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Creating a Fire-Safe Defensible Space

Posted on September 08, 2017 by James Florence

One of the most critical aspects of fire safety is creating a “defensible space” around your home: a 100-foot radius of property that’s specifically maintained to minimize fire risks. However, defensible space is often misunderstood—a lot of people think it merely consists of clearcutting all trees, shrubs and bushes within 100 feet of their homes, but this oversimplifies the matter. In reality, creating a defensible space involves a specific strategy.

A properly designed defensible space consists of two zones: Zone 1, which extends 30 feet from the house, and Zone 2, which extends 70 feet from Zone 1. In Zone 1, any dead vegetation should be removed or, in the case of grass and weeds, Read more

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Yard-Wise: 6 Ways to Improve Your Property’s Exterior Efficiency

Posted on August 22, 2017 by James Florence

Like many Bay Area homeowners, you’ve probably taken measures to reduce your home’s water and energy usage, such as installing water-saving plumbing fixtures and switching to LED lighting. However, you may have overlooked another part of your property: your yard. From your garden to your pool, there are several areas where you can save water and energy by improving your exterior efficiency. Consider the following measures:

Improve irrigation
If you’re using an outdated sprinkler system to water your lawn and garden, you may be wasting water every day. Traditional sprinkler heads are known for their inefficiency, losing a substantial amount of the water they distribute to wind and sun evaporation. Fortunately, you can easily upgrade your system for a surprisingly low cost. Read more

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Landscaping Tips
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Diamond Certified Experts: Tree Care 101

Posted on May 09, 2017 by James Florence

Despite being the largest of all plants, trees are surprisingly easy to overlook. Maybe it’s because their serene, stationary disposition causes them to blend in with their surroundings; maybe we just don’t look up often enough. Either way, like any plant, trees require water, nutrition and ongoing maintenance, so it’s important to take care of the ones on your property. To learn about some tree care basics, we’re joined by six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors in the tree service and landscaping fields.

Tree irrigation and nutrition
The first step in caring for a tree is simple: water it. However, as Chris Chapman of Horticultural Services, LTD explains, tree irrigation is something property owners often get wrong. Read more

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Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening

Posted on March 02, 2017 by James Florence

Following the heavy (and much needed) rainfall of the past winter, gardening enthusiasts in the Bay Area can look forward to a bounty of opportunities come spring. In addition to the finer points involved in planting flowers and crops, here are some basic guidelines to consider for optimizing your gardening experience.

Plan for all seasons. While many assume gardening is only for the spring and summer, if you plan correctly, you can keep yours looking beautiful through the fall and winter seasons as well.

Remember, plants grow. A common mistake gardeners make is installing plants that don’t fit within the schemes of their gardens. Don’t be a victim of “cute in a gallon can” syndrome—just because a particular plant looks good at the nursery, Read more

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How to Protect Your Property from a Landslide

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Suzanne Carroll

If you think your property is at risk:

  1. Learn about the history of your property. Areas that have experienced landslides in the past are likely to experience them again. Your city may keep records of past landslides, and you can also try this landslide inventory-mapping tool (in beta) from the California Department of Conservation.
  2. Hire a professional to evaluate the drainage on your property. You may need to build channels to deflect flow around buildings. Be aware: you are responsible for damage to neighboring properties caused by water diverted from your own.
  3. Plant ground cover on slopes—the root networks can help stabilize hilly areas.
  4. Consider hiring a professional to build a retaining wall.
  5. Read more

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The Causes of Landslides

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

By Christopher Wilhite, chief engineer and co-owner at Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc.

As we approach the rainy season, it’s time to start paying attention to what rain can mean for the Bay Area. While rain may ease our persistent drought, it can also cause issues for Bay Area residents, especially after so many dry years. One consequence of rain after a drought is the increased likelihood of landslides—a familiar problem in this beautiful but hilly region. Debris flows (a type of landslide more commonly known as “mudslides”) have caused millions of dollars worth of property damage in the Bay Area. More importantly, people can and have died as a result of these fast-moving landslides. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Landscaping Tips
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Trees & Privacy

Posted on September 08, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

If you want more privacy at your home, consider the benefits of adding trees to your property. Read more

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