When you have a baby or toddler, getting outside for some fresh air can be a God-send and a much-needed distraction for fussy kiddos, but most play yards aren’t always suitable for outside. Find out what to look out for in an outdoor play yard and get the best buys out there.
What to look for in an outdoor play yard or baby gate
We compared the reviews of the most highly rated outdoor baby gates and outdoor play yards and came up with a list of our top five. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and ultimately it comes down to which one suits your individual needs best.
Are you looking for a gate to make your porch safer? Do you want to section off a part of your yard that’s away from hazards? Whatever you’re trying to do, read on to find a baby gate that can make it happen!
If you’re wondering what makes a baby gate suitable for outside, it’s really just down to the material; plastic play yards are obviously waterproof but some are also UV resistant to avoid fading. Steel gates for use outside tend to be coated to make them rust proof.
North States Superyard Indoor and Outdoor, 6 panel Playard
This outdoor play pen is great to section off a safe area in the yard for your baby to play in! If you need to keep your baby away from flowers or simply make sure that they stay where you can see them, this will do the trick.
It’s made from high quality and super lightweight materials so it’s easy to carry around and fold up when you’re done with playtime. This model comes in a sand color so it’s not going to be a huge eyesore if you leave it up in your yard which is always nice.
One thing to note about this one is that there isn’t a gate to walk through. Now, it’s only 26” high so it’s not super high which means you can probably step over it fairly easily. But if balancing a baby on your hip while also balancing on one foot isn’t exactly your talent, you may want to avoid climbing over if at all possible.
Best set up
The best way to set this one up is end-to-end in an octagon shape. Doing it that way will give you 18.5 square feet to play in and it’s also the sturdiest configuration. You can also add extensions if you need a larger space for more children or a bigger play area and you can remove panels to make it a little bit smaller. However, keep in mind that this isn’t going to be anchored in any way so eventually your child is going to be strong enough to just push this thing out of the way or to a different location like my 11-month old has decided he’s going to do every single time I put him down in it. Every. Single. Time.
Overall, though, this is a great product to set up in your yard to keep children somewhat corralled for a few moments of hands-free bliss.
North States Superyard Colorplay 8 Panel Playard
This baby play yard is great to section off a safe area in the yard for your kiddo to play in! It comes in super bright colors which are great for developing children, or sand if you prefer something more neutral. The total play area adds up to a total of 34.4 square feet to play in!
It’s made from lightweight and weather-resistant plastic material so you can easily set it up on your own anywhere that you want to in your yard. And if it gets dirty, just spray it down with the hose! You can buy extensions if you want even more room or you can take panels out to make the space smaller.
This model doesn’t have a gate. So keep in mind that you’re going to need to be able to step over 26” in a pinch which could be a problem for those of us that are vertically challenged! But the good news is that it’s pretty dang sturdy so even if you need to grab onto a panel for support, it’s not going to topple over which also means your children shouldn’t be able to topple it over either.
Best set up
There’s no way to anchor this play pen, which means children can push it away so it’s probably a good idea to not leave them unattended. But with such a big area, you could really put a lawn chair inside the octagon and relax while your munchkins crawl around you.
We think this is a great option to keep kids contained in the yard and make sure they don’t wander too far – and owners seem to agree.
North States Supergate Deluxe Décor Metal Gate
If you’re looking for more of a gate than a play yard, we’ve got you covered with this product. This metal gate can keep children from going up or down stairs or from getting out of a fence by blocking wide or narrow openings with a range from 38.3 inches to 72 inches. I think this thing could literally be a lifesaver for some people!
Standing 30 inches high, it would be very hard for even the most avid climbers (adult or children) to get over it but thankfully it has a gate that you can unlock and walk through easily even while carrying babies. The gate itself mounts to walls with included hardware so children can’t knock it down. You can even swing the entire unit out of the way if you have guests over and don’t want to bother with the walk-through gate at all. How’s that for being flexible?
Another added bonus is that it looks great! It’s made in a matte bronze finish and is built with heavy-duty metal construction so you know it’s going to last a very long time. This isn’t one of those baby products that you feel embarrassed to put out or that screams to everyone that sees your house that you’re raising tiny humans. Note: It isn’t advertised as an outdoor gate, but some owners are using it outside with a problem so we thought it was worth a mention.
We think this is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s going to look phenomenal while also keeping children safe from potentially dangerous openings and staircases outdoors.
Cardinal Gates Outdoor Child Safety Gate
This gate is specifically made for outdoor use and is great to block off porch openings and staircases. It’s made with stainless steel and aluminum so it can be left outside without worrying about rust and will look good for years without needing finicky maintenance.
Out of the box the gate fits openings from 27 inches to 42.5 inches but you can buy extensions in either 10.5 inches or 21.75 inches to fit larger openings. It screws into the walls or posts so it can’t be knocked over without also ripping out drywall or wood, so unless you have a baby weightlifter, you’re probably safe with this gate! It can also be removed temporarily without unscrewing it from the mounts, which is great for when you have adult guests over and want them to be able to come and go easily.
Best set up
When mounted to the opening, the whole gate can be swung open in either direction by opening the latch so you don’t have to awkwardly climb over the 30-inch-high gate. The latch is purposely difficult to open so you don’t have to worry about your child escaping. This also means that you may not be able to open it with one hand, so keep that in mind when looking at options. It’s definitely not as easy to open with one hand as the last product. Available in black or white.
Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard
This cute little outdoor play yard is great to pop up when you need it and fold back up when you’re done which means it’s great for traveling or taking to the park. It’s very lightweight with mesh siding and a metal frame that unfolds in seconds and be packed up in the included travel bag in a snap.
This isn’t the product for you if you’re wanting to give your child a large area to play in. But it’s perfect for smaller babies that need a safe spot to roll around in and that won’t feel too cramped in 14 square feet. Seeing as how it’s such a small space, there’s no gate to get in or out but it’s only 26 inches high so you should be able to bend over fairly easily.
The sides are made of mesh so you can see inside to make sure your child doesn’t eat that rock they somehow smuggled into the safe place and it even has a canvas floor to make sure your child doesn’t pick up another rock to chow down on. That base is also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about what that sweet little baby bum is sitting on.
One of our favorite features of this product is that it has a canopy that you can buy separately to attach to the top and block sun and UVA rays so your baby’s perfect skin won’t burn. It’s a little pricey but we think it’s worth it especially if you plan on taking this to the beach or by the pool.
Best set up
The metal frame makes this a pretty sturdy product so you don’t have to worry about larger babies being able to tip it over if they lean on one side. Some parents have decided to cover the metal bars with pool noodles to make them a little softer if a baby bumps their head on it or decided to gnaw on it while you cook or clean or read a book or use the bathroom with both hands-free.
Overall, we think this is a great product and one that most parents could definitely benefit from. Heck, we may even start buying this for every baby shower we’re invited to!
Getting a few moments to yourself or just freeing up both hands can make all the difference to your day so we really hope one of these baby gates does the trick for you.