When planning your garden with your child, instead of first focusing on the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers you’ll be growing, consider starting from another place. Garden structures offer the bones, or permanent features, of a garden and are sometimes more exciting for a child to plan and build than the garden itself. The structures can create height, form rooms, and define pathways in a kids’ garden. The whole point of kids’ gardens is to get children excited about spending time in the garden, so encourage them to dream big about the structures, and then start small in building them. Here are some garden structures to consider in your children’s garden this summer:

933Raised Beds: We all know that raised beds help define garden beds and allow you to grow more plants more efficiently. But raised beds can also be raised really high to create the walls of secret chambers where small children can sit and play in private. Consider building a few 3-foot-tall raised beds. These can have a false bottom about 1 foot deep with holes drilled into it so you won’t have to fill the whole bed with garden soil.

Vertical Structures: Consider making a vertical structure the focal point of your garden. Garden teepees, sunflower houses, and garden igloos provide gathering places and are great spots to grow vines, such as peas, pole beans, climbing nasturtiums, and grapes, to provide more secrecy. Growing fruit- or vegetable-producing vines also makes it easy for kids to grab a snack while playing in the garden.

Stumps and Tunnels: Add an interesting feel to your garden terrain by placing large rocks or tree stumps in and around the beds. These will be not only pleasant places for sitting and contemplating the garden, but also great structures for climbing. Nothing excites a child more than tunnels to crawl through