Quality outdoor furniture can turn a backyard into a gathering place no matter whether you want to dine, play games, or simply relax. Use the following strategies to make sure your patio stays safe.
Install and Maintain Safety Rails
Safety first. You don't want a calm evening of family or friends enjoying each other's company on your outdoor patio sofa or eating on an outdoor patio dining set to be interrupted by accident or injury. Your deck, particularly near the stairs, should be lined with the proper safety rails to prevent perfectly avoidable accidents from occurring. When installing your deck, check with local building codes to ensure your railing meets the requirements. Requirements may vary between residential and commercial properties as well. Railing will help keep children, pets, and even adults safe while enjoying their time on your patio. Of course, you can't simply install adequate railing and ignore it for the rest of your life. Regularly inspect the railing for any signs of deterioration. Once in a while, push lightly on the railing around the deck to make sure it is still steady.
Use Proper Lighting
Outdoor lighting is an essential part of patio safety. Without proper lighting, it's too easy for someone to trip, slip, or fall especially around stairs. It's also difficult to enjoy a night with friends gathered on outdoor deep seating when it's too dark to see everyone's faces. First, make sure your lighting of choice is approved for outdoor use. Not all lighting fixtures can stand up to the elements of the great outdoors. Rain, wind, snow, and even long-term exposure to the sun can wreak havoc on the bulbs, wiring, and electric system of light fixtures that are not prepared to face the rigors of outdoor use. Next, you'll need to decide on the placement of the lighting. Ideally, you should have lights both close to the house and throughout your yard to maximize visibility. Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor light fixtures to choose from such as sconces, string lights, lamps, etc. If you choose to include ground lighting, avoid placing lights in grassy areas, as it's easy to damage both the wiring and the fixtures while mowing. Don't forget to childproof all wiring and outlets.
Perform Regular Cleaning
If you want to enjoy your quality lounger and table set for years to come, you'll need to dedicate time and resources to regular cleaning and maintenance. Simple, daily cleaning can include sweeping, wiping up spills, etc. Don't allow leaves or other organic debris to pile up as that can attract insects and lead to infestations and rot. As needed, mop the deck as well. However, before you start power cleaning your deck, it's important to make sure the tools and/or chemicals you use are safe for your patio.
Choose Safe Outdoor Patio Furniture Placement
Believe it or not, the placement of your quality outdoor furniture can have a significant impact on safety, especially if you have a lot of children around. Outdoor furniture should not be placed near the edges of the patio. It's too easy to lean back too far or scoot a chair out too quickly. Additionally, small children and pets can climb on the furniture and over the railways if the furniture is placed too close to an edge.
Inspect for Rot, Rust, and Other Issues
Even the best cared for deck can develop rot or rust over time, which is why inspections should be a regular part of your patio maintenance plan. It's important to understand what you're looking for during these inspections. Look for the following signs of potential problems:
- Sawdust or small holes, as this can be a sign of insect infestation.
- Loose, warped, cracked, discolored, or soft wood. This can be a sign of water damage or rot.
- Discoloration around screws, fasteners, other metal. This can be a sign of rust and/or corrosion.
Outdoor patios can be a great addition to your home and your backyard. It can give people a space to gather around at parties and social events you hold in your home. However, as we discussed above, it's important you regularly inspect your deck for maintenance and arrange furniture in a way that will help facilitate safety.