Backyard landscaping is subject to different considerations when there are young kids in the house. Things that a single adult might not think twice about, like installing an inground pool or choosing plants based strictly on their appearance, need to be subjected to an extra level of scrutiny when kids are part of the backyard equation. Below we’re going to take a close look at a few ways some common backyard features should be modified or reconsidered in order to ensure the yard is truly kid-friendly.
5 Tips for Kid-Proofing Your Backyard Landscaping
Parents, day care providers and others who often have young children in their homes are well versed in the art of kidproofing a house. What they may not be so adept at is actually kidproofing the yard. Here are 5 tips for neutralizing some threats to children that are often lurking in the landscape.
Fence in that pool
Experience and a refined sense of awareness prevent (most) adults from acting in a way that exposes them to unnecessary danger. Kids however, have not yet developed the level of awareness adults have and so extra steps must be taken to kidproof the pool. First and foremost that means erecting a fence around the pool. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with a self-closing and self-latching gate that can be firmly locked. It’s also strongly recommended that you install a pool alarm.
Consider non-slip surfaces
A slate walkway or patio can endow your yard with a timeless air. Unfortunately, when it gets wet, slate can be very slippery. Certain kinds of granite can also present a slip hazard when wet. Since you don’t want the kids slipping and hurting themselves if they’re playing in the yard after a rain shower consider installing non-slip paving materials instead. By the same token, wood is a popular choice for pool decks. Unfortunately, wood can also become very slippery when wet. The last thing you want is for a child to slip and fall into the pool. Therefore, wood should not be used around a pool if there are children in the house.
Flora should be carefully considered
Calla lilies and daffodils are popular backyard choices and there is no doubt they produce visually compelling blooms. However, they can also be toxic if consumed. And if there is one thing young children are prone to doing, it’s putting things in their mouths to examine their texture and taste. So landscaping companies recommend that if there are kids in the house you avoid planting these flowers. And that you check the toxicity of any flowers you are considering for the yard.
Artificial grass vs real grass
Artificial grass is often a smart choice for households with kids. That’s because synthetic grass surfaces are often more uniform and don’t present as many tripping hazards as a natural lawn does. Artificial grass surfaces are often softer than natural lawns too. And certainly, there is no risk that your child will fall and hit their head on a stone or rock. Some types of artificial grass are also less slippery than natural grass when they get wet. And finally, artificial grass sheets are porous. Therefore, should you have a pet, and that pet should relieve themselves on the artificial grass, the pet urine will pass through to the ground below, lessening the chance that your child will come in contact with it. Talk to a landscaping contractor about whether artificial grass will work in your yard.
Keep the garden equipment locked safely away
This is not a backyard landscaping tip so much as it is a common sense reminder that gardening equipment and materials can be dangerous to kids. Therefore, when you’ve finished working in the flower beds or on the lawn make sure you remove all gardening equipment and materials and lock them up tight. Weed killer, pool chemicals, hedge shears, pruning shears and other items in the wrong hands can produce life threatening injuries.
The Bottom Line
Kid-friendly landscaping is not a matter of installing swing sets and slides everywhere. It’s about being mindful that children do not have the same awareness or experience as adults. Ask your local landscaping contractor about other ways to create a kid-proof backyard.