Autumn is a Great Time to Landscape, Remodel

Photo by  David Lezcano  on  Unsplash

Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash


by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

While much of the nation braces for a major change in the weather as we move from the warmer months to the colder ones, homeowners here in the Baldy View Region (which encompasses the eastern portion of Los Angeles and all of San Bernardino counties) enjoy the luxury of a few extra months in which to landscape and make home improvements. However, shorter days and cooler weather offer challenges to remodeling professionals and home improvement and landscape enthusiasts not usually encountered during the summer months.

     Statewide, according to the most recent 2016 American Community Survey (ACS), the median age of owner-occupied homes is between 48 and 57 years. With more than one half of the homes in the California being 50 years old, or older, there is a considerable demand for homeowners to protect their investments with remodeling projects. Minor renovations, the latest in landscaping approaches and techniques to make homes more energy-efficient, or environmentally friendly, are all ways to make your home more comfortable and more valuable.

     So, whether embarking on any major landscaping projects, do-it-yourself (DYI) home improvements or projects requiring the services of a certified remodeling professional – remember that we are entering the seasons where homeowners should factor in changing weather to avoid the frustrations and budget overruns that are often encountered on major projects.

     Whether removing trees or adding rooms, the first rule of any major improvements is to check with your city, county or homeowner’s association (HOA). Too often homeowners find their projects stymied by obscure or unexpected rules or regulations, so secure all the necessary permits and approvals at the earliest possible point in the project. Delays cost money. If a contractor’s crew stands idle, it is costly to the contractor and very often, those costs are passed directly on to the homeowner.

     When planning your project, build a realistic schedule for completion. At this time of year, it would be wise to assume a few scheduling impacts due to cold and flu season, which can wreak havoc on the staffs of agency permitting departments as well as your contractors.

     Damp, humid, cold and wet weather will affect exterior work – particularly with paint, concrete and putty. While professional remodelers will generally budget for inclement weather in their schedules, too often the delays caused by rain are overlooked by DYI enthusiasts. Paint needs dry surfaces and drying time while concrete needs time to cure, so remember to always budget a few extra days into your schedule as a cushion. Pay particular attention to weather forecasts on respected sites such as and remember that while our unique Santa Ana conditions may bring us the cleanest air we will experience throughout the year, Santa Ana winds can create havoc on exteriors and landscapes.

     If you do use a professional remodeler, remember they will be dealing with lead times and back orders when it comes to products such as coatings, fixtures, tile and other items. Make sure to budget for these possible delays-many of which can be mitigated by ordering all your selections at the beginning of the project.

     Especially for major DIY projects, in older homes, a good way to save time upfront is to have a professional inspect thoroughly for pre-existing conditions such as termite damage, mold, lead paint, asbestos or rot. Dealing with these issues before the project commences will greatly reduce delays, costs and headaches.

     Because, for most Americans, the home is the biggest and best investment they will ever make, making any substantive improvements should be done with great care. The goal is to improve the value and protect your investment. This is no time for short cuts. Care for your home as you would any major investment and it will benefit you in the long run.

     The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to on the web.