Your garden should be a place where you and your family can feel safe and secure. A little extra care and attention will help lower the risk of injury, as well as the chance of having valuable equipment and plants stolen. If you want to enjoy your garden in peace, here’s how!
Always protect your hands with good gardening gloves. Leave rakes propped up with the prongs facing a wall. When using a ladder, secure its base against a board and tie the top to your support if possible.
Always dispose of garden chemicals safely. Don’t just tip them down the drain – you may get it back as drinking water!
Tip: Working in the garden always involves a risk of tetanus infection. Make sure your innoculations are up to date.
Electricity in the garden can be lethal. Always connect any mains-powered equipment via a Residual Current Device (RCD) to disconnect the power in the event of a short. Safety switches on power tools are there for a purpose – don’t try to overcome them. Disconnect your power tools before touching their blades. Always rest when you’re tired when using power tools.
Safety for children
Don’t leave tools lying around where they can cause injury. Store garden chemicals out of reach of small hands. Do not decant into soft drinks bottles!
Pools and young children do not mix – small children can drown in just a few inches of water. Make sure you have an adequate fence around any water feature if you have small children.
Educate children not to eat anything unless you say it is safe. Even if you remove the poisonous plants from your garden, there could still be others around, so education is the best policy. Laburnum seeds are a particular risk – some children mistake them for peas and just one or two can be fatal.
Don’t let pets use the garden as a toilet – parasitic toxocara worms can blind children years later.
Secure your boundaries
High rear fences or dense thorny hedges provide a good barrier to thieves. Make sure your gates and fences are not easy to climb. Adding a strip of flimsy trellis on top is a good deterrent.
Front boundaries should be low so that thieves cannot conceal themselves. One of the best deterrents is a gravel path or driveway that is very noisy when walked over.
Secure your contents
Good lighting, activated by a passive infra-red device (PIR) that detects movement or body heat, is almost as good as a guard dog!
Sheds are vulnerable to theft. Install good quality locks – the ones that come with the shed are rarely robust enough. Reinforce your shed with a steel plate inside the door, bolted through with coach bolts. Reinforce the door jamb if necessary.
Leave ladders chained to a fixture so they cannot be used by thieves. Valuable garden plants, statues and garden furniture should be marked with your house number and postcode and secured in place with sturdy chains cemented into the ground.
Vulnerable plants can be anchored into the ground using plant anchors or long wire hooks. Bury chicken wire a few inches deep around the plant to prevent them from being dug out.
Tip: Check your home insurance cover for garden contents and up your cover if necessary.