April is National Safe Digging Month!

April is National Safe Digging Month!

Digging header

Whether you are adding a new tree, a perennial or maybe a new fence, before you put that shovel in the ground - have all of those underground utilities marked by adding a single easy phone call to the process.

Who do I Call Before I Dig Around My House?

Before picking up that shovel, pick up the phone! The national call-before-you-dig phone number is 811 and anyone planning to dig, for any reason, should call or go to their state 811 center’s website first! 

Does 811 Cost Money? calling on phone

This is a free service and is available to everyone and anyone who is planning a landscape project. This includes homeowners and professional excavators alike! Plus there are no hidden fees or upcharges to worry about.

Three business days to two weeks before you first break ground, get ahold of your local provider and wait until they can come out, survey your area and mark any underground utilities! New homeowners too, should call just to learn about any secrets that may be lurking just beneath the placid grassy surface of your lawn. 

How Deep Can I Dig Before Calling 811? digging pic

There is no minimum depth necessary to warrant a call to 811! Always lean towards being safe than sorry! Many utility lines may have been disturbed, improperly moved or installed, or due to seismic activity, lie just a few inches below the surface!

What Projects Qualify?

Just to name a few:

  • Installing a fence
  • Mailbox or flag pole
  • Planting a tree or shrub
  • Installing underground sprinklers
  • Installing a pond or water feature


Projects that qualify collage

What does this have to do with plants from Nature Hills Nursery? It is important to know where all underground utilities are located and marked before you plant anything. You may need to make changes to plant locations once your landscape has been properly marked by the professionals.

Before calling, be sure to have ready:

  • The address of where you plan to dig
  • The county
  • The closest cross street
  • The type of project you are completing
  • The exact area on the property where you are excavating
  • Learn if you need a permit for your project first!


before calling collage

While you are waiting for them to respond, go ahead and mark where you are planning to dig or work using flags, water-based or chalk paint, or even mark it with sugar or flour. Just so there is no confusion when they do arrive to survey the area. marked yard with flags pic

Once they mark the area, you’ll know the approximate location of any buried utilities, pipes, etc. that be unknowingly beneath your site! A technician will come out and mark all underground objects with paint or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line.

They will use different flags or colored paint to mark each Gas, Oil, Water, Power, Electrical, Sewer, or Storm drain. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to non-utility installations or privately owned lines, so anything previous homeowners installed will not show up.

Easy Does It!

Once you’ve had your area marked and you know where you are safe to dig, just remember one final tip! If you are digging within 24 inches of any markings of flags, be sure to use hand tools only, just to be on the safe side! 

Why It’s Important underground utilities pic

Calling or reaching out to a local 811 provider not only protects you but also your community! Should you accidentally hit a buried line, you may disrupt utility service, wind up footing the bill to cover the costly repair, or may even cause serious injury or death! 

Mistakes Happen!

What should you do if you accidentally cause damage or if you see any damage, even the tiniest nick or cut to the utility, then it’s advised you should reach out to your 811 provider or the affected utility provider of the damage. Just to be on the safe side!

It’s Free and It’s Easy!

Always contact 811 before putting a shovel in the ground to protect yourself and your community! Remember it’s not just free and fast, but also the law in many places.

NatureHills.com prides itself on keeping you and your communities safe with all the information you need to successfully and safely keep your landscape healthy and happy!

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