Landscaping with Your Foundation in Mind
Foundation landscaping is a great way to enhance the look of your property. However, as with any project, there is always something to watch out for, and for this project it’s your foundation. If done incorrectly, landscaping can be disastrous, but if done correctly, it can be greatly rewarding to your home. To ensure you achieve the best results, here are a few things you want to keep in mind while landscaping around your foundation.
Example of foundation landscaping. Image: Brian Gautreau (CC).
- Make sure gardens/flowerbeds slope away from foundation. Take a look at the gardens and/or flowerbeds near your house and see if they’re sloped. If so, make sure the ground is sloping downwards away from the house. If water is not directed away from your foundation, it can pool and cause soil to swell, creating unevenness.
- Don’t place plants & trees too close to foundation. They need room to grow, so make sure to plant them approximately as far from your foundation as the plants themselves will be wide (when they mature). Also remember, roots from plants can grow quite deep and sometimes cause damage to the foundation, especially tree roots.
- Water plants near house. Plants – especially trees – near your house can take all of the water away from the soil if not watered enough, causing soil shrinkage. The soil beneath your foundation needs a balanced amount of moisture to remain level, so make sure there is enough water for both plants, trees and your foundation.
- Keep flowerbeds & gardens well mulched. This will help the soil maintain a balanced moisture level and not fluctuate.
- Ensure gardens/beds don’t cover moisture outlets. Drainage outlets or weeping holes serve to lead moisture out of a structure, but if they are covered, problems can ensue.
- Avoid completely covering foundation with plants. Even though a slab of concrete might not be the most attractive part of your house, you don’t want to cover all of the exterior foundation. Leave about 3″-4″ of the foundation exposed above landscaping for safety.