Summer is coming! That means it’s time to prepare for the backyard fun that come along with nicer weather. Whether your idea of a good time is reading a book in a hammock under a tree or a competitive family croquet game, get your yard ready for the action. Here’s a checklist of spring maintenance tasks for the backyard that will ensure safe summer activities.
The grill, smoker, and/or barbeque is the central component to most social gatherings in the yard during the summer. After a long winter of collecting grime, it’s time to spruce up the grill. The first step is a good cleaning. Use soap and water to wash down the outside, eliminating areas of grease drippings or winter mold. Next, check your propane tanks, charcoal, wood chips, and lighter fluid supplies and refill/restock as needed. Take a quick look at your hoses, lid hinges, and handles to make sure bolts or nuts haven’t worked themselves loose. Then, check the inside of the grill for erosion of grates and flame covers. Replace if necessary. Finally, fire it up. Once up to full heat, allow it to burn off any residue and then finish cleaning the grates with a grill brush.
Trampolines are a ton of fun and the place that kids congregate at any backyard bash. But you’ll want to make sure to keep the fun safe by ensuring it's in proper working order. If your trampoline has a safety net, look for any holes that might need to be stitched up. This doesn’t take long and can keep a small snag from becoming a gaping hole. Next, check the rope where the netting attaches to make sure there is still a secure connection to the frame. Springs stretch over time, so walk around the perimeter and give each one a gentle pull. They should be difficult to move and not be visibly stretched in the stationary position. The mat that covers the springs also helps prevent injury so make sure the padding is intact and the entire pad is securely mounted. Also check the trampoline mat inself for damage or holes. Finally, check by hand each bolt on the frame to ensure tightness.
When the summer heat hits, the family hits the pool. Make sure it's ready for action with a good initial cleaning. For seasonal pools, this is best accomplished before it's set up. For semi-permanent or underground pools, drain if necessary, look for tears or holes, clean, and refill. Replace filters and clean out hoses. Inspect electrical cords and plugs. Also make sure to check on chemical levels before the first swim.
If your swing set or climbing structure is wood, begin by looking for any pieces that are soft or rotting away. Make replacements as needed. For any type of structure, make sure that every bolt is tight. Also check swings, ropes, and chains for damage. Lastly, make sure the structure is stable on the ground when the swings get going. Sometimes the earth settles over winter and the structure will need to be restabilized before the playground fun can safely begin.
Before you send out the invites for the first BBQ of the season, make sure the deck is structurally sound enough to handle the party. Look for decayed boards, sand down rough wood that could cause splinters, apply protectant stain or paint as necessary, and check all bolts and fasteners that offer structural support as well as screws that hold down decking boards.
When the clouds part and the snow stops, get outside! Motivate yourself with the knowledge that a little labor now will save you work and worry when it’s time to entertain and play.