As heavy construction machinery moves over your lawn, it can tear up grass, compress the dirt and create mud. This action can leave the ground too dense for water and air to reach the roots of your grass and trees. It can also make the soil slower to drain — to the point where you may see standing water on your lawn after a storm.
Even workboots can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. Heavy foot traffic is enough to kill grass and compact the earth over time. As a result, flower beds are even more delicate and vulnerable to foot traffic. If you work with a contractor who isn’t particularly careful, it’s not unusual for a remodel to end up seriously hurting your lawn and trees.
Fortunately, you can avoid many of these issues with the right planning before the remodeling process. Here are some tips for protecting your landscaping through a remodel.
Protecting Lawns and Gardens
You can usually minimize lawn damage caused by heavy equipment and foot traffic with plywood boards or special lawn protection mats. These boards and mats distribute the pressure of the heavy equipment and the workers’ weight, which can prevent compacted soil. These tools will also protect sod from being torn up by machine treads and steer workers away from delicate areas of your lawn, like garden beds.
Ensure any debris generated by the project — like leftover tiles and concrete — is properly disposed of, and not just buried in the ground. Where possible, make sure this debris doesn’t spend too much time sitting on your lawn before someone moves it. Heavy objects, when left on the ground for long enough, can kill grass and compact the soil.
If you have perennial plants or a vegetable garden, consider digging up any especially sensitive or tender plants. You can transfer these inside during the remodeling process, keeping them as safe as possible. Just be sure to label them so you can replant them in the correct location.
Be especially aware of any glass panels or transparent plastic objects left on the ground. These can focus sun rays on the grass beneath them, cooking the roots and killing the vegetation over time. If you have a landscaper, involve them in the remodeling process. They’re more likely to know exactly how they can minimize any lawn damage. When you initially bring them on, they can work with the remodeling team to ensure they follow the best practices to preserve your yard’s health and visual appearance.
If your lawn needs any additional work after the remodel is complete — like corrections to drainage, dirt removal or re-sodding — your landscaper will also be able to identify these problems and return your lawn to good shape. If you’re concerned about the soil’s compression, some lawn businesses offer aeration services that inject air into the ground, making it more breathable.
When planning where heavy machinery and workers will travel, try to give trees enough space. Heavy machines can snap off branches and cause damage to trees if they veer to close. Compacted soil can also hurt your trees just as much as it hurts the grass.
Where possible, ask your contractor to work with equipment possessing the smallest possible footprint. For example, telescoping lifts, which require additional outrigging to secure to the ground, can be replaced with scissor lifts that don’t need as much outrigging to stay stable. Doing this will reduce the amount of ground area disrupted by the heavy equipment.
Adding a sufficient amount of mulch to a tree’s base before construction begins — think as much as one or two feet — can also cushion it from the impact of construction machinery.
As with your lawn, if you’re worried about the compacted soil around your trees, you can also contact an arborist, and hire a certified arborist in Plymouth. They can use an air spade to inject compressed air around the tree, increasing airflow and water flow to the roots.
Preventing Damage to Your Lawn and Trees During a Remodel
Even the most careful contractors can do serious damage to a lawn during a remodel. Heavy equipment and foot traffic can easily compress your soil, tear up grass and damage sensitive plants — leaving yards a mess once work is complete.
Fortunately, a little bit of foresight and the use of effective construction practices can minimize this harm. Bringing a landscaper early on in the process and having them work with the construction crew can preserve your yard’s aesthetic value.
Some damage may be inevitable. As a result, you may want to develop a backup plan for what you’ll do in case it occurs. Consider planning for restoration services like lawn aeration, or take the opportunity to re-landscape the damaged areas.
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