In Arizona, water is a popular choice for sprucing up your landscaping. Whether you go all out with a swimming pool, or keep it simple with a small fountain, using water in your landscaping gives you the opportunity to add a little oasis to your desert yard.
Of course, there are downsides to water features too. While they can add to the cost of caring for your yard, and often require additional maintenance, the biggest issue is far more important: safety. Especially in homes with children, safety should be your primary concern when you’re considering adding any water feature to your yard.
There are some water features that are completely safe for families with children, including:
- Splash pads. While you should be wary of the slip and fall hazard posed by splash pads, the fact that there is no sitting water means that these fun features don’t really create a drowning threat. Residential splash pads are becoming more common, and are a safe, lower-cost alternative for bringing some water fun into your backyard, especially if you have younger children.
- Fountains. Some fountains can still be dangerous for kids, since they include a good amount of sitting water (young children can drown in as little as two inches of water). But with the right design, you can add a nice aesthetic to your yard while also minimizing the risk for your kids. Look into standing stone fountains, rain curtains, bubble fountains, or other features that don’t include a substantial amount of sitting water. (It’s helpful to talk to a landscape designer who can inform you of the latest trends!)
- Misters. If your main goal is to keep cool in your backyard, while also staying safe, an overhead misting system pretty much can’t be beat. While they won’t necessarily do anything for the appearance of your yard, they will certainly make it more comfortable for you to spend time outside, dropping the temperature by as much as 30 degrees.
- Sprinklers. Sprinklers don’t have to be purely functional—they can also be a lot of fun! If you don’t already have an automatic sprinkler system set up in your yard, it’s definitely worth considering, both for yard maintenance and for family entertainment. Keep your lawn green and your kids happy (and safe)!
While the above features can add a lot to your backyard in looks and functionality, we understand that some people really just want a pool. And that’s great! We’d be remiss if we posted about safe water features for children without also covering tips for making your swimming pool as kid-safe as possible.
Keep your pool safe by:
- Maintaining constant supervision of children whenever they are in or around the pool.
- Installing a pool fence with a self-closing/latching gate. Pool fences should:
- Be at least 5 feet high
- Have no more than 4 inches of space between the slats (to prevent children from slipping between the slats)
- Have no more than 4 inches of space between the ground and the bottom of the fence (to prevent children from crawling under the fence)
- Be free from any ledges or rails that could be climbed
- Using door alarms to alert you when anyone goes into your backyard
- Using pool alarms to alert you if someone falls into the pool
- Keeping the pool free of toys when not being used (so a child isn’t enticed to enter the pool area)
- Enrolling your children in swimming lessons (does not replace adult supervision)
With preparation and vigilance, your swimming pool can be a safe and fun water feature your family will enjoy for years to come.
There are things you can do to make your yard a safe place for your children, even if you choose to add water features. Whatever features you include, work with a professional to help you consider all safety precautions regarding installation, ownership, and maintenance. Your family’s safety is always the top priority!