Pax

Buckets of Burlap

Love of Home


Edith & Evelyn

Inspired By Charm

 Download the bHome app HERE.



About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Stephanie
    StephanieJune 16,15


  2. Stephanie Rose
    Stephanie RoseJune 16,15

    testing again – not a short comment

  3. Melissa
    MelissaJune 16,15

    What a beautiful tour! I love how you have the different themes but it all works together, of course! The espalier(ed) tree is lovely!

  4. Melissa
    MelissaJune 16,15

    One more thing: the little guy going through the child’s garden….totally sweet!

  5. Vanessa
    VanessaJune 16,15

    Truly one of the sweetest gardens I’ve ever seen! So whimsical and beautiful. You seamlessly combined elements that are pleasing to both kids and adults. Well done Stephanie! V

  6. Shirley/Housepitality
    Shirley/HousepitalityJune 16,15

    Stephanie, your play garden is truly like an enchanted forest for anyone to get lost in its beauty. In addition to the amazing flowers and hardscapes such as the cute stepping stones. Love the amazing moss covered tree stumps. I feel as though I will see a Fairy pop out from behind them! Also love the solar light chandy…What a most creative idea. Thanks for this most magical tour!

  7. Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life… Cynthia Weber Design
    Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life… Cynthia Weber DesignJune 17,15

    What a fantastic garden! I adore all the little interesting layers that you have added in. There is texture, interest and charm everywhere! We have recently bought and moved to a country property with 7 acres in Ontario. I am so excited to expand the gardens and add personal touches like these. I am really looking forward to being on the bHome tour on Thursday, I will be showing our gardens and grounds… I hope you can pop over and see, I would love to hear your ideas!! ;)

  8. Kim
    KimJune 17,15

    Beautiful garden and what a wonderful place to just hang out. Our back yard is a dead mess that will be worked on in the next few weeks. I know how much work you have lovingly put into your gardens.

  9. ginette4
    ginette4June 17,15

    What a lovely yard..looks peaceful
    bHome Username; ginette4

  10. Nowshin Shaiara
    Nowshin ShaiaraJune 17,15

    Hi Stephanie,
    What an outstanding garden you have! I loved the way you managed each of your five gardens. Your hopscotch stepping stone and tea kettle container garden is simply brilliant. Thanks for sharing such a lovely garden and for this magical tour.

  11. Amy @ A Healthy Life For Me
    Amy @ A Healthy Life For MeJune 17,15

    What a beautiful garden. I love how it all flows and that beautiful espailler tree- gorgeous!

  12. debbiedoos
    debbiedoosJune 17,15

    Yay! I can comment now. You have such an enchanting and magical garden. I sent my Mom the link yesterday because she is a big gardener herself. Sadly, she didn’t pass down that magical thumb to me. I enjoyed your tour.

  13. Kelly
    KellyJune 17,15

    Stephanie! LOVE IT ALL – especially the hop scotch stepping stones & that darling tea kettle. Lush, lovely & whimsical – perfect play garden!

  14. Kerryanne
    KerryanneJune 17,15

    Love, love, love those succulents in the teapot – pinning!! Totally love your garden paradise Stephanie.

  15. Ursula @ Home Made by Carmona
    Ursula @ Home Made by CarmonaJune 18,15

    LOVE this garden space! My girls would love all it’s whimsey!

  16. Tammy
    TammyJune 18,15

    I Love your garden….so much inspiraton …beautiful!

  17. linda
    lindaJune 18,15

    I do not have a phone to download an app . So good luck to those that are in the giveaway. I like your solar chandelier ; I just made solar lights using glass light fixtures and put a solar light inside for our pagola. I am making my teapot decoration for outside in the garden. I got both designs from different blogs. thank you for the garden tour !

  18. Michael Wurm Jr.
    Michael Wurm Jr.June 20,15

    There are so many beautiful details in your garden. It’s just magical! Happy to be on this wonderful tour with you!

    xo Michael

  19. Cassandra E
    Cassandra EJune 20,15

    Wow! That is what I have to say. I want to play there!
    Cassandra E bHome

  20. Heather
    HeatherJune 24,15

    Love your gardens – so lush!! The flowers and greenery are so beautiful – you must find them so relaxing!

  21. Mary Beth|Cupcakes and Crinoline
    Mary Beth|Cupcakes and CrinolineJune 25,15

    Your garden space is absolutely amazing, Stephanie. I grew up with a father who loved gardening and that left an indelible and beautiful mark on my life. Your tour brought back some wonderful memories.

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