Here we look at maintaining a child friendly garden. With the arrival of the summer holidays, children are spending more time in the garden – which is why it is a good idea to do a quick safety check as soon as possible.

Gardens are beautiful and provide lots of play opportunities. But they can also be dangerous.  Hidden, unexpected hazards can cause problems.

Fences and gates need to be securely fixed so that they will not break when hit by footballs or energetic children. There should be no gaps or holes in the panels through which curious children can creep and get lost in the surrounding streets.  Check too for broken slats and rough nails which might cut or wound children.  Protruding rusty nails can be extremely dangerous. Infection can quickly set into wounds caused by the rusty nails, resulting in a visit to hospital.

Reduce the risk of accidental trips by making sure that there no loose paving stones or decking boards. Check too for any slippery areas that may have developed given the sheer amount of rain that has occurred over the past few months. Brush and wash down the surfaces to remove any build up of algae especially in shady areas.

Make sure that steps are clearly visible and not obscured by vegetation or pots. Bear in mind that children running around and playing can fall down steps and hurt themselves.

Ponds are one of the biggest hazards for garden owners with children visiting for the first time. If possible, cover the pond with a sturdy netting to reduce the risk of children falling in.  Make sure that children can identify the edges of the pond, and that there are no loose stones or rocks which might cause them to fall in.  Very young children can drown in just a couple of inches of water and it is wise not to leave children unobserved in a garden if there are any water features.

Within a large garden, it is worth considering providing a safe play area for young children on a patio or decking. This can be easily achieved by installing a low fence around it. This encourages children to stay within a set area within which you can keep an eye on them.

If you have any worries about the safety of the hard landscaping within your garden, it is best to seek the advice of a landscape contractor who can undertake rapid repairs. Avoiding accidents is far better than dealing with the consequences of an accident happening.