Cleaning and maintaining drainage and erosion control features
kBEfl One of the most important hardscape maintenance tasks is keeping storm water from doing harm. So before every rainy season, grit your teeth, get out your ladder, and clean the gutters. When you're safely back on the ground, run a hose down your catch basins to dislodge any trash, rat carcasses, sidewinders, or small kids from the drain pipes. Check your surface drainage and make any corrections, remembering that the grades you carefully set up when you put in your landscaping may have changed due to intentional or accidental soil movement, sedimentation, settling, plant growth, trash buildup, or other causes. Look at erosion control blankets, wattles, check dams, and other erosion control structures to make sure they're still in place and working properly. It sure is difficult to work on this stuff when it's pouring rain.
- Trash: Look for debris piles that can attract vermin, create a fire hazard, or endanger children.
- Fire: Clear out dead or overgrown vegetation, low-hanging tree limbs, flammable fuels, and other materials that are just lying around.
- Trip hazards: Paving settles, sprinkler heads seem to emerge from the ground, and foliage hangs over walks — all these situations can create things to trip over. Make adjustments as needed.
- Tree safety: Leave this one to the pros. Get an annual inspection by a certified arborist, who will look for weak or broken limbs, heart rot, decay, and root problems that could cause part or all of the tree to fall onto structures, power lines, or people.
- Plumbing problems: Look for leaks, runoff that could make sidewalks slippery, sprinkler heads sticking up where someone could trip over them, and loose drip tubing. Have your backflow prevention device checked annually, as required by law, by a licensed backflow test technician. (Call your county health department for a list of names.) Turn to Chapter 10 for full coverage of irrigation system maintenance.
- Play equipment and child safety: Check for loose or protruding fasteners, sharp edges, broken parts, splinters, cracks, and peeling paint. Clear the area of beehives, animal feces, broken glass, and thorny or toxic plants. Also make sure that self-latching gates are working properly, especially around pools and ponds.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.
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