Spring is here, and there’s no shortage of projects to take on with the new season. Now that the snow is gone, it’s a good time of year to think about your upcoming landscaping projects.
When homeowners look at landscaping, they’re usually thinking about how they can update the curb appeal of their home - and good landscaping can certainly do that. But good landscaping goes beyond the curb appeal. What function do you want your yard to serve? Are you looking to keep kids safe while they play? Are you looking to protect your home from sun and heat? Or maybe you’re looking to add a little privacy? All of these are ways smart landscaping can be designed to work with your needs.
Before staring any project, know what you’re getting yourself into and keep an eye on the weather. There are many outdoor garden projects that should only be done when it’s dry.
Tip #1: Hire a Pro
Many homeowners think they can take on outdoor projects on their own. While there are certainly jobs I think many homeowners would be well equipped to handle (painting, clearing yard waste, gardening), be aware of what every job entails, and know your limits.
If you’re undertaking any major landscaping projects, bring in a pro. A job done poorly on the outside of your home can actually cause big problems inside – even something seemingly as simple as laying down some interlocking tile. Without properly compacting the soil and gravel underneath the stone, that soil could sink and allow water to pool, or worse, flow right toward your foundation.
Tip #2: Keep Gardens Away from the Home
I say it again and again, but defending your home from water penetration should be your number one job when it comes to your home’s exterior. You always want water to drain away from your home. That’s why proper grading is so important. If water flows back toward your foundation, you could start to find water sneaking into your home in new and frustrating ways.
Even the slightest shift in your grading can have a negative impact. It’s for this reason that I don’t like to see gardens right against the foundation of a home. By building a garden right next to your home, you’re disturbing the soil directly against your foundation. And with more airspace created by soil that’s not as firmly packed down, water has more opportunity to leak through to your basement.
Tip #3: Keep an Eye on Trees
I love big trees - they can provide a lot of much needed shade on your property (and can keep the sun from excessively heating your home in the summer time), but left unmaintained, they can cause some easily preventable damage to your home.
Keep a close eye on any trees on your property, but especially those that are really close to your home. Keep any branches that extend over your roofline trimmed and maintained. You want to prevent debris from falling onto your roof and potentially jamming up your gutters. If you spot any dead branches, have them removed as soon as possible. In case of a major storm, you don’t want to give Mother Nature any ammunition that could severely damage your roof.
Tip #4: Think About Water Conservation
I understand the appeal of a beautiful, big, green lawn. It can make your entire property look clean and well-cared-for. But consider how often you need to water it and where that water comes from. Most of the water we use to feed our lawns and gardens has been treated for consumption - and that’s a huge waste.
Instead, I’d like to see more homeowners adapt to using greywater systems or collect rain through rain barrels to keep their yards looking great. Water is one of our most important resources, and I hate to see it going to waste. A professional landscaper can help you design a greywater system for your home so that you can maintain your lawn and still conserve water.
About the Author
Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.More Content by Mike Holmes