Musician Henry Rollins said, “In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” As winter’s grip slowly loses strength and seed catalogs begin to arrive, parents dream of planting gardens, and kids dream of school’s end. Who can resist the longer days’ invitation to move? To run and dance? To climb jungle gyms and swing for the skies?
When the outdoor world beckons, it’s important to assess yards and homes for issues that winter weather or critters seeking shelter may have caused. For families with young children and pets, seemingly innocuous decorations, accessories, and landscape features may prove hazardous.
Courtesy of Realtor Treasea Johnson, this checklist will help you ensure that your family can enjoy the outdoors safely during the spring and summer months.
● Check window screens for holes and to verify that they are securely attached. Visit the National Security Council for other window safety tips.
● Keep pests from moving in by pruning shrubs to keep them at least 2 feet from your home’s foundation. Adding a tree to your landscaping? Learn how.
● Erect a decorative fence to protect exterior HVAC equipment and keep curious kids and critters safe.
● Lush, green lawns provide a wonderful cushion for studying kids, flopping down to read a book, or playing games. If you fertilize, choose a natural, safe type. Options include compost, aged animal manure, or organic brands. Most lawns only require fertilizer once a year, and it’s best to do so in the fall, which gives the soil plenty of time to soak up the nutrients.
● Mow less frequently and leave more grass. Why? Longer grass shades soil reduces water evaporation and strengthens root systems because there’s more surface for photosynthesis.
● Every year, about 16,000 children are injured by lawnmowers and half of those kids are on riding mowers. Experts recommend that kids should be over 12 years old before they operate a push mower and at least 16 before they use a riding mower.
● Prior to the kids storming the yard for the first time in spring, check for pointy sticks or large branches, move woodpiles away from the house or play areas, verify that the play equipment is still well-tethered to the ground and replace the mulch so adventurous ninjas and graceful gymnasts still have a soft landing.
● Beware of bugs! Eliminate sources of standing water, which attract mosquitoes that like to breed there and some fly maggots. Also, use insect repellent to keep away ticks and fleas. Do a body check when everyone—including pets—comes inside. If you find a tick, keep an eye out for signs of Lyme disease. The telltale bull’s-eye can take up to three weeks to appear.
● Fall-proof the yard by fixing uneven or broken cement, repairing or replacing broken, loose steps, and digging out tree roots and stumps.
● Pull poisonous plants. Poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak grow as vines or shrubs. There are several others common to many backyards.
● If your backyard doesn’t have a fence, now’s the time to get one. That way, you can let your children enjoy the yard without having to worry about them wandering off. Make sure you price things out before you decide to build anything (expect to pay around $4,500 on average for a new fence).
● Have an above or inground pool? Make sure it’s securely enclosed by a fence that locks and that the ladder or steps are secure and safe.
● Install an alarm system that can sense when someone’s fallen into the water.
● Add a water safety net, which also prevents access to the water.
● Remove any objects—furniture, boxes, and coolers—that a child could use to climb the fence.
Toys, play equipment & grills
● Kids using bikes, skates and scooters should always wear helmets and pads.
● Check swings, seesaws, and jungle gyms don’t need maintenance or repair.
● If your yard includes a trampoline, these 21 trampoline tips will help keep jumpers safe.
● Like to cookout? Great!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Gas and charcoal grills cause on average 4,800 outdoor fires in or on home properties annually. Stay safe with these tips.
A well-stocked first-aid kit is great to have on hand for treating inevitable bumps and bruises. Check out the American Red Cross’s Anatomy of a First Aid Kit for ideas, and have a wonderful, adventurous outdoor season!
Are you ready to start looking for a new home? Let Realtor Treasea Johnson guide you through the process. Call 817.909.0428 today to get started.
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