Prepping Backyards for Safe Summer Fun
When spring comes around, families are eager to enjoy the outdoors after a cold winter stuck indoors. Parents and children can build memories throughout the warmer weather in a carefully maintained yard. As fun as being outside can be, backyard recreation can quickly be spoiled if your yard isn’t safe for both infants and adults, so make sure to clean and maintain these outdoor areas. Read on for some tips.
Start with a maintenance plan
If you think of your outside recreation and lounge areas as zones within your residence that you open in the spring and close in the fall, you can treat them as recurring semi-annual projects that become part of your family’s routine. Create a maintenance plan and opening checklist. This can include routine maintenance efforts, such as having your lawnmower serviced, to a list of items to inspect each season. This maintenance plan can also serve as a log of actions you take, which can be useful for insurance and home warranty purposes.
Start cleaning and look for needed repairs
A safe backyard is uncluttered and clean. Take a day in the spring to walk your property and note any debris, such as fallen branches or piles of leftover leaves. Working from the top down, pressure-wash the exterior of your home and all walkways, patios, and patio furniture. While cleaning, note any necessary repairs, such as loose stones or warped deck boards. Think about how your family plays in your yard. If your children run through a particular area, pay extra attention to issues that may need to be addressed.
While cleaning up lawn debris, assess the health of your lawn, especially those areas where children play or people congregate in the warm months. If you need to reseed the lawn or repair damage, plan on doing those tasks early in the season to encourage maximum growth.
If you have a dog, make sure you’ve cleaned the lawn of any waste that may have accumulated over winter months. Do a thorough raking to ensure that the yard is free of waste, as well. While working on the lawn areas, determine if aeration or dethatching is necessary. Thatch is a thick undergrowth of dead grass material. If unchecked, it can choke healthy grass growth. Aeration is a way to encourage healthy lawns by loosening impacted base soils. Both services are available through lawn-maintenance companies, or the necessary equipment can be rented.
Spring is also the time to check to see if your outdoor grill is in working order. If you have an outdoor fire pit, you should pay particular attention to any needed repairs, such as loose stones or divots in the ground surrounding the fire pit.
Here are some specific maintenance tasks to address before summer is in full swing:
- Ensure all window screening is secured properly and any holes are patched.
- Avoid letting trees and shrubs grow closer than two feet from the exterior walls of your home. This will reduce pests and can avoid problems with tree roots growing into foundations and pipes.
- Eliminate sources of standing water. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and can cause illness to family pets who may take a drink.
- Make sure steps and ladders to pools are safe and secure. Safe entry and exit from pools can reduce injuries.
By following a maintenance plan, you can ensure a happy and safe summer enjoying the outdoor areas of your home. When this plan is made a part of your family’s annual checklist, it’ll become a welcoming sign of summer fun.
Written By Amanda Henderson – Safety Educator – http://safechildren.info/