Landscaping and Your Foundation
Landscaping is a wonderful way to increase curb appeal in your front yard and to create a more welcoming back yard. If you landscape correctly, you won’t damage your home’s foundation in any way. If you landscape wrong, however, changes in ground moisture and the plant roots themselves may have detrimental effects on your home’s foundation. Make sure you know how to protect your foundation before you do any landscaping.
Pay Attention to Landscape Slope
The ground near your foundation slopes at a slight angle away from your foundation to keep water from pooling. When you landscape, you risk changing that slope inadvertently. When you prepare the soil and plant your trees, shrubs, and flowers, keep an eye on your landscape slope. As you care for your landscaping through the months, check the slope to ensure that the plants aren’t slowly altering it.
Use Lots of Mulch
Keep your landscaping consistently mulched. Mulch keeps the amount of moisture in the garden and the ground beneath consistent. Inconsistent moisture can cause foundation problems; when the soil is too dry or too wet you might end up with foundation damage, and the longer this persists, the worse the damage gets.
Plant Away From the Foundation
Research how big your shrubs and plants are going to get before you plant them. They need to be planted a least that far away from your foundation so they don’t brush up against the house when they grow. This will keep their roots from leaching too much moisture from the soil under your foundation.
Don’t Elevate Beds Too Much
When you walk around your house, you can see a bit of your home’s foundation. Do not cover your flower beds or garden in so much earth and mulch that this visible part of the foundation disappears. Leave three or four inches of your foundation showing. If none of your foundation is showing, you need to revisit the slope of the ground around your house, and you might need professional help in doing so.
Plant Trees Far Away
Do your research before planting a tree anywhere near your house. Find out the canopy width of the tree you want to plant. Only plant that tree if you can plant it at least half that width away from your home. So, if the canopy width is 12 feet when the tree fully matures, you need to plant it six feet from your foundation. Otherwise, you might end up with root damage in your foundation as the tree grows. Also be sure to remember to water your trees often so that their roots grow deep and not out.
Ask the employees at your local plant nursery for information about canopy width and plant size. Local varieties may differ slightly from the averages you find online. Your friends with green thumbs will also have great advice. When you’re not sure, just call a professional landscaper to come take a look. You’re better off safe than sorry, after all.