Over the past five weeks we’ve been delighted and amazed at seeing the ways in which our kits have brought fun to gardens all around the UK. Whether a small, slabbed courtyard or an untamed wilderness, a bowling-green lawn or a balcony - your photos of dens providing shade, shelter and the best place ever to have breakfast have had us cheering!
It’s true though, some outdoor spaces provide more of a challenge than others. However, with some wily determination and a few tips, we haven’t found a space we can’t build a den in yet - and we love seeing the ingenious solutions your dengineers come up with.
So, what to do if you have no trees, no grass, or just need a bit of inspiration? We’ve put our heads together (well, virtually for now) and have the following ideas that respond to the two most frequently mentioned garden grievances:
No grass! How do we peg down our tarp?
- Before you worry about this, ask yourself if you even need to peg the tarp down? If you raise the roof, you’ve got more room, more air circulation and absolutely no need to keep reading.
- If you have paving slabs, could the pegs fit into the gaps between them? We’ve seen this work perfectly, as long as the gaps aren’t filled with concrete.
- You can weight down the tarps using something heavy to tie the corners onto - containers filled with stones/soil/sand for example. If you have wet sand or soil, the tent pegs can be pushed into these containers instead of the grass - if not, tie the tarp to the container, such as a bucket or bag handle or any other heavy weighted objects that don’t mind being outdoors.
- Finally, how about making a sturdy frame over which to drape your tarp. This can be a fun activity - though it might need some adult help depending on the age of the child. You can forage for the right sort of sticks on a walk, or use things you have in the house (that you don’t need anytime soon!). Tie them together and make a frame - pop your tarp over and use clothes pegs to hold it on.
No trees! What on earth do we tie our rope onto?
- Absolutely anything that isn’t going to get pulled over or move (or break - a sense check may be needed to overcome enthusiasm). We’ve seen dens tied to: a trampoline, climbing frames, washing lines, fence posts, guttering, Dad’s shed, the front gate, balcony balustrade, a sibling (this didn’t last), garden furniture, a pergola and a few purpose-bashed-in wooden poles.
The key to great dengineering is to think outside of the traditional A-frame shape (though this is a corker), and use what you have around you, plus a dose of imagination and problem-solving ingenuity - children are actually really good at this (we think even better than grown-ups).
Hopefully, this gives you a few ideas of how to use our kits in your own outdoor space - by the time we’re allowed out into the parks and countryside again, you and your children will be absolutely experts and will have clocked up hours of happy play inside your tent.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you testing out even more possibilities inside your home… just perhaps leave the tent pegs in the bag.
If you’ve devised a den, however big, small, wild or tame your garden - share it with us, we’d love to see!
Whilst you’re here - why not watch this amazing video, put together by the guys at Camp Wilderness, showing some of the ways in which they have used our Ed Stafford Shelter Kit to create a series of really exciting spaces.