car parked in front of home

Landscaping can enhance the appearance of your home, add to its value, create an attractive outdoor living space and even help protect your house from the elements. Because landscaping is so important, many homeowners consider it a worthwhile investment. To protect your home’s greenery, you’ll want to maintain it properly, particularly if rare trees and plants are involved. Here are key ways you can take good care of the plants you value.

Weatherproofing plants

Regular upkeep of your plantings is the primary key to making sure they stay healthy and beautiful. However, severe weather can quickly undo your hard work. Here are two ways to maintain your landscaping to prevent damage during storms1:

  1. Wrap them up. If you have strong winds or cold weather coming, your landscaper can wrap your larger plants, vines and shrubs with burlap stretched around frames to keep them from getting cold and/or battered.2
  2. Cover the little ones. Small plants can be particularly vulnerable to a bout of bad weather, so protect them with a physical barrier. Use buckets or empty pots turned upside down to create protective shells around the plants. If high winds are expected as part of the storm, be sure to weigh down these shells so they don’t blow around and cause damage.

Maintaining trees

Trees provide a number of benefits, but they can often be tricky to maintain. Working with a certified arborist when selecting trees is one way to ensure that you’re making good investments and getting the right trees for your area and landscaping goals.3 Planting a tree in the wrong location can keep it from growing properly or make it susceptible to insect infestations and diseases.

Make sure that your trees are trimmed and that loose or dead branches are cleared away on a regular basis. During storms, these branches can snap off and cause damage to cars, power lines or your roof. Pay special attention to the trees close to your home, and make sure they’re well-trimmed.4 One of the big threats to trees during storms is lightning, which is particularly dangerous to tall trees. When lightning strikes a tree, it can injure the tree permanently and can even cause the tree to damage nearby buildings, vehicles or other plants if it falls. An arborist can advise you on how to install a cable-and-rod system that conducts electricity away from the tree during a lightning strike.5 This is especially helpful for valuable or showpiece trees you want to protect.

Beautiful landscaping that works

The combination of the right kind of plants, proper placement and regular maintenance can help make the green features of your home’s landscape both attractive and storm-resistant. To make the most of your landscaping investment, work with a local expert to find out what thrives in your area and how to keep it healthy and safe.

Landscaping for fire safety⁶**

Another important element to consider when creating your landscape design, is fire safety to your home.

  1. Replace combustible wood mulch with a noncombustible option such as decorative rock or gravel next to the home and beneath plants with low-laying limbs.
  2. Trim trees that overhang lower growing shrubbery a minimum of 10 feet or a maximum of 1/3 tree height above the ground. You will also want to trim tree branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
  3. Regularly clear tree litter beneath landscape vegetation. When shrubs are under trees, additional vertical space is needed. Lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move from the ground to the shrubs to the treetops like a ladder.
  4. Continue to keep landscape plants free of dead and dry material. Maintain trees and shrubs a minimum of 5 feet away from the home’s roof edge/eaves, windows, and vents.
** Vegetation should be considered differently in wildfire prone areas.
[6] This insurance overview is for informational purposes only and does not replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance policies, their endorsements or their declarations pages, which are controlling. Terms and availability vary by state, and exclusions apply. Products are underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and affiliated companies, including Crestbrook Insurance, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, Nationwide is on your side and Nationwide Private Client are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.