Spring and summer are the seasons when backyards become the place to be. After a long, cold winter stuck indoors, you and your family may see your backyard–or any lot of land surrounding your property–as an outdoor oasis offering fresh air and fun in the sun. True as that may be, like anything that’s sat virtually unused for months at a time, your yard could use your attention before beginning to barbecue with the neighbors or laying out the lawn games.
Tips for Backyard Safety Risks
Heed the following hazards of your open-air living and entertaining space to avoid a great day turning into a downright disaster.
Fire: Whether you’re grilling dinner or toasting marshmallows around the fire pit, avoid getting burned when you turn up the heat.
- Keep grills, chimneys, and fire pits at least 10-feet away from your house or other structure.
- Place grills and fire pits on steady ground that’s not easy to tip over.
- Clean your grill before each use to avoid a grease fire from getting out of control.
- Never leave a fire unattended and never call it a night before a fire is completely out.
- Avoid wearing loose or hanging clothing, which can easily catch fire when dangling too close to flames.
- Be prepared to put a fire out by having a fire extinguisher, bucket of sand, or other fire suppressant readily available.
- Keep children and pets a safe distance from open flames, and never leave them unattended near a fire.
Water: A dip in the pool or a run through the sprinkler is a refreshing way to cool down on a hot day. Your grass, flowers, and other landscaping elements enjoy the drink, too. But if you’re not careful, all that water could lead to a lot of damage both outside and inside your home.
- Inspect above-ground pools for cracks and other structural damage to prevent flooding.
- Make sure hoses and sprinkler systems are in proper working order, with no leaks or other malfunctions that could lead to water damage.
- Landscape your property so that water, from rain or otherwise, flows away from your home instead of pooling near your foundation and potentially leaking into your basement or lower level.
- Be sure to dump buckets or other areas of standing, untreated water to avoid creating a welcome space for mosquitos to multiply.
Patios and Decks: Often the central gathering area of the backyard, patios and decks offer ample room to kick back and relax. But before you get too comfortable, inspect this outdoor space to ensure it’s safe.
- Repair or replace rotted, warped, or cracked wood, which could be a sign of instability.
- Eliminate any accidents by sweeping or hosing off outdoor debris, which could cause guests to fall or trip.
- Tend to any loose railings, steps, nails, or other connections.
- Protect the little one by childproofing your deck with gates near stairways and never leaving them unattended.
Miscellaneous: Depending on the features of your backyard, there are a variety of areas which may need your attention to keep the area peril free. Here are just a few:
- Fill holes and fix loose soil and other spots that could trip up someone’s footing or lead to a twisted ankle.
- If an outdoor project requires you to dig, be sure to contact your local utility company to avoid striking underground power and gas lines.
- Securely lock up all garden and lawn tools and chemicals
Don’t let potential hazards ruin your good times. With a little inspection, maintenance, and eye on safety, you can keep the fun in the sun going all season long by making your backyard free of harm.