Category Archives: Winter Landscaping

How To Avoid Holiday Decorating Disasters

How To Avoid Holiday Decorating Disasters

Every year, in the midst of what should be a season of warmth, togetherness, and joy, thousands of people are sent to the emergency room – sometimes with life-threatening injuries.

 

THE CULPRIT? Seemingly innocent holiday decorations, which can pose a threat to you and your loved ones, pets, and property.

THE SOLUTION?  A little knowledge goes a long way. Gear up on some of the most common holiday decorating hazards and how to avoid them.

Fires:  Whether they’re started from brittle Christmas trees, stockings too close to the fireplace, or candles (responsible for 71% of December home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association) left unattended, fires are one of the most common and dangerous hazards of holiday decorating. Make sure real trees are fresh and well-watered, and kept far from the fireplace (artificial trees should be labeled “fire resistant.”). Hang stockings three feet from the fireplace, and move them away when there is an active fire. Consider using LED “candles,” but if there is a flame, NEVER leave them unattended – and always remember to blow them out.

Faulty Cords and Electrical Equipment: Faulty, old, or overloaded electrical equipment can elevate the risk of both fires and electrocutions. Always check that cords are tested by a group like Underwriters Laboratories, and are neither frayed nor showing other signs of excessive wear (check out this handy infographic from the Electrical Safety Foundation International [EFSI] with more cord safety tips). Don’t let outlets get overwhelmed, either – tone it down a little with those holiday lights!

Falls: Ladder falls are no laughing matter; they lead to many serious injuries – the ESFI says 5,800 falls a year come from falls associated with decorating. Keep lights low, or consider hiring a professional to hang them outdoors if you want to go all out. (Falls can also happen because of people tripping over cords run under carpet!)

Toxic Plants: Misteltoe and holly are holiday traditions; unfortunately, they can also pose a toxic threat to both young children and curious pets. Care should always be exercised around children and pets, as small ornaments and holiday décor can be dangerous if swallowed. Long tinsels, ribbons, and garlands can also pose a strangulation hazard, so if they’re used, make sure they’re out of little arms’ or paws’ reach. There are also several helpful resources available online for free – the Consumer Products Safety Commission has a good “Check the Halls for Holiday Safety” guide – that can help you and your family stay safe and enjoy a very happy holiday season.

Why Gutters Could Be the Demise of Your Winter | Bayscape Landscape

Why Gutters Could Be the Demise of Your Winter

California isn’t exactly known for blankets of snowfall in the winter, save for some mountain towns. Even so, residents of the sunshine state often cherish winter’s milder temperatures and the opportunity to indulge in “sweater weather.”

Unfortunately, the season can also be rough on homes if residents don’t take the appropriate precautions before temperatures drop and precipitation arrives- especially with a record El Nino on the horizon. Make sure that your winter remains happily full of hot cocoa, warm boots, and cozy sweaters by tackling one very important part of home maintenance right now: rain gutters.

There are a few reasons that rain gutters can be a threat to your home’s well-being in winter:

1. They are out of sight, and out of mind.

Unlike major aesthetic parts of your home – a huge stone fireplace, for example – gutters are a part of the house that most people don’t spend much time looking at. The problem is that, much like a healthy heart, things that you can’t see or just don’t look at still need to be maintained so that they can keep functioning. Gutters need to heave a clear path in order for rain and snow to work their way through the system, and fallen leaves and other debris can cause substantial blockage in that system.

2. El Niño is coming.

As meteorological coverage of El Niño events increase, it’s clear that this winter has a higher chance for much, much more precipitation in California – even some deluges. This isn’t standard winter fare for the state, so thinking “I didn’t have problems with gutters last year” could be a big mistake. If those gutters are backed up with debris, in any state of disrepair, or not the appropriately sized or fitted, those downpours could equal extensive, expensive water damage outside and inside your home very quickly.

3. California is still in a drought.
Sometimes the fall is just still hot in the Western states, and when people are looking at parched creek beds and brown or nonexistent grass, it’s easy to think rain gutters are not important right now. But this is actually the perfect time to inspect and clean them, or even better, have it done professionally. Don’t fall for the “it’s bone dry” line of thinking – get ahead of the weather and save yourself a huge amount of time, money, and effort when those gutters are needed

If you are ever in doubt or need a hand on your property to help maintain the landscape, never hesitate to contact Bayscape Landscape Management!