Calgary received a lot of snow and rain this winter. The snowfall was heavier than usual and it also lasted longer in to the spring than usual. Although this heavy perception is unusual for the past few years it is more like normal when compared to what we used to receive from 1970-90.
Recently completed landscaping
If you are in a new home and have recently completed your landscaping you may find that some of the run-off from the melting snow may cause some wash out of some of your landscaping like walkways or patios. Whether or not you have this problem will depend on how well your grading was done, and how well the landscaping was installed. If you see some indicators of wash out occurring it is best to direct moisture away from the walkways or patios and foundations and try to create a swail draining to a area of your property that won’t cause problems. You can also call a professional landscaper to come in and create some proper grading or drainage, but this may not be possible until your property had dried out a bit.
Recent uncompleted landscaping
If you have not completed your landscaping yet and you are in a newly constructed home there may be positives and negatives to the heavy snow fall. The heavy snow fall will help with sub-surface settling and should greatly speed up the settling process. New landscapes always need time to settle because the soil around foundations have been disturbed and is very soft. We often encourage home owners to use a garden hose to soak soil areas around the foundations of their homes to speed up the settling. The down side to all this snow may be that you may have to wait longer to start on your landscaping this spring. Landscaping companies will probably opt to complete old construction landscapes before starting on the new ones so expect a bit of a wait. If you plant to install your landscaping yourself, do not rush into it when the ground is still moist. You will find that it will take you as long to clean up the mess as it does build your landscaping. You will also find that a wet landscape cannot be graded properly and you could jeopardize the overall look of your new home landscape by rushing it.
Trees and shrubs
There will be some varieties of trees and shrubs that will benefit from all the moisture and others will not. Willow trees or willow bushes for example will flourish with the extra moisture. Birch trees and shrubs such as highbush cranberry will not do as will in the moist conditions. The most important thing you can do as a homeowner is look for water settling or draining into garden beds or tree wells. This heavy drainage could spell disaster for your trees or shrubs if it is not diverted. If the water is disappearing into the soil then it is okay, but if you are seeing it pool on the surface because the soil is saturated you need to remove this moisture from the tree well or garden bed. You can dig a small draining trench away from your shrubs or trees and allow the water to flow away from your plants. For most plants on Calgary yards, this moisture will be a good thing, and they plants will appreciate the natural moisture for their spring growing cycle. For Calgary homeowners it may mean a bit of a mess for a while but it will also mean a lot less watering this spring and summer !