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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.
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 yours is a drier soil composting will help a lot so now might be a good time to decide where you could build a compost heap.
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.