By Clara Beaufort
It may be way too chilly to spend an afternoon outdoors now, but you can bet that warmer weather is just around the corner. Before it gets here, there are several small projects you can tinker with to make sure that your lawn, deck and driveway are all in good condition to ensure the safety of your family and pets.
Here are five things you can do to prepare a safer yard for spring.
1. Clear Out Your Lawn
As the last remnants of snow melt away, you should start assessing the damage done by winter’s fury. There’s no telling what may have ended up in your lawn over the past few months. Loose branches, rocks and any trash should be cleared out before your child or pet ever steps foot outside to play. You should also be cautious of any kinds of holes in your yard and fill them in to avoid someone tripping and twisting an ankle.
Your grass will be pretty beat up from winter’s harsh cold. However, you can help accelerate its seasonal comeback by racking away any old leaves and overgrowth. Pre-aerating your lawn will stimulate growth and ensure your child and dog will enjoy a soft, lush lawn to run around in.
2. Inspect Your Trees, Plants, and Shrubs
Once you’ve taken care of the lawn, you should set your eyes on the shrubs, plants and overhanging trees in your yard. Now is a great time to check on the state of your trees. The lack of greenery allows you to inspect the limbs and see if any larger branches are split, or breaking off. Trimming and removing these dangers now, prevents them from happening months from now when your children or animals may be at risk.
Even if all of your trees’ limbs seem sturdy enough, now would also be a good time to trim your trees and keep its growth in check. Your shrubs and other plants could also use a manicure, so don’t stop with just your overhanging plants. Clean up the edges on bushes and clear away any plants that show signs of not surviving the winter.
3. Prep the Playground Area
If your children enjoy having a play area in the backyard, you should inspect it for signs of wear and tear. Wooden structures eventually wear down over time, and the cold can cause splintering. Smooth down any surfaces, and go ahead and give a good cleaning of any plastic surfaces. Make sure that any swings, slides, or other structures are firmly anchored into the ground, and finally, you should cover the entire area surround these structures with 10 inches of mulch or soft woodchips. This will provide an extra cushion in case your child falls down.
4. Repair Your Deck, Patio, and Fencing
While you’re inspecting the integrity of your child’s play area, you should also look over any decks, stairs, and railings around your property. Tighten anything that feels loose, such as rails and steps. Take a fine grit sandpaper and smooth over any wooden surfaces that regularly come into contact with hands or feet. Splinters are never fun, and can lead to a possibly serious infection if not treated soon enough.
5. Patch Up Concrete Pathways
Finally, you’ll want to check for any cracks in your concrete driveway, or walkways leading up to and around your home. If the crack is less than a half-inch, filling it in with concrete grout should do the trick. Larger splits in the pavement might call for caulking or patching up. It’s important to take care of these problem areas now, before a family member trips and scrape’s something on the hard pavement.
Nothing is more important than the safety of your family, and every family deserves to have fun, relaxing and safe experience outdoors. Spring isn’t far away. Make sure you check off all of these tasks before warmer weather comes around and your children and pets head outside to play.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com