Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mike Holmes: Caring For the Outside of Your Home

In most places around the world, summer can bring on some pretty unique weather conditions such as extreme heat and rain. Where Mike lives in Canada, the late summer is a great time to do outdoor maintenance and yard projects because it's typically drier, and the best time to do landscaping and outdoor work is when it's nice and dry. If you plan on doing some outdoor landscaping projects, Mike wants you to know that now is the perfect time to do them. Landscaping and grading are more than just for show. When properly utilized, they help to divert water away from your home's foundation. The outside of your home needs just as much maintenance as the inside, because the outside protects the inside.
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: A home’s outside needs as much care as its inside

By Mike Holmes, For Postmedia News July 31, 2014 10:44 AM

Homeowners should work on outdoor projects and landscaping jobs until the end of fall to take advantage of dry weather.

A lot of you might be wondering if it’s too late to landscape around your home. Absolutely not.
There are plenty of projects you could and should be doing around your home’s exterior. And the optimal time for outdoor projects and landscaping is dry weather, so take advantage of it. Plus, some jobs — such as painting, staining, or putting polymeric sand in between interlocking — can be done only in dry weather.
If you’ll need to hire a contractor for an outdoor project, such as interlocking or re-grading, don’t wait until fall because a one-week project can easily be stretched to two weeks due to bad weather. The contractor will also need enough time to get the job done before cold, wet weather moves in.
In some cases it might already be too late to hire a pro, but it is possible — although you could be looking at a November start date.
You can do most landscaping projects up to the end of fall, but one thing you should get done by October is any pool work.
Some homeowners think they can handle most outdoor projects themselves. But a bad job outside can cause plenty of problems inside. The No. 1 problem I see from amateur landscaping work is compaction. People always underestimate how long it takes for soil to compact. It can take hundreds of years. Don’t think you can do it over one weekend.
Let me give you an scenario. Say you’re doing some interlocking and you lay down a bed of dirt and gravel. Most people think that they can rent a compactor for one day and compact 30.5 centimetres (12 inches) — to save some money — use it for four hours and then bring it back to the store. On average the most you can properly compact in a day with most compactors is about 5 to 7.6 cm (two to three inches).
What happens if you do it wrong? The soil will sink over time and water can pool or even go directly to the foundation.
Proper construction loves stable ground. It helps stop water from getting into places where it shouldn’t, such as around your home’s foundation or in the basement. That’s why I don’t recommend planting right up against the foundation.
For one thing, when we plant we disturb the soil, allowing water to penetrate — and that’s not good for your home. Two, if the soil is built up the way most gardens tend to be, that little mound of dirt will drive water to exactly where you don’t want it — your foundation. And three, when watering the plants you are directing water right to the exterior of the basement; if there is a crack, water can penetrate.
Your home’s No. 1 enemy is water. That means your primary job is to prevent water from getting into it. The landscaping around your home is meant to do this, not just give your home curb appeal. That means proper grading, keeping trees and shrubbery away from the perimeter of your home, and making sure water is constantly being directed away.
Some simple things every homeowner should do is regular yard maintenance, such as raking leaves that fall — especially in eavestroughs, and around interlocking stone to prevent weeds next year. Leaves that sit underneath the snow all winter long will rot and provide the perfect food source for weeds come springtime.
Remember, the outside of your home needs maintenance just as much as the inside, if not more. What you do outside will protect the inside, and landscaping is part of that.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

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