Do your kids want a clubhouse this summer but you would rather have a garden? Well, here is a solution to both your problems. Grow a living clubhouse your children will love to play in. Here, I will give you step by step instructions for growing your clubhouse and two different ideas on what to use. These can be grown next to sod to give your kids a soft area to sit or can be grown near a bare patch in the lawn.
First, decide where you would like to grow your clubhouse. As I said earlier, you can grow this next to sod so your children can play on the grass. Dig a flower bed in a C shape (two semi circles) in the area you have chosen. You will want the inside circumference to be about 4 ft wide to be able to comfortably accommodate 3 children. You will want the outside circumference to be at least 2 feet wide. If growing this next to sod, you will want to use an edging material to keep the grass out of your flower bed.
Next, turn over and prepare your soil for your plants. Next to the edging of what will be the back of your semi-circle flower bed, plant sunflower seeds or plants close together. I need to stress that you need to plant these as close together as you can. Remember, the stems will get to be about 3 inches in diameter so judge from there. In front of these, you can plant as many annuals as you would like. I would plant flowers that you won't have a problem with the kids picking as I am sure you will get lots of"I love you" bouquets from your flower garden. Water well. When the sunflowers reach about 5 feet tall, gently pull all of them together in the center and loosely tie with an old pair of panty house. Now your kids will have a natural teepee to play in and you will have the joy of something beautiful and unusual in your yard. If you decided to do this on a bare patch of ground, you can always but in some old carpet or a tarp for your kids to play on. This is also a seasonal clubhouse so at the end of the season you can pull it all out and compost it.
A more permanent structure can be made with a few different components. For this club house, you will need four pieces of rebar about four feet long, eight pieces of three quarter inch PVC pipe and four PVC connectors for the corner pieces. These have 2 connections that go out at angles and one that goes down. Length of the PVC pipe depends on how tall and wide you want your structure.
First dig a square band for a flowerbed, making sure that you leave room in the center for your children to play. With a shovel, dig small holes to bury the rebar two feet into the ground at the four corners of your structure. You will be building an upside down box with your PVC pipe. Slide each support pipe over the rebar and add a connection to the top, and then add your roof pipes to the connectors making a box shape.
Next, you will cover this with garden netting that can be bought at your local garden center or Home Depot. Tie down your garden netting with wire or string. Plant perennials vines in your beds that will grow up and over your garden structure. As the vines grow, tie them up with string or yarn. Fast growing vines like honeysuckle or morning glory will have your garden clubhouse covered in no time. Also if you make your structure tall and skinny, this could be used to house a garden bench to provide a nice shady spot for reading or just enjoying your back yard.