Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

While the trees and plants in your yard might turn brown during the harsh winter months, you still can enjoy your backyard with some prep work. Prepare your yard for the season by ridding it of hazards that await your family, pets and neighbors. Enjoy your backyard while keeping it safe for romping and snowball fights with these winter preparation tips.

Clean Up is the First Step

Pick up all of the tools and toys that might be lying in the yard. Rakes, shovels and hoes all have sharp edges that could injure someone if they tripped and fell on them. Small plastic toys could become brittle in the cold and break into splinters and injure a child or pet playing in the yard.

Cut up any large piles of sticks or limbs in the yard and dispose of them. Wildlife may find refuge in these areas to get out of the cold and pose a problem if they are disturbed later. If you have a wood pile for fireplace wood, make sure it’s located away from the house and always use gloves when removing wood to use in a fire.

Clean the leaves, twigs and moss out of the gutters. Make sure that the water runoff is moving freely and not being stopped by anything. In freezing temperatures, water in the gutter can freeze and if there are any drips over the edge, icicles can form. If they get long enough, they could break off and hurt someone when they fall.

You should also cut down any tree branches that are dead and at risk of falling. Snow and ice can add weight to a branch that is already weak. Someone could be hurt should it fall on them in the yard.

Securing Hazards in the Yard

Any chemicals, fertilizers or toxic substances should be locked up away from visitors to your backyard, especially small children. If these materials must remain outdoors, then fence off the area and let your children know that they are not allowed near those areas.

Petroleum products such as gas and oil should be removed entirely from the yard because of the fire hazard. If you have a fire pit in the yard, such substances should be removed from the area.

If you have a concrete or stone pathway in the yard, have sand or some other ice melt material available to sprinkle on it in freezing conditions. Use this liberally on your patio as well. Someone could slip and fall just walking out to the yard from your house.

Winter Pool Maintenance

Make sure your pool is covered and inaccessible to little ones. Use a cover for swimming pools that will hold the weight of snow and ice that you can expect in your region. You may need to periodically sweep off the cover to keep the weight from breaking it. The cover should be secure around all of the edges so that someone can’t crawl into the pool under the cover.

Remove or lock up any chemicals kept in the pool area. If you keep a pool or hot tub filter running all winter then you should do maintenance in the fall. Clean the pool or hot tub and all of the filter components. Replace the filter with a fresh one. This will keep you from needing to do any mid-winter maintenance.