6 Essential Landscape Checks for New Waterloo Region Homeowners
Part of the reason you fell in love with your new Waterloo Region home was that it had a fantastic garden (or outdoor living space as it is often referred to today.) And while you will be very busy with the interior of your new home when you finally move in, this landscape that you love so much needs some prompt attention too.
New homeowners will be able to get off to a good start with their new yards by following these important “move-in” steps.
1. Inspect the trees and evaluate the health of older looking ones
One of the greatest assets in a garden of any size 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 and then with a licensed arborist (aka Tree Doctor) to assess the health of your trees and if perhaps any need to come down (sad but sometimes a necessity)
2. Evaluate the hardscape.
Make sure any hardscape areas – stone or retaining walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, or wooden decks — are not cracked, broken 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 even affect the foundation.
When your landscape is not draining properly, excess water will often appear. In order to determine if you are having problems, inspect your yard for any of the following signs:
Pooling or standing water after rain
Water pooling beneath downspouts rather than dispersing
Soggy ground, or areas of growth that exceeds the surrounding area
Formation of rivulets and fissures or simple soil erosion
Water stains on the home foundation
There are all kinds of reasons for drainage problems, and they can be hard to pinpoint if you are not an expert. That's why we'd suggest calling one in to help ensure you avoid expensive water damage issues in and around your new home.
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.
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. Your lawn care professional or a DIY soil kit available at home improvement and lawn/garden centers can test the soil’s condition, something that will help you ‘make your garden grow’.
If you’ve worked in your garden at all, you already have an idea of the kind of soil you have—sandy, silty, or high in clay. If you’re not sure, a good test is to grab a clump of soil and slightly wet it in your hand.
Sandy soil feels gritty because it has large rock particles.
Silty soil has medium particles and feels smooth.
Clay-based soil feels sticky when wet or rubbery when moist, and has fine particles.
The ideal soil type is called loam, which is a mixture of all three. Loam drains well, gives lots of air and moisture to roots, and is rich in organic matter. If you pick up some loam and squeeze it in your hand, it crumbles away without forming a hard ball.
Based on what we've just said, you might think that you can improve high clay soil by adding sand, and vice versa. But mixing sand and clay together just turns your garden into concrete. The best fix is to add a healthy layer of compost (2-4 inches). Mulching and avoiding compaction, especially of clay soil, also builds good soil structure over time.
6. Study the CLSS map.
The CLSS, produced by the Canada Land Survey, 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 or even just where you erect a new fence or plant a new tree.
You should get a copy of this at closing and you really should take a good look at it. Neighbour disputes over exactly whose land is whose can get messy and expensive, so it’s best to know exactly what’s what right from the start.
Getting ready to buy a Waterloo Region home, or sell the one you own? Let Team Pinto use our huge experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here.