Safety should be the utmost priority as homeowners prepare to clear land on their properties. New homeowners often see their homes as blank canvasses. Looking at a home as a blank canvas is typically associated with its interior, but it also can apply to landscaping.

Homes are empty of furniture and decorative items like photos and art on the walls when new homeowners move in. That makes it easy to see the interior of a home as a blank canvas. But that’s not always so easy in the garden or the yard, where the previous owners might have left behind brush, overgrown plants or trees, and other eyesores. A landscape must be cleared out before it can be seen as a blank canvas. Though clearing land may seem like a straightforward process, no one knows what lies beneath overgrowth or neglected yard or garden areas. Do-it-yourselfers can typically clear land on their own, but some safety strategies should be kept in mind to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Wear appropriate PPE

Personal protective equipment should be worn when clearing land. The appropriate PPE when clearing land includes attire and other gear that many homeowners likely already have on hand. For example, a long-sleeve shirt, puncture-proof pants and gloves, and slip-resistant work boots should be worn when clearing land. Homeowners also may want to invest in a hard hat if they will be cutting branches off of trees or cutting trees down. A face shield also may be a good bet depending on the scale and potential dangers of the project.

Contact your utility company

Overhead power and telephone lines are visible to the naked eye, and homeowners should be conscious of those lines as they cut any high branches. But underground lines are not visible, and that can make clearing land dangerous. Therefore, homeowners are urged to contact their utility companies before they begin to clear any land so they can determine if any underground lines are beneath areas they intend to clear out.

Get a lay of the land

Carefully inspect the area to be cleared before starting the project. Inspections can reveal the density of any vegetation that may need to be removed and reveal any harmful plants like poison ivy growing. Many DIYers can remove small trees on their own, but a professional tree service may be necessary for large trees or those located close to the house. Homeowners won’t want to cut down a tree, even a small one if it can potentially fall onto the house. In addition, homeowners unfamiliar with chippers or stump grinders may be better off hiring a tree service to clear trees.

Don’t go it alone

No one should clear land alone. Even small projects are best tackled by at least two people. Should someone get injured during the project, the presence of another person ensures someone can immediately call for help. In addition, clearing land can be more difficult than it appears, and having at least two people to pull old shrubs or carry tree branches reduces the risk of injury.