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Backyard makeover, city style

If you live in the city and have a deck instead of a backyard, there’s no reason you can’t make it a family-friendly outdoor space for your toddler or preschooler. Use these deck makeover tips and get ready to enjoy the great — or small — outdoors this summer!

Family friendly deck

Most moms agree that toddlers and preschoolers have a lot of energy and love to be outside. However, if you’re a big-city dweller, a backyard full of grass with swingsets and big sandboxes is as distant a dream as a full night’s sleep and eating a meal while it’s hot.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your outdoor deck space and make it toddler- or preschooler-friendly for the summer, though. Give our deck makeover tips a try.


Safety first

Before tackling your deck makeover, be sure that your child cannot climb up and fall over the railing. If you have any furniture or other items your little one could use to scale the sides, move it a safe distance away. Regardless of railing safety, always supervise your little one while he’s enjoying his outdoor time.

2Water table fun

Sure, toddling through the grass soaked by sprinklers is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean your wee one can’t enjoy some water fun on your deck this summer. Invest in a sand and water table as part of your deck makeover. Unless you’re particularly adventurous (translation: enjoy big messes), skip the sand and stick with the water. There are a few water-only tables, but even if you choose one meant for both sand and water, you can fill both sections with water. Pick up a few plastic boats, toss in some kiddie cups from your kitchen and let your little one splash away!

If you do have more space, get more ideas from our water play product guide >>

3Ride-on toys

If space is at an absolute premium, you might not have much room for toddler or preschooler to ride around your deck on a trike or ride-on toy. However, even a small path around the outdoor furniture is adequate for most little ones. Invest in a toddler ride-on toy or even a small tricycle. Kids love ride-on toys, and the benefits of keeping them outdoors are two-fold: Your kitchen table legs will thank you and so will your little one — for the outdoor fun.

See our age-by-age guide for buying toys >>

4A little place for lunch

Adults enjoy dining outdoors … and so do kids! Make your deck more fun and kid-friendly with a small table and chairs set. When designing your deck, you probably thought about a dining table for yourself, but adding a mini set for your toddler or preschooler is a great way to get her excited about eating outside on the deck. You can find an inexpensive set that is space-friendly for your deck makeover.

Need some adult-size ideas? Take a look at these ideas for backyard decor for small spaces >>

5Gardening space

Most kids love digging in the dirt. Don’t allow your lack of a yard get in the way of that. Your child can help you garden on your deck, so create a gardening space when completing your deck makeover. Small kids are just fine with small areas. Invest in a series of small pots, such as these fun and stylish gardening pots from HomeGoods. If you’re comfortable with the half-completed look, leave a few pots without plants so your tot can dig around. Pick up a few fun plastic gardening tools and keep them at the ready.

Check out these 5 plans for small outdoor spaces >>

With a little creativity — and some toddler-thinking — you can make over your deck into a kid-friendly outdoor area. City living is great for so many reasons and you can keep enjoying it with your young kids!

More outdoor decor ideas

Table settings for outdoor gatherings
9 Easiest plants for your backyard
10 Outdoor decorations under $20

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