Friday, June 11, 2010

HOME MAINTENANCE: Inexpensive Landscaping Projects Spruce Up and Protect Your Home

When you’re landscaping to improve curb appeal this spring, consider projects that also boost your home’s protection from natural disasters.

“With minimal monetary investment and a little work, you can easily ready your home to better endure natural disasters,” says Mike Convery, vice president and chief claim officer for MetLife Auto & Home. “Even better, many of these projects could save you money in the long run by reducing energy costs and avoiding damages—whether you pay out of pocket or file an insurance claim.”

He recommends these do-it-yourself projects that can all be done with the help of everyday landscaping tools, and depending on the size of your property and desired landscaping changes, a few basic purchases that cost less than $30:

Do preventative tree trimming. Examine all trees for disease or damage, which may make them weaker and more susceptible to causing damage during a storm. Remove all compromised trees or limbs, especially ones that hang over your home, external structures, or parking areas, to reduce the probability of damage.
Find out which native trees have good root penetration, as they are less likely to uproot during a storm. Take an inventory of all your trees and remove any unfit ones close to your home.
Clean your gutters and check for proper water flow through your downspouts to avoid water pooling near your basement. For as little as $8, you can add extensions that will route water further away from your home if necessary.
Check the soil grading against your basement walls to ensure rain water will travel away from your home rather than toward it. By just adding a little extra soil around your basement walls, you can direct rain away from your home.
Depending on your wildfire risk, create a defensible zone with a 30-, 50-, or 100-foot radius around your home clear of all trees and shrubs to prevent the likelihood of fiery embers reaching your roof.
Clean away dried and dead vegetation from your yard. Dried vegetation could serve as kindling to fuel a growing fire and set your house ablaze. You should also trim low tree branches to reduce potential fuel for ground fires. May 19, 2010

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