Pet-Proofing and Caring for Your Outdoor Spaces

Having a home that every family member can feel safe and well cared for in is especially important to most homeowners today. However, it's not always easy to find a house ready to meet the needs of disabled and elderly family members, animal companions, or even your own ideals or requirements.

In many cases, minor home improvements may not require the same intricate steps that larger renovations do. For instance, the average home renovation process typically includes elements of design, gathering service estimates, finalizing a budget, acquiring a loan or grant, meeting with an insurance agent, hiring a contractor, and preparing for and beginning the actual renovation activities. That being said, any decision to move forward with making modifications to your home, whether inside or out, will require proper planning and attention to detail.

While there are several common reasons to decide to remodel a home, caring for other family members with special needs typically requires a sizable undertaking, since many homes are not equipped to accommodate the specific needs of the disabled. For example, to make a home comfortable for family members who use wheelchairs, it may be necessary to create accessible landscapes, doorways, ramps, and/or lifts for easier access in, out, and around the house. People in wheelchairs should be able to feel at home, and so it's important to consider living spaces that allow for freedom of movement, especially in bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens, when purchasing a new home or planning for a remodel.

There may also be reasons to make improvements to the outside of the home, including yards, fences, landscapes, decks, sheds, and other outdoor structures, either to improve accessibility, boost curb appeal, or ensure that the yard is safe for outdoor pets to roam. Some simple ways to ensure the safety of your pet outside can include choosing pet-safe flowers in the garden, putting up a fence around the swimming pool, checking fences for weak spots, and cleaning or completely rebuilding decks and sheds to prevent fleas from congregating in dark and humid areas. While these are typically easier projects and can often be accomplished on your own, more complicated outdoor remodels might call for the help of a professional. For instance, large landscaping projects, building a patio or deck, putting in a swimming pool, or adding an addition to a house will almost always require professional help.

Taking the time to care for your home and outdoor spaces can be a fun and exciting process that can serve as a great way to bond as a family. Giving kids the chance to feel like they're part of the transformation experience, with a little more responsibility (while being properly supervised), can provide an incredible teaching moment as well. A few great home improvement activities that kids can be included in include helping out in the garden, assembling a bird house or bird bath, painting fences, or building a tree house.

Learn more about home improvement and pet-proofing your home and outdoor spaces by using the following resources: