And Other Hints for Safe Summer Yard Work
If there’s one thing that signals the official arrival of warm weather in Alberta, it’s the May Long Weekend. With this annual milestone now behind us, it’s a great time for homeowners to buckle down and make sure the yard is ready for the approaching summer months full of long sunny days, barbecuing, and outdoor fun. If you’re ready to throw on the gardening gloves and get to work, we’ve got a few helpful pointers to keep things safe and looking great in your backyard.
Turning the Water Back On
It’s been a good number of months since you turned the outside water off for the winter, so we’ll forgive you if you need a bit of a refresher on how to get everything up and running again. You…you did turn the outside water off for the winter, didn’t you? We hope so, because you can run into big problems of the flood variety if you forgot! Here are some steps to help you get everything flowing again after winter:
- Do a visual inspection, and repair any leaks or damaged fittings. Don’t turn the water back on until you’ve made sure that none of your home’s pipes or hoses were damaged over the winter months. It can happen, even if you turned everything off last fall!
- Make sure the outdoor taps are closed. This way, if a leak did spring up over the winter, you’ll hear it as you turn on the supply valve, and won’t be distracted by the sound of water rushing through the open taps outside.
- Turn on the water supply valve. There should be some fixtures running off the main water lines toward the exterior of the home with their own discrete valves. Turn these on to get water flowing to the outside taps again.
- Test and inspect each outdoor faucet. Now that you’ve got the water running and presumably haven’t encountered any big leaks, test each outdoor faucet to make sure they’re working properly, and take steps to repair any seeps or drips. Congratulations, you did it!
- Don’t be afraid to turn the water off again. Are you taking an extended trip out of town? Now that you’re familiar with your home’s plumbing, it’s always a good idea turn the water off before you leave, otherwise your basement could be in trouble if your washing machine hose decides to burst. It’s always nice going away to a swimming pool – coming home to find one in your basement, not so much!
Yard Work Tips and Tricks
You’ve now got your water turned back on and are raring to dig into that yard work, getting some dirt under your fingernails. Follow these bits of advice on general outside chores, and you’ll be safely on your way to a tidy, beautiful backyard to spend the summer in:
- Lawn mowing: If you’re looking to have a beautiful green space to play in, there are lots of tricks to getting the most out of your lawn. Follow the 1/3 rule (never cut more than 1/3 the length of the grass blades at a time), mow when it’s dry and cool, change your path each time you mow, and you’ll be enjoying beautiful grass in no time.
- Landscaping: Dabbling in some landscape work can go a long way toward beautifying your yard, but be sure to do your research first. Trees can increase property value, but can cause damage to water lines and foundations. Native plants can also be good for the value of your home, but be sure you’re choosing the right types of flora – some vines and climbing plants can damage bricks and paint.
- Fire pits: Nothing says summer like a weenie roast under the warm, starry sky. However, keep in mind that if you’re installing a fire pit, you may want to re-examine your homeowner’s policy, just to make sure you’ve got proper liability coverage in case something happens as a result of the open fire, such as an injury or property damage.