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Garden Safety in the Snow

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 6 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Snow Garden Safety Cold Snap Slip Fall

A snow covered garden looks enchanting but that blanket of white can hide a multitude of dangers below.

In recent years we’ve had a number of cold snaps that have seen parts of the UK reduced to a standstill for days, so it would be prudent to assume that it is likely to happen again. If you don't need to go out into your garden, one option is to simply wait until the snow has melted.

But for many that's not possible. They may have to walk through the garden to get to the street, or to reach supplies in a shed or garage. You might even, if it was a surprise cold snap, have to go out to rescue pot plants or garden features that could be damaged by extreme temperatures.

Slippery Underfoot

Slips and falls are the most obvious danger. Walking on fresh snow isn’t too difficult as long as you know what's underfoot. But beware, as even if you can see the route of your garden path there could be objects underneath the snow which could put you off balance.

So feel for each footing as you go, particularly if it's the first time anyone has walked that way since the snow fell. Once a number of people have walked on a snow covered path the threat shifts. You should now be able to see whether there are any hidden objects, but the snow will have compacted to ice and become more slippery.

Spades and Shovels

It's for this reason that it's much better to get out and clear the snow before it gets compacted. It's also much harder to shift once it is compacted. A spade or upturned leaf rake will so the job but a purpose-built snow shovel, light, with a wide blade, will speed the job up. Unfortunately these tend to disappear from the shops as soon as the snow starts to fall!

So getting out to clear the snow at the earliest opportunity is the best thing for safe paths. Even if it snows again and you have to clear it all again, it will be much easier than if you have to clear compacted snow and ice later on.

Wrap Up Warm

Make sure you wrap up warmly when you go out to a snow covered garden. Wear gloves that aren't too permeable, leather perhaps. Snow will soak into materials like wool and make your hands even colder.

Wellington boots are best for clearing fresh snow but if it has compacted you might be better off with boots with a bit more grip. A hat is a good idea too, as a lot of heat loss is from the head.

Don't forget Children

Children love going out in the snow but of course it's important to keep them safe too. Fortunately our sister site SafeKids has an article fully covering that aspect of garden safety. So read up, stay safe and enjoy the snow for the short time it is with us!

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