Home owners will be off to a good start with their new yards by following these important “move-in” steps. First and foremost, members of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the national landscape industry association, recommend making safety a priority for your yard by doing the following:
1. Do a walk-thru of the yard and check for any dangers. Inspect the trees and evaluate the health of mature ones. One of the greatest assets in a yard are mature trees — they not only provide beauty but also shade and significant cooling to the home. Make note of any trees that don’t look healthy, may be diseased, leaning or are too close to the house. Consult with a licensed arborist to assess the health of your trees.
2. Evaluate the hardscape. Make sure any hardscape areas – stone or retaining walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, or wooden decks — are not heaving or creating tripping hazards.
3. Inspect the drainage around the house. The drainage should not cause any water to stand near or next to the foundation, which will prevent saturation of the soil and affect the foundation.
4. Make a plan to perform routine maintenance and clean up. Clean up any brush or debris in the yard. Weeding and mulching is an inexpensive way to make a yard look great; it also provides health benefits to the plants. Consider planting annuals to add some color and impact to the yard. Learn about your plants and shrubs and how to best take care of them.
5. Check the soil. The soil is the foundation of everything in the yard — grass, plants and trees depend on healthy, well-balanced soil to flourish. Composting will improve the soil. Your lawn care professional or a DIY soil kit available at home improvement and lawn/garden centers can test the soil’s condition.
6. Study the PLAT map. The PLAT is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of the piece of land; this is helpful for any restrictions that could prevent home additions.
For more tips: visit www.loveyourlandscape.com
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”