Natural Playscapes: Pond and Playground Oasis in City Backyard
Even though they live in a bustling, high-traffic part of Brooklyn, NY, this client wanted her children to experience the same interaction with nature that she had as a child,.
The finished natural playscape we created is reminiscent of a secret cove on a desert island. It boasts a swimming pond with a beach-style entry, three waterfalls, a rock climbing wall, a pirate-ship-style tree house, rope bridge, swings, exercise rings/bar, and three bubble-rock water features.
The heart of the project is, of course, its eco-friendly pond, which for the present is shallow — only 8” deep. It is deep enough so the young children can swim and play in it. However, we also constructed the pond to “grow” with them. It is actually a deeper pond with boulders that are covered with fabric and gravel which, when they are older, can be removed, exposing a full-sized pond they can stock with koi, offering an entirely different experience for more mature children.
Deck and Patio designed/built this city oasis (above), as a temporary 8” shallow pond, for younger children which can be easily turned into a full-size koi pond when the children get older. Stepping stones lead from the playhouse across the pond to a patio at the back of the house.
Crushed stone used elsewhere on the property for rainwater harvesting was also used to make a fabulous beach-style entry into the pond. Such entries are an ideal element of a natural swimming pond that is bordered by plants and natural boulders.
Instead of using any chemicals to keep the pond healthy, it is designed as a natural eco-system. To accomplish this, we used all Aquascape Inc. (St. Charles, IL) equipment and components: Skimmer, Biofalls, Pump, and Liner. Aerated by three beautiful waterfalls, the water stays pristine and healthy; much to the joy of the children, the pond attracts beneficial wildlife like frogs, which also eat unwanted insects.
What young child doesn’t enjoy imagining they are one of the Swiss Family Robinsons…or Jack Sparrow himself! From this rope bridge, they can watch for other pirates, ferocious child-eating animals, and all fearsome enemies.
Children who have to fight pirates and wild animals need to keep in shape. What better way than to have a rock climbing wall as part of their tree-house getaway.
No self-respecting defender of a tree-house castle would enter any other way but on a rope ladder.
At the edge of the children’s inter-active playground is a bluestone patio with deep seating and fire heater where adults can hang out and enjoy the waterfalls and bubble-rock features, while the children save the world from pirates.