Spring, summer and fall weather inspire outdoor landscaping and maintenance projects. Whether you do the work yourself or hire it out, mistakes in landscaping can happen and can lead to serious damage to you or your property. Keep these seven safety tips in mind for extra protection as you dive into your next project.
- Hire an insurance company. Landscaping with ladders, machinery and heavy equipment can pose a risk to a crew and to your property. That’s why it’s important to check that any company or contractor you hire has both workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance. This will protect your property if there is any damage and will cover workers if they are injured on your property while doing work.
- Protect your property when planting. Plants and trees can be a nice finishing touch to bring a home together, but you need to know where to plant them. If you plant trees near your home, leave enough space so roots don’t grow into and damage your plumbing, septic system, or foundation. Leave space between the trees and your home so that falling debris and large limbs do not damage your roof, gutters or glass. Learn how big trees will grow and account for them before you plant to avoid some of these potential problems.
- Know where to dig. There are power lines that run under and around properties, and damaging them can cut off essential services to your home or your neighbors’ homes. You must make a locator request at least three days before a dig, which allows time for professional locators to come and mark the area. This service is free and can save you from potentially expensive damage. Once this is done, you can safely complete your project.
- Pay attention to your trees and shrubs. Significant damage can occur when tree branches fall on a home, cars or other objects. Pay attention when trimming trees or bushes that nothing is in the way of landing. Also consider the health of your trees. If there are large, hanging limbs, remove these to ensure they do not pose a safety hazard to you or others. Also, when a tree is rotten or infested with insects, there is a greater chance that it will fall and cause property damage.
- Protect your equipment. Tools used for outdoor projects can be expensive. Keep your home or business safe from theft by locking and storing the equipment when you’re done with it.
- Watch out for small debris. Sticks and small stones have a way of naturally ending up in your garden. While these don’t normally cause problems, they can cause damage when mowing or edging your lawn. This debris can be thrown at your house, cars or even people. Take the time to look for and pick up these items before you start gardening.
- Know your insurance. It’s important to know the limits of your homeowner’s policy and what types of losses it covers. For example, service line coverage is not always included in standard homeowner’s insurance policies and may need to be purchased as supplemental coverage. This type of coverage is essential if tree roots cause damage to your sewer, water or natural gas lines.
Now that you know these seven tips to avoid landscaping mistakes, you’ll be ready to tackle your next project safely. For even more peace of mind, talk to a local, independent agent to fully understand your homeowner’s policy and coverage.