6 Scary Backyard Hazards and How to fix them

You think of your backyard as a lovely safe, beautiful sanctuary... BUT there dangers that could potentially harm you and your loved ones.

Don't worry, we've identified 6 common backyard hazards and how to fix them so you can have fun and enjoy the sunshine!

1. Dangerous grill placement
Is your grill or portable braai right next to the edge of your deck? You may want to move it. A charcoal fire next to a wooden deck rail or low-hanging tree branch is a leading cause of fires.

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How to Fix it: Place your braai or grill at least three metres away from any objects that could be set on fire. 

2. Toxic plants
Thousands of people each year are poisoned by plants. Most of the time these plants just cause a rash or an upset tummy, but some plants can be fatal!

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How to Fix it: Do your homework before choosing backyard vegetation. Some of the most common plants involved in plant poisoning cases are: syringa berries, elephant ear plant leaves, oleander leaves, thorn apple seeds, cycad seeds, dumb cane leaves, Jerusalem cherry fruits and poinsettias.

3. Tiny pools of water
Standing water, even if it is just a small amount provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. This means being annoyed all night by bites, and even infections.

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How to Fix it: Check buckets, plastic pool covers and anything that can gather water. Dump the water out to keep pests away, and also make sure to change the water in ponds and birdbaths.

4. Unfenced pool
You'd be surprised to know that most drownings happen near home. If your pool is easy to access, it may attract the nighbourhood kids and pets when you're not home.

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How to Fix it: Build a fence around your pool that has a proper gate that can latch. Make sure to never put outdoor furniture next to the fence, because some naughty kids may be clever enough to use it to climb over.

5. Weather-worn deck
If you don't water-proof your deck every few years it can start to warp and rot, leaving the risk of someone falling!

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How to Fix it: Check your deck for splits and cracks, this is a sign that moisture has gotten in. If you can stick a screw driver through the wood then it needs to replaced as soon as possible.

6. Pesticide residue
Not using pesticides the right way can make you very sick. People often do not know how to use these chemicals, so they use too much or spray them incorrectly. 

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How to Fix it: Cut down on pests naturally by attracting birds and insects that eat the bugs that are attacking your prized roses. Install a birdhouse near your plants to attract birds which feed on insects. Or grow plants that attract predatory insects such as the lacewing fly, the praying mantis, ladybugs and assassin bugs. These critters do your garden good; predatory insects don't hurt plants or people but destroy the bugs that do.

It’s true, your very own backyard could be out to get you, but good old common sense and caution will protect you and your family from most of these hazards!

Download the PatrolMan neighbourhood watch app to stay on top of crime incidents and reports in your neighbourhood. Not to mention you can use the nifty SOS button to summon help if you are ever in an emergency situation.

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