10 Everyday Backyard Hazards and How to Fix Them

Foliage Follies
Oleander adds visual interest to a landscape, but it's highly toxic. ŠiStockphoto/Thinkstock

Your backyard is supposed to be a safe and beautiful place. But sometimes, there lurk plants that stalk both people and pets in the most insidious ways.

Take oleander, for example. This plant sports gorgeous white, yellow or reddish blossoms that lend elegance to landscaping. Yet all parts of the oleander are toxic. Eat just a tiny bit of the leaves or blossoms and you can wind up dead. Small children (who always love shoving unmentionable, random items into their mouths) are especially at risk for poisoning.

But oleander is just one hazard. Other poisonous plants include castor beans, daphne, lantana, yellow jessamine and monkshood, and all of these are extremely common in backyard gardens.

It takes just a moment for a child or pet to grab and eat foliage. So before you turn Fido or Frank, Jr. loose in the backyard, be sure you know what plants are within reach. And if you can't restrict access to the plants, it may be better to remove them altogether. Your local gardening shop can help you find safe alternatives.