Planning an Outdoor Space: Safety Measures and Tips for Peace of Mind

As detailed in my last article, considering all the “could haves” when planning an outdoor space is the fun part. Dreaming of outdoor home theaters, retractable roofs, and pizza ovens is all fine and good, but don’t forget the importance of safety when planning an outdoor space.

Taking the time to apply some simple safety measures can help your family avoid serious injuries during construction of your space and afterwards while enjoying your outdoor retreat.

Here are a seven safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Consult professionals when it comes to structural changes and make sure all proper paperwork and permits are obtained prior to building.
  2. Cooperate with your contractor by staying out of the construction area and asking whether it’s safe before entering. Also keep children and pets away from any construction.
  3. Outdoor electrical systems are dangerous and you can be held liable if damage or injury occurs to anyone on your property. Water features, hot tubs, and lighting for ponds often mix water and electricity. Have electrical systems and electrical upgrades installed by a professional and avoid live wires during construction.
  4. Ensure your cooking area is safe by consulting experts that specialize in outdoor kitchen design who can efficiently and safely lay out the space. After installation, follow manufacturers’ safety instructions, never grill in an enclosed space or mix water and electricity, keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and make sure all gas fittings are secure and in good condition.
  5. Because of safety issues, outdoor fireplaces should be installed by a professional and built according to local building regulations. When planning your outdoor space, remember your fireplace or fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure or combustible surface.
  6. Installing an indoor television in an outdoor living space can be hazardous and pose numerous safety issues. Water, moisture, dust, dirt, and insects can get inside the infrastructure and short circuit the television, which not only damages the system but also can be dangerous. Instead, install a weatherproof outdoor television made to withstand the elements.
  7. Parents need to safety-proof outside living spaces just as they would the inside of a home. If you want to include a pool or spa, make plans to install a pool safety fence. Be aware of dangers that fireplaces, fire pits, water features, and poisonous plants pose for children. If you plan to use playground equipment, be sure the ground will have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or mats made of safety tested rubber or rubberlike material.

Haphazardly designing any space presents the potential for disaster and this holds true for an outdoor living space as well. Plan your space carefully, decide if you will be including electric, natural gas, and plumbing, and hire the necessary professionals for installation.

Practice the safety tips listed above and you’ll not only have an outdoor living space that is stylish and functional but safe as well.