The outside of the house is also an area where disease-causing germs can grow and multiply or where vectors can live and breed. For example, germs can live in rubbish and faeces, and mosquitoes can breed in water in old washing machines and tyres.

Grass is effective at reducing dust levels in the yard. Long grass is attractive to snakes so, where grass grows, it should be kept short.

5.1 Equipment

The equipment needed to tidy and maintain the yard includes:
  • a rake
  • a shovel
  • a hose
  • an axe
There are some other items which may be needed to help tidy or maintain the yard and garden. These include wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, pruning saws, or brush cutters. Because these items can be very expensive, it may be a good idea for the Community Council to purchase them for people to borrow. A loan system can be organised.

This could be a job for the EHP who would need to:
  • work out the arrangements with the community and the Council
  • organise the ordering, storing, and lending of the equipment
  • be responsible for ensuring the return of the equipment after use
The rules of the loan system would make the person who borrows the equipment responsible for paying for any lost or damaged items. However, the equipment will eventually break down or wear out with normal use. The cost of maintaining and repairing worn out equipment will always be the responsibility of the Council.

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5.2 Yard tidying and maintenance tasks

The jobs which should be done to keep the yard tidy and well maintained include:
  • raking up and disposing of rubbish (for example, cans, papers, plastic containers, bottles, broken glass), faeces and leaves
  • mowing lawns, trimming edges and removing weeds
  • pruning shrubs and trees
  • cleaning out gutters if necessary
  • removing bulky rubbish (for example, old tyres, refrigerators, car bodies)
  • watering lawn, shrubs or trees. This particular job maintains the garden. Lawns and shrubs help keep dust under control. Lawns need only be watered twice a week
Fig.  3.15: Cleaning the yard.
Fig. 3.15: Cleaning the yard.

5.3 Yard tidying timetable

Most yard tidying tasks are usually done once a week or less often. What needs to be done and how often depends upon one or more of the following:
  • How many people use the yard and what they do there. For example, one or two people having a barbecue will probably not make as much mess as thirty people
  • The number and kind of pets that use the yard. For example, dogs are dirtier and more destructive than cats
  • Weather factors. For example, rain collecting in containers can allow mosquitoes to breed and very strong winds blow objects, such as pieces of tin, around the community
  • Other environmental factors such as the vegetation in the yard. For example, shrub types may differ as to how often they need to be cut back
  • How tidy people are who used the yard. For example, some people will usually put their rubbish in a bin, while others do not.