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How to encourage children into the great outdoors

How to lure the kids outside? Nathalie Marquez Courtney learns how one garden designer turned his green space into a playground for his children

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Vyvian White with his children Juliette, Ethan and Elodie

Vyvian White with his children Juliette, Ethan and Elodie

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Vyvian White and family

Vyvian White and family

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Vyvian White with his children Juliette, Ethan and Elodie

As anyone who has bundled giddy, hyper kids into a car for "the big weekend walk" at the beach or woods knows, time spent outdoors is a wondrous tonic. But your own backyard can be just as enticing. Just as well, given our lockdown restrictions.

It's all about knowing what engages and excites kids - and it doesn't have to cost the earth. "You can create a great garden for your family on a budget," says horticulturalist and garden designer Vyvian White, who has three children of his own to experiment with, Elodie (11), Juliette, (nine), and Ethan (six). "I enjoy getting the kids involved and recycling what we have. It's always good to build stuff or grow things together."

He's a big believer in the power of the outdoors to help children develop all sorts of skills, beyond just green fingers. It's critical, he says, for building core strength, developing fine motor coordination, improving eye function, not to mention tickling the senses - the smell of lavender, the taste of the season's first juicy alpine strawberries, the feel of damp soil.