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Homeowner issues warning after making risky landscaping error: ‘A serious hazard, like fatal serious’

“There’s usually a centralized phone number that coordinates with all of the providers at once.”

"There’s usually a centralized phone number that coordinates with all of the providers at once."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner found out the hard way what happens when you don’t plan your garden layout ahead of time, and now they want to prevent others from having the same problem.

“When de-lawning, learn from my mistake,” they said in their post on r/NoLawns. “Get your utility lines mapped out BEFORE you plant anything.”

According to the Redditor, they didn’t take the time to locate their underground gas and water pipes before planting.

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That’s a major problem because plant roots are more powerful than most people realize. They can infiltrate water and sewer lines searching for moisture and nutrients, causing clogs in the process; and as they grow, they can slowly but surely put pressure on pipes until they break. 

The resulting repair bills are huge, not to mention the expensive waste and sometimes dangerous pollution from leaks.

“Luckily my trees and bushes are still very small, but I planted about seven things on top of gas and water lines, including my bearberry, and I’ll be damned if I’m going lose my plants to a maintenance crew 10 years down the line,” said the original poster. “Especially since I know from experience that once they’re done digging/repairing/whatnot, they just throw down some cheap grass seed and call it good.”

That would interfere with the original poster’s anti-lawn stance. Turf grass lawns may be traditional, but they’re expensive to maintain and use lots of water that could be put to better uses. Other landscaping options, like native plants, clover lawns, and xeriscaping, use way less water.

Commenters were in agreement with the original poster. 

“This is a really important tip!” said one user. “Just call all the utilities, cable, etc. They usually come within a couple of days. They would much rather come before you dig. I had a neighbor that didn’t call and hit a gas line. I had another friend that didn’t call, planted a tree and hit her cable, cutting off her internet; it didn’t get fixed for several days and she works from home.”

Added another in reply: “There’s usually a centralized phone number that coordinates with all of the providers at once – it’s 811 Call Before You Dig in my area. A severed underground line is a serious hazard, like fatal serious, especially if you’ve got natural gas.”

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