The Diocese of Des Moines
Spring Cleaning - Preparing Your Grounds
March 11, 2013
Written By: April Young

With the recent swath of winter weather, we can hardly believe that spring is just around the corner. But as we await the hope of the Resurrection this Easter, we also await, with hope, the melting of the snow and the new growth of spring.


And along with spring comes spring cleaning!  Although not always a favorite task, some of these simple steps can save your parish or school from potential liability risks and more costly repairs.


Below you will find a checklist of potential maintenance or repairs provided by Catholic Mutual Group:


Parking Lots

  • Look out for any holes or large cracks that can cause trips, falls, and water accumulation. Temporarily fill the holes with sand or hire a contractor (for blacktop) or mason (for concrete) to fill in the holes and cracks.

  • Repaint speed bumps, curbs and other raised surfaces with yellow safety paint to make them as visible as possible.

  • Poorly marked or hard-to-see barriers can actually increase the likelihood of an accident. Typical methods of cordoning off parking lots, like draping chains or cables across lot entrances, can be hard to see, especially in low light or poor weather. These obstacles pose a threat to cyclists, skateboarders, motor vehicles and pedestrians. If you are using chains and cables, use high visibility, flexible plastic tubing to cover the length of the chain or cable. In addition, consider attaching hanging signs to barriers to 1.) increase visibility and 2.) warn trespassers.

Stairs and Railings

  • Inspect exterior steps to ensure there is no cracking or chipping on the edge where the riser meets the tread. 

  • Check handrails to make sure they are not loose or damaged.

Roofs and Drain Pipes

  • Check for loose or missing gutters or flashing.

  • Repair damage to lightning rods.

  • Clear leaves and debris from exterior drains.

  • Inspect roofs and replace missing slates or shingles.

  • Service sump pumps before the spring rains come.

Walkways and Lawns

  • Remove and dispose of dead branches, trees or shrubs that may cause trips and falls.

  • Inspect sidewalks and lawns for damage or holes that may present a tripping hazard.

  • If pesticides are used for lawn care, post warning signs on lawns for at least 72 hours after pesticide use.

  • If there is a playground on your property, check the impact surface which often gets displaced in the winter. Make sure the surfaces around and under play equipment have a minimum of 9” to 12” of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel. Save to


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