CAUGHT IN THE RAIN
I often get requests to start a client’s job before the storm season starts or the rain sets in again. The unfortunate side to living in a high rainfall area is that, even in the dry season, an unseasonal rainfall can result in a huge amount of water landing on our work site. In our driest months, several hundred millimetres may still fall over a few days, and none of us can forget the two months of steady rain last summer.
So, what can you do if this should happen during your long awaited garden project? The most important thing to do is to take it easy! Nature will have its way and nothing you do will change it.
If you are lucky enough to have not started major earthworks yet, then delay the start. Most contractors are very reasonable on this point and are quite used to changing their schedule around the weather. You are much better off to start a job late than to have machinery sliding around your yard, compacting wet soil, and generally creating a dog’s breakfast.
If you are partway through earthworks when the rain hits there are a few important considerations to prevent initial works being wasted or even made worse than before you started.
1. Ensure any stockpiles of soil or delivered materials are not blocking the natural or recently altered flow of water. A light rain of, say, 10mm uphill from a blocked drainage area may result in tens of thousands of litres of water gushing into your pile of dirt. That’s a lot of mud to clean up.
2. Erect silt fences in suitable positions to minimise silt flows into creeks or stormwater systems.
3. If you have already augured holes for foundations or posts, concrete the required items in immediately. When a hole fills with water the sides can collapse. This is never a good scenario and can result in unstable foundations.
4. Newly laid turf on a slope may require sone pegging to prevent it sliding down the hill. Channelling rainwater around new turf temporarily is another option, though ensure that you are not directing it onto a neighbour’s property and creating a problem for them.
Power tools and rain do not mix. This goes without saying and whether you are working on your own project or have a contractor in to do the job no amount of time saved is worth the risk of electrocution.
The only time rain is really welcome for a landscaping project is at the end. Imagine, you have just laid your turf and the heavens open up? Or you have planted out your dreamscape and it rains for a week. Just sit back and watch it grow.
In fact, the best way to deal with inclement weather as it interferes with your landscaping works is to pour your favourite drink, grab a book and relax.