Planning an Outdoor Space: Safe and Sound

Safety issues need to be considered when planning an outdoor space. It might not be as exciting as choosing outdoor furniture, pergolas or water features, but it certainly has its place. Haphazard outdoor design can cause unnecessary disasters, harming you, your family and guests. Safety precautions will keep the accidents to a minimum and your relaxation and fun to a maximum.

Landscaping Safety

You want to get things started off right. If you plan to do any digging, even if it is to plant a tree or shrub, make sure to call local officials first. Get in contact with the appropriate local utilities company to identify and mark any underground lines. Be alert around any power tools or loose nails. It is wise to keep children clear of the area during this time.

Electrical Safety

Proper lighting is necessary to see what you are doing and where you are going. Make sure to incorporate overhead lighting and well lit walkways. Opt for battery operated devices when possible. All electrical outlets should have a weatherproof outlet cover. Make sure each outlet is powered by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which shuts off power when it senses a leak or short circuit.

Water Safety

If you are planning to install a pool, make sure to construct a fence and teach your children proper safety guidelines. Avoid smooth, slippery surfaces on a pool deck, think about tumbled travertine or flagstone. Keep spas or hot tubs covered and locked when unoccupied. If you are planning to install a water feature, consider installing a pump to prevent water stagnation. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos and insects that transmit diseases.

Fire Safety

Keep a fire extinguisher on hand for grills, outdoor ovens, fire pits and fireplaces. If you have a wood burning fireplace or fire pit, keep fire retardant materials under or near them to prevent jumping embers from turning into something more serious.Keep fire sources at least 10 feet or 3 meters away from any structure or combustible surface.

Keep It Steady

A variety of surface materials add visual interest but with every surface change make sure the transition is even. Surprise ledges can cause a fall. A sloping yard should have a retaining wall built to even out your terrain. Stabilizing the slope helps in flood prevention as well.

Avoid Clutter

Designate a place for everything. Keep gardening equipment as well as fertilizer and other chemicals stored away. Keep a system for rolling up the garden hose.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin

Securing your outdoor living space will promise you, your family and friends will enjoy their time outdoors. While not all accidents can be prevented, thinking ahead and planning will certainly cut down on the risks in your backyard.

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