For most of us, storm season means prepping our residences to mitigate potential damage caused by high winds and heavy rains. But there’s a part of our homes and neighborhoods we often overlook – sometimes with disastrous results. That often-forgotten place is right outside your front door: it’s your landscaping.
Just like the roof over your head, the trees and plants surrounding your home and dotting your community can be devastated by storms. Worse still, landscaping that hasn’t been properly attended to can become the source of flying debris that can create significant damage or – even worse – injury.
So this hurricane season, start your preparations from the outside in. Here are eight quick fixes you can make to your landscaping that will help you more safely weather the storm.
  1. Take a look at your trees, top to bottom.
    Trees can be a major source of destruction during a storm, but not if you attend to a few things before the wind kicks up. First of all, remove all of the coconuts from your palm trees. During storms, they can become dangerous projectiles. You should also remove dead, brown branches and fronds for the same reasons, as well as the debris lying at the bottom of the tree.
  2. Mulch it.
    The gravel in your plant beds isn’t exactly storm-safe. During this part of the year, it’s wise to switch to mulch – that way when heavy winds and rains come, you’ll be dealing with ground cover that dissolved instead of spreading out all over the yard.
  3. Get the good stuff.
    Now’s the time to hit your flowerbed and veggie patch and harvest what you like. There’s no reason to leave beautiful blossoms and tasty vegetables to get ravaged by the storm when you could be enjoying them in your home.
  4. Clean those gutters.
    This is an important one during any time of the year. But during storm season, it’s especially important to keep your gutters free from debris. The last thing you want is to have a clogged gutter during heavy rains, so while the weather’s good, go ahead and spray out your gutters with a hose. Installing screens and protective guards is a good idea, too!
  5. Watch those power lines.
    Take a look at the power lines around your residence. If you see any branches close to them, it’s a good idea to have them trimmed by a professional landscaper. This can become a major hazard during storms.
  6. Keep your buildings tree-free.
    Tree limbs that are too close to buildings are a potential hazard as well. During high winds, these branches can damage home exteriors by breaking windows and creating holes in roofs. Talk to your landscaping company about pruning trees well away from structures.
  7. Crown-thin hardwoods.
    A dense, thick hardwood tree is beautiful to behold. But all of that tight foliage acts as a sort of wind sail during storms, effectively lifting the tree out of the ground when the wind picks up. Crown thinning will allow the air to pass through the tree, minimizing the chance that it will be uprooted.
  8. Talk to a professional.
    Your community association management company, if you have one, has probably already connected you with a responsible and reliable landscaping company. Your management and landscaping professionals will have more insight on how to help prep your yard and common areas within your community for the storm season.
Storms are inevitable, but damage isn’t. Minimize the potential for harm caused by flying yard debris by prepping your landscaping. The best community association management company can help spearhead these efforts – and save you considerable devastation in the process. For more information, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leader in residential property management.

You don’t have to weather hurricane season alone. Sign up to download our complimentary hurricane preparedness guide and learn more about the benefits of partnering with a property management company.


Wednesday August 20, 2014