Get Ready for Spring & Summer “Backyarding”: Keep Safety in Mind
DEBBI MAYSTER, Four Leaf PR
Perhaps you are already dreaming of family gatherings, grilling and eating in your backyard. Or maybe you wish to design an outdoor movie theatre or build an agility course for your pet this year. Or perhaps this is the year you wish to add a pollinator garden or plant a vegetable or flower garden. Or are you hoping to get that outdoor office setup with extended WiFi?
Knowing the purpose of your yard and how it will meet the needs of your family and pets is a great start to getting “backyard ready” for these warmer weather activities. Also, knowing your climate zone and the mix of trees, shrubs, grass and flowering plants that will grow sustainably is key to designing a dream yard. After all, our yards are not only an oasis for the family but also for wildlife and important pollinators such as birds, bees and butterflies.
Now is the time to start planning. Visit your nursery, plant centers, and outdoor power equipment service dealers, and/or contact a landscaper, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).
“Think about how your yard can work best for you, your family, pets and [your] community, but do it now,” says Kris Kiser, CEO and President of OPEI. “And while you’re getting it in top shape for warm weather, remember to keep safety top of mind, especially with your equipment and tools.”
Here are some tips from OPEI to get your backyard ready, safely and efficiently:
Take stock of your outdoor power equipment to help you maintain your yard and make big jobs easier. A lawn mower will trim the grass, but perhaps you might need a cultivator for a garden, a chain saw to take down dead tree limbs, or a leaf blower to clear debris.
Follow the equipment manufacturer’s guidance for the safety and usage of all outdoor power equipment. Look over the manual for your equipment for a refresher on how to safely use it, and read the safety information on equipment manufacturer’s websites. Review how to shut on and off equipment and make sure safety features are working and have not been disabled. Never disengage or disable manufacturer-installed safety equipment.