Sturdy plants and sandboxes are in, poisonous plants out.

As the parent of an 11-year-old son, Lauren Bonar Swezey knows what a kid-friendly garden is all about. When her son, Drake, was younger, she learned a few lessons quickly. Among them: Prickly plants and toddlers don’t mix, and plants with pretty but poisonous berries (cotoneaster, for instance) aren’t worth the risk. A family garden needs space for kids to romp, very sturdy plants, and room for entertaining.

In Esparto, the long, narrow backyard provided the perfect space for a patio and a wide path that doubles as a tricycle track. On one end, the path circles an in-ground sandbox, making a roundabout for the three-wheelers. On the other end, the path widens into a patio large enough for entertaining.

Plants are Mediterranean, in keeping with the architecture of the house: lavenders, New Zealand flax, ornamental grasses. Strawberry trees grow along the back fence.

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