One of the advantages to having a home of your own is the ability to have friends and family over for food and fun in your own backyard. If this is your first summer as a new home owner, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure your guests remain safe when you entertain all summer long.
Make sure the area is well lit: Solar lights along all the paths and steps will ensure no one has a misstep after the sun goes down. Fairy lights or lanterns strung above your patio or deck add ambiance. Tiki torches of citronella around the perimeter of your outdoor area will keep mosquitoes away.
Keep a cooler of nonalcoholic drinks in a shady spot: Keeping some water, soda, lemonade, and ice tea in addition to beer and wine will ensure your guests stay well hydrated and drinks will stay cooler longer. Your air conditioner will also thank you because guests will not be fanning the door going to your kitchen all the time.
Provide shelter from the weather: Pop-up thunderstorms can be dangerous if you have lots of people gathering outside. Have a radio or app on your phone that can give up to date weather alerts and be ready to move everyone in your home should severe weather warnings be issued for your area. A gazebo or tent can provide shelter from the heat or a non-severe rainstorm pops up. Keep a few extra umbrellas on hand for lighter showers when people can still sit or stand around and talk while having a drink.
Check your yard ahead of time for hidden hazards/obstacles: You may know that some of your stepping stones are loose or wobbly but your guests do not. Make sure your stones are even and mildew free. Rocky or slick stepping stones can cause a person that is not expecting it to fall. A little sand under each stone can even things out and a mixture of water and vinegar sprayed on the stones can kill mildew. Tree roots hidden by grass or divots from animals digging can also lead to falls, especially on a hillside.
Monitor your pool closely: A pool party can be fun, but you as the pool owner need to make sure basic safety measures are in place before an accident can happen. Make sure ladders, handrails, and steps in and out of the pool are secure. Once you have checked your pool’s chemicals to make sure it is sanitary, but not over chlorinated, make sure your chemicals are locked up. Have an empty cooler on a nearby table to keep electronic devices not only dry, but keep them from overheating in the sun. Have pool noodles, floaties, and other assisting devices in the water for anyone that needs help in the water. Always have an adult present near the pool, especially when children are present. If guests are not allowed to use the pool, make sure the fence is locked and the ladder put away for above ground pools.
Attend the grill at all times when grilling on an open flame: Grill safety begins with a well maintained and cleaned grill used away from trees, weeds, and buildings. Do not grill on windy days. Even flat top grills can be dangerous since the surface can stay hot even when cooking is finished. Keep a fire extinguisher near and pets and children away from the grill.
Keep mosquitos away: Mosquitoes can breed anywhere there is even a capful of standing water, so make sure your yard is clear of old tires, empty flower pots, trays, etc. If you have a pond, make sure it has an aerator or you maintain it with mosquito dunks that kill the mosquito larva. Citronella candles, mint and lavender plants, and other natural pest control remedies will help keep other annoying flying bugs away without hurting humans or pets.
Make sure playground equipment and games are in good condition: Peeling paint, sharp edges, and fraying ropes can be dangerous. Make sure rubber mulch or other soft material is under the equipment and is spread out under the swings. This will help with water puddling and breeding mosquitoes.
Following these tips will ensure everyone wants to keep coming back to your home for summer get-togethers.