In an ever-evolving world, the way that we use our homes and garden constantly changes. While the garden was once a family space for everyone to use, it seems that young people are spending less and less time outdoors in favour of games and TV.
We recently carried out a survey of 1,000 parents which revealed that kids spend more time indoors on technology than outdoors. In fact, nearly a quarter of people admit their child spends 8-10 hours a week on technology, while a third of parents wish their children would spend more time outside with their friends. Nearly half the people asked said they should really maintain their garden more and 40% of parents say they don’t use their garden to full capacity.
So, would a more imaginative garden encourage kids to spend more time outside? And could kid-friendly technology be integrated into our gardens of the future? Who better to ask than a group of youngsters. We tasked children between five and eleven with designing a garden of the future and then had a professional 3D illustrator bring their ideas to life with some very interesting results…
Under the Sea
by Jasmine, age 11
We are often talking about environmental change and the seas rising. This design cleverly takes into account the threat posed by rising sea-levels and how they will affect us all in the years ahead.
A spinning vortex delivers air to sustain human, plant and animal life which co-exists in a bio-bubble beneath the waves. The banshee is the slight draw back.
Solar So Good
by Ameira, age 5
We’re all aware of how traditional fossil fuels not only damage our environment but are also in danger of running out. This smart garden design gets around that problem by harnessing the power of the sun to heat everything from the pool to the barbecue.
This design also features a huge private suspension walk. At an estimated 40 metres high a safety net might be needed!
Space Station Garden
by Max, age 7
Population growth in the future could mean a bit of a tight squeeze for human-kind – never mind a garden. By going boldly where no garden has gone before, however, this galactic plot takes us into outer space, where hover plants and space crocs live happily side-by-side.
Love is in the Air
by Mathilda, age 5
In a world that can seem more divided than united at times, a little extra love is just what we need. And that’s just what we get with this gorgeous garden where love rules and bridges are built to connect with one another.When one tree house isn’t enough, why not have two? Plus a swing and a trampoline for good measure.
by Libby, age 11
For some parts of the world, climate change may well result in water shortages – as we’ve already seen in Cape Town South Africa. With a cleverly designed cactus garden, however, you can still enjoy a beautiful outdoor space without having to worry (too much) about watering the plants. In fact, this garden optimises water usage; water the smaller plants and any perculated water filters through to the main plant.
by Polly , age 10
Whilst grown-ups might fret about herbaceous borders and hardy perennials, children know that as long as you have a garden made mainly of sweets – with a pool and swing obvs – all is well. This future is fun, bright and full of chocolate fruit. With pineapple clouds and a smartie pool, what’s not to love? We think we would need around 2 billion smarties in reality to fill this pool!
by Martha, age 7
Pets, rainbows, pools and roses. Who could not fail to love this garden and all its happy inhabitants? Based around the idea that you’re meant to be happy in your garden, this outdoor space delivers in spades. There even seems to be a dancing unicorn. Enough said.
So there we have it, some amazing new ideas for a new world. But without building a smartie pool or a giant suspension bridge, how do we get kids to spend more time outdoors? Catherine Knibbs MSc Cyber Psychology clinical researcher suggests combining tech devices and gardens to encourage outdoor play.
“What if we as adults could design an activity whereby our children could join us in the garden for more hours each week? Imagine that the technology that children are reported to spend time on was utilised or embedded into the furniture used in the garden space and we had a co-created activity using the technology such as ‘garden maintenance’ that both parents and children were engaged in. ”
So, while space gardens and underwater greenhouses may be a while off, the gardens of tomorrow could be equipped with iPads and video games! What do you think the garden of the future will look like?
Find out more about how you can encourage children to get outdoors with National Children’s Gardening Week.