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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your garden.

Making sure your garden is a safe place for the kids to play

Child enjoying herself in the garden. Photograph by Armin Hanisch

For children, your garden is the area of your home that offers some of the greatest freedom to explore and play.

However, just as with other spaces in the home, your outside space can also be a potentially dangerous one. It is therefore important to identify and manage any hazards in order to protect children (and adults) from unnecessary harm and allow them to play safely in the garden.

Escape routes

Children have a knack for discovering things that adults have overlooked and, in their eyes, little could be as exciting as the chance of escape.

Fortunately, a quick scope of your garden boundaries can identify the areas of concern; these can be easily rectified with planks of wood, chicken wire or bricks. Remember to double check obscured areas, such as those hidden behind shrubbery, and to make sure that there are no protruding nails, wires or splinters that could harm your child.

Water hazards

Pools and ponds are common garden features, but also some of the most potentially lethal ones too. Children can drown in just one inch of water, so it is vital to ensure your water features are secure, either behind fencing or under special covers, so that children cannot fall into them.

Unstable objects

Many garden objects and decorations are heavy, made of stone, metal or wood, or filled with soil - and are often easily dislodged. A child in the wrong place at the wrong time could be horribly injured if such an incident was to occur. Keep the risks to a minimum by making sure any objects are securely fixed or by removing them altogether for complete peace of mind.

Sharp corners

Once you decide to child proof your garden you will probably be taken aback by the number of sharp edges to be found. As with the indoors, it's necessary that such hazards are taken care of. This can be done by investing in some corner guards to stick onto edges or by sanding down and rounding off any sharp corners.

Garages and sheds

Sheds and garages are often used as storage areas for heavier pieces of equipment, chemicals and sharp tools - all things that can be extremely dangerous. Fortunately, it's easy to ensure that children are kept out by installing locks and keeping keys out of reach; unable to get in, they will soon lose interest and set their sights on something else to explore!

Keeping it clean

Of course the outside is the place to let loose and get messy, but you should be aware of - and try to remove - any harmful elements that could crop up over time. If you have pets, make sure that their mess is always cleaned up and, if possible, the area wiped down. Also check the grass regularly for anything that could cause damage, from nettles to broken pieces of glass.

Secure play areas

Climbing frames and trampolines are common additions to many gardens and for good reason - they are fun and entertaining. Designed to be used by children, they have already passed the most stringent of safety tests, but when installing always make sure that the equipment is secure, fixed and a distance away from any obstructions such as trees or rocks.

There may be an array of initial safety worries to contend with when preparing your garden for children, but at the end of the day the garden is a place to have fun and to enjoy. Bumps and bruises are all part of growing up, so you needn't go overboard. Simply keep the safety basics in mind so that, whether you are letting your pets out or looking for play equipment at a store like, you know exactly what to do to keep your garden a secure zone for children.

Photo credit: Armin Hanisch

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