If you have been spending more time at home during this global pandemic and need something to do, landscaping work may provide the ideal distraction and stress relief. Ready or not, Spring is in full bloom and there is no time like the present to get the yard work done.
Nice weather and a shovel in your hand may all be part of your annual routine to beautify your outdoor space and amaze your neighbors with a luxurious landscape. In what might be an unspoken competition, prideful neighbors often do their best to make their lawn look better than it did the year before – and more specifically, better than yours.
No landscape project involving digging should be started without taking the first, and possibly the most important step of choosing the right tool to start your project. The first tool you’ll need is not a shovel or post hole digger but a phone. Yes, you read that right, your phone is a vital landscaping tool. Before you begin any project that involves digging, you need to call 811 to have underground utility lines in your yard located and marked.
April is National Safe Digging Month and serves as a reminder to avoid the potentially dangerous risk of encountering underground utilities. According to the Common Ground Alliance, a utility line is damaged once every six minutes because someone started digging before calling 811.
Call811.com recommends the following process:
- Notify your local one call center by calling 811 or make a request online 2-3 days before digging begins
- Wait the required amount of time for lines to be located, typically 24-48 business hours
- Confirm that all utilities have been located and marked
- Respect the marks, do not dig near these areas
- Dig Carefully around the marks with care
If you dig before knowing where underground infrastructure is located, it could result in damage to natural gas, water or other underground utility lines like internet and cable. Damaging a utility line can lead to service interruption for you and your neighbors, expensive repair costs and fines, or even serious injury.
Calling 811 before digging is the law, and applies to homeowners, excavators and landscapers. Texas law requires everyone to call 811 two business days (excluding weekends and holidays) before digging. It’s a free service and it may just keep you from becoming April’s fool.