Planning out the landscape for a construction project isn’t just about making the structure look good. The landscaping can also play a vital role in lowering your energy costs. Even if you are just doing a small renovation project on your own home, it may be a good idea to look at what you can also do with the landscaping in that area to make your home more efficient. This isn’t a high cost project, but with careful consideration you can make the landscaping part of your effort to control utility costs.
Plan for run off
The use of French drains has fallen off in recent years. Many contractors use them just as a means to get rid of runoff water from the roof. If you are smart, you can run the drainage system and use it to irrigate garden and lawn areas. This means that you will be saving money on water costs during the growing season and keeping the roots in good condition.
Address the North and West sides
No matter where you live in the country, the North and West sides of a structure are the sides that are going to be subject to the most winter wind. Your best line of defense against this is to plant windbreakers – such as evergreens along this edge.
Plant cover on the East and South
During the warmer months there will be more direct sun on the East and South sides. This can heat up a house quickly. Plant leafy cover along these walls to help keep things cool. If you then run your French drains to these plants they will be very low maintenance.
Use ground cover where grass would be difficult to grow
Growing grass over septic systems, steep hills or around rocky soil can be difficult. Make things easier by planting ground cover such as pachysandra. The added benefit of this plant is it can also serve to help keep the ground warmer for longer. This can help reduce icing on pipe access and issues with your sewage system too.
Whether you are a professional contractor or a DIY home pro, getting your materials where they need to be is one of the most difficult parts of any job. It isn’t just the act of lifting pallets to a second floor or shingles to the roof, you also have to know how to stage material on the ground and then move them into place. If you don’t take the time to learn best practices for materials management you could wind up spending more time and money than you planned on your project.
What is staging?
Staging is the term used to describe where material is stored before use. This may be far away from where it will be used, as in a materials yard; or it could be how wood is placed in a spot to allow workers to build with it. As soon as the material is delivered it is staged. Often, material arrives before it is needed and you can’t just put it anywhere. It has to be placed where it won’t get in the way and is protected until you are ready to use it. If you are bringing it directly to the work area you have to make sure that having it there won’t interfere with the actual work action.
Forklifts, cranes and other ways of moving materials
Depending on the type of material and amount of it that is delivered you may have to rent or use heavy equipment to shift it in place. This means you have to have someone who knows how to operate the machine, and you also have to have the correct equipment for securing it for transport. That can include slings, chains and fork attachments. It is vital that you only use equipment designed for transporting the specific type of material or serious accidents can occur.
What about lifting material to the roof?
If you need to get shingles up to a roof the last thing you want to do is carry them up a ladder – that’s unsafe. There are ladder hoists, forks with extending arms and cranes you can use. Make sure that the roof can support the weight of the material in one area before loading it too.