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Keeping Children Safe Around Water Features: 5 Crucial Design Elements

Posted by on 3:55 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Keeping Children Safe Around Water Features: 5 Crucial Design Elements

Landscaping projects around Australian commercial buildings commonly include water features. Ponds, lakes, fountains and waterfalls all add eye-catching design appeal that can boost the aesthetics of any commercial building, but safety is always the top priority. It’s important to remember that visitors will often bring their kids with them, and children are at high risk when it comes to water features. Make sure everyone can enjoy your water feature safely, and incorporate the five following crucial safety design elements. Good natural surveillance It doesn’t take long for a child to drown in water. A child can lose consciousness within two minutes, which will quickly result in permanent brain damage or death. Sadly, experts estimate that poor supervision causes most drowning, and ninety percent of children who drown were under supervision at the time of the accident. As such, designers must make it as easy as possible for parents and supervising adults to keep children in sight around water features. There are lots of ways to do this. For example, you should always make sure that there is a clear line of sight between a seating area and a body of water. Low planting under sight lines can also improve the look of the area, without making it harder to spot children. Hard and soft barriers Of course, children are less likely to fall into water if a barrier protects them. Certain types of barriers may spoil the aesthetics of your water feature, but there are creative ways around the problem. A soft barrier can still promote safety without changing the look of your water feature. For example, shallow, gently sloping beaches present less of a hazard to a child, while garden beds may discourage children from approaching the water. You should also consider the appeal of hard barriers to children. For example, ledges and walls near the edge of the water can encourage kids to climb. As such, you should avoid design elements that can lead to dangerous behaviour near the water. Well-defined access People will often want to walk next to your water feature, so it’s important to make sure they have ample, safe access. Narrow paths can increase the risk that somebody will fall into the water, so find ways to make as much room as possible. What’s more, tight corners and hidden bends are dangerous, particularly for kids on bikes, so only incorporate gentle curves into your design, unless you plan to put a suitable barrier in place. No objects that lure people to the water’s edge Children are naturally curious, so certain objects can lure little people towards a water hazard. Think carefully about where to put play equipment or objects that will appeal to a small child. You should place these features well away from water, unless you also plan to put a physical barrier in place. Remember that kids love to climb, so even large ornamental rocks can quickly become a hazard around a water feature. Crucial engineering features like drainage covers and grates can also appeal to curious children. Make sure these features are child-friendly. For example, you need to make sure that holes and apertures cannot trap small legs or arms. Excellent signage and lighting Don’t assume that people will only use the area during the day. Even if the building...

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Mexican Feather Grass In Your Lawn: What Victorians Need To Know

Posted by on 4:00 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Gardeners across Australia must find ways to help their lawns cope with the climate extremes that often occur. In an attempt to look for hardier or more interesting new grasses and plants, many Victorian gardeners buy imported seeds and plants, but, in some cases, encouraging the wrong species could land you in trouble with the law. Learn more about Mexican Feather Grass, and find out why you need to keep this species out of your lawn and garden. How the Victorian government controls unwanted weeds and plants Some plant and grass species present a threat to the Australian economy. These species are often aggressive and hardy, and can take over from native species and disturb the local environment. The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) manages the Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework to protect local species from unwanted plants and weeds. The Department takes different measures according to the size of the area that the invasive species occupies. The Department’s Invasion Curve shows how much effort and money it takes to deal with an invasive species once it occupies a large area. Prevention is, by far, the most effective option against unwanted plants. Once a plant takes hold, the local government spends a lot more time and effort on the problem. In a worst case, you may need to spend one dollar to protect every dollar of revenue that you might otherwise lose. At the prevention stage, one dollar can protect 100 dollars of revenue or income. As such, Victorian gardeners must stay vigilant against invasive species. These species include Mexican Feather Grass. How Mexican Feather Grass invaded Victoria Mexican Feather Grass is not native to Victoria or any other Australian state. Unfortunately, in 2008, some Victorian retailers imported a large quantity of foreign ornamental grasses. Experts believe that these seeds were contaminated with Mexican Feather Grass. These retail stores then propagated and sold the unwanted plants. Retailers often inadvertently sold these plants as Stipa lessinginia or Stipa Regal Sensation. Unwitting gardeners then planted the grass plants, allowing the species to quickly spread. A similar issue also occurred in New South Wales. The Victorian government now categorises Mexican Feather Grass as a prohibited weed. Fortunately, the spread of the species remains fairly low, and, with vigilance, gardeners can help the government eradicate the species. The damage Mexican Feather Grass can cause Experts believe that Mexican Feather Grass could cost the Australian economy as much as $10 million each year. The species is hardy in harsh drought conditions, meaning that it can survive very hot periods. As such, Mexican Feather Grass could easily kill off other native plant species, including endangered or protected specimens. Mexican Feather Grass is an unwelcome addition to the average lawn. In drought conditions, the plant is likely to stop other turf species surviving. When you allow the plant to grow, it forms bold tussocks, which are unlikely to improve the lawn’s appearance. Indeed, in the United States, gardeners generally only use Mexican Feather Grass as an ornamental species in rock gardens and around water features. What to look for Mexican Feather Grass forms dense, upright tussocks. Each tussock is likely to grow to around 70cm high, so the species will quickly become prominent when seeded into a lawn. You can easily roll...

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