How to Keep Your Backyard Safe for Summer

When summertime comes in the Chicago area, families gravitate to the backyard for fun – firing up the grill, playing in sprinklers or pools, gardening, and relaxing. If the backyard and its components haven’t been tended during the bitterly cold Northern Illinois winter, it may need a bit of attention to keep it safe. Here is a list of items to check on, along with reminders on how to keep your backyard a safe place to enjoy all summer long.

Backyard Safety Tips and Reminders


According to the National Fire Protection Agency, grills are involved in an average of almost 20,000 injuries and almost 9,000 house fires per year. Exercising the below safety protocols can prevent both mishaps from happening.

  • Make sure your grill is located on level ground, at least 10 feet away from your home, and clear of any flammable materials.
  • To avoid grease fires, clean your grill (both gas and charcoal) after each use.
  • Don’t leave your grill unattended while it is on.
  • Use long-handled utensils.
  • Use grills only outside.
  • If using charcoal, make sure coals are completely cooled when finished.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended if children or pets are playing in the area.

Fire Pits

A few of the guidelines above apply to fire pits as well – make sure it’s on level ground, don’t leave it attended, and use it only outside. Here are a few additional tips for fire pits.

  • Be careful with loose clothing getting caught in the open flame.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand close by in case of emergency.
  • Never leave children unattended near a fire.
  • Ensure it is completely extinguished before heading inside for the night.


Backyard pools are always a hit in the summertime, but the fact remains that accidents happen in and around them.

  • Obviously, never leave children unattended, even for a moment, around the pool.
  • Ensure all drain covers are secure.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, check for cracks and other structural damage to prevent any flooding.
  • If you use small kiddie pools, make sure to empty them when finished.


Kids love to jump on the trampoline, but it can be a dangerous toy. In the year 2009 (the last year with a full report), the American Academy of Pediatrics found that trampolines caused more than 100,000 injuries. Reduce potential risk by doing the following.

  • Use a safety net around the trampoline, pads where possible, and frequently check for tears.
  • Ensure the trampoline is placed on an even surface.
  • Supervise children as they play.


Decks, patios, gazebos, and play structures make for great entertaining or places to relax in the backyard. There are a few things to make sure to inspect at least annually so the structures don’t become a hazard.

  • Check the wood on decks or patios for any rotted, warped, or cracked planks that may cause instability in the foundation.
  • Check for loose railings, steps, or nails and have them repaired before using the space.
  • If necessary, childproof the deck by blocking off stairs with baby gates.


Most homeowners have some equipment, tools, and chemicals they use for lawn maintenance and home projects. It’s important that it’s used and stored properly.

  • Store any sharp tools, electric equipment, and toxic or flammable fluids away in a garage or locked shed.
  • If you use a ladder on the side of your home, make sure you do so safely. Ensure it’s on stable ground and completely dry. It’s also important to wear non-slip shoes.

The Grounds

Your yard itself poses some risks!

  • Make sure that landscaping is graded enough so water runs properly away from the home and doesn’t pool in one spot. The proper slope will prevent flooding and water damage to your home but also mosquitos from swarming your backyard.
  • Check the yard for any holes or loose concrete. Fill up these spots to prevent anyone from tripping and injuring themselves.
  • Clear the yard of any debris before mowing.
  • Before you dig into the ground for a project, have your property surveyed so you know where gas and power lines are located so you can avoid hitting them.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes backyard accidents still happen. If your home experiences one that causes smoke, fire, water, or sewage damage to your property, you can count on McMahon Services and Construction to help with repairs and restoration. With vast experience and a team of professionals, we offer a full list of comprehensive services to include:

If you’re in need of repair or restorations services in Chicago and the surrounding areas, contact us!