Having a yard is a blessing in many ways. It gives you somewhere to keep plant a garden, set up a swing set, or just let the kids play. Regardless of what you're using your yard for, there are some steps that you can take to make sure that it is safe for your kids, whether they have two legs or four. Here are five things that you can do to keep everyone safe in your yard.
1. Inspect the Play Area
Before your kids or your pets head out to play, take a few minutes to walk the play area to make sure that there aren't any branches, rocks, or litter that could be dangerous. There have been some cases where unfriendly individuals have left poisoned treats or treats laced with needles or glass shards for pets to find. Taking a few minutes to walk the yard before pets or children can prevent injuries and illnesses in the long run.
2. Be Aware of Your Chemicals
If you use fertilizer, pesticides, or other chemicals in your landscaping, pay close attention to the ingredients. Dogs and cats alike will chew on grass to aid their digestion, and they will eat anything - including chemicals - that are in your yard.
Choose pet and kid safe landscaping chemicals, or use green alternatives. Corn gluten, for example, can be used as a weed killer without the adverse side effects. Spreading compost in the spring and fall can act as a natural fertilizer. These are just as effective as their chemical counterparts, and much safer for your two and four-legged children.
3. Maintain Fencing
This is especially important for pets but can help keep children safe as well. A solid fence can secure your yard and keep your pets from wandering the neighborhood. If you don't already have a fence surrounding your yard, choose healthy and sustainable materials. Bamboo is naturally tall – which is ideal if you have pets that like to jump - smooth and sturdy. It can also make a high privacy fence.
Bamboo is also more sustainable than oak, cedar, or other woods that are commonly used for fence construction. Bamboo multiplies and can be ready to harvest in as little as three weeks, where oak and other hardwoods take years to reach their maturity.
4. Pay Attention to Landscaping
Oleanders are beautiful, especially when they're in bloom in the spring, but it is one of the most common poisonous plants used in landscaping and can be dangerous for both children and pets if they're kept in your yard. Pay attention to your lawn, especially if it's something you inherited when you moved into your home. Plants like oleander, poison oak, hemlock, and foxglove might look beautiful, but if you've got kids or pets who might touch or eat them, they should be removed from your yard or relocated out of the play area.
5. Keep a Weather Eye
It's tempting to send the kids or the pets out to play so you can get some work done around the house, but the best thing that you can do to keep them safe in the yard is to keep a close eye on them when they're outdoors. This doesn't necessarily mean that you always need to be outside with them, but keep your eyes peeled for signs of trouble.
This can keep them from getting into anything that they shouldn't be getting into - from trash cans to poisonous plants or even picking fights with the neighborhood squirrels. This applies to both pets and children - small children especially are notorious for being able to find trouble where there shouldn't be any. Keeping an eye on them, even if it's just from the kitchen window while you're doing dishes, can keep them out of danger.
A beautiful backyard can be a place to spend time, a place to raise a garden or an area for your pets and children to play for years to come. A few simple steps, like using green landscaping chemicals, removing poisonous plants, and building a solid fence from sustainable materials are all easy and cost-effective ways to turn your backyard from a chore into a paradise.