These 6 Landscaping Practices Hurt Your Foundation

Lush and vibrant plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees around your home dramatically enhance curb appeal. However, some landscaping practices can hurt your foundation, impacting its structural integrity and leading to costly repairs.

Our skilled team at Align Foundation Repair offers a variety of foundation repair services to address foundation defects. We also provide homeowners with some smart landscaping tips to help stop problems in the first place. Accordingly, we recommend avoiding the following to keep your foundation intact.

1: Planting Too Close to the Home

The roots of trees and plants will grow and expand beneath the ground. When plants are too close to a home’s foundation, these roots soak up much needed moisture and cause settling. That’s why homeowners must situate new plantings away from the foundation. For instance, new trees should be as many feet away from the home as their height upon reaching full maturity.

2: Overwatering Plants

Plants need water to thrive, but too much can negatively affect their growth and your foundation. Drainage problems on your property exacerbate these issues, as the soil will absorb excess water and heave against the concrete foundation. Along with using the correct amount of water on your landscape, you must address drainage issues to repair puddling and pooling.

3: Improper Gutter Maintenance

Your rain gutters can also cause an excess of moisture within the soil. If they become clogged, water will likely flow out of the basin and collect in the soil surrounding the foundation. Along with regularly removing leaves and other debris from them, trimming trees around your home can stop the gutters from clogging and ensure they properly divert water from the property.

4: Problems with Grading

Improperly graded soil can bring water back toward your foundation instead of sending it away from the property. Grading issues can quickly lead to foundation damage, but creating a downward slope can prevent it. While it depends on the layout of your property, grading issues can often be remedied by adding more soil or reducing the soil that already surrounds your home.

5: Not Leaving Enough Foundation Exposed

It’s recommended that homeowners leave at least six inches of foundation exposed, meaning this area should not be covered by soil or plants because the concrete is constantly exposed to moisture. Over time, this moisture will wear down the concrete and possibly allow water to flow into your home if sizable cracks and defects develop in the foundation.

6: Choosing the Wrong Trees

In addition to planting new trees a safe distance from your home, you should also avoid some specimens known for having invasive roots. This includes trees like willows, magnolias, and maples, which can have a destructive effect on properties due to their accelerated growth rates. When choosing new trees, avoid those with aggressive root systems to keep your home intact.

Contact Align Foundation Repair for a free consultation

If you’ve already experienced issues, now is the time to contact us. By scheduling a free foundation consultation, you’ll know exactly what steps to take to keep your home surrounded by plants and trees while maintaining the integrity of your home.

Landscaping and Foundation Repair

7 Tips for Landscaping Next to House Foundation

Come spring, homeowners’ attention naturally turns to landscaping. While plants and trees can improve the appearance, value, and appeal of your home, if done properly with some foresight, proper landscaping around the foundation of a house can actually protect your investment.

The pros at Align Foundation Repair recommend that before you head to the nursery or home improvement store, you should consider the following tips first. This will ensure that your design will not lead to unwanted foundation damage, which could lead to costly repair.

Protect your foundation before your landscaping even starts. Contact Align Foundation Repair for recommendations.

Checklist for Landscaping Next to House Foundation

Here are seven tips for proper landscaping around foundation:

    1. Plant trees away from the foundation. The root systems of trees can be as large as the branch systems above the ground and can grow under your foundation, causing damage and bringing unwanted moisture seeking roots.
    2. Make sure you leave some of the foundation exposed. It may be unsightly, but it’s important to leave a few inches visible so you can inspect it regularly and make sure that it’s not buried in moisture.
    3. Watch out for drains or outlets. If there is a drain in your yard, it’s there for a good reason. Covering it with plants can restrict drainage which contributes to foundation damage.
    4. Improve your gutter system. Use gutter extensions to push water at least five feet away from your foundation. Underground downspouts can be installed to carry water further out. Gutters should be cleared of dirt and leaves; clogged gutters lead to excess water, overflow, and pooling water. Also, check for any holes, gap, or leaks while cleaning your gutters.
    5. Mulch your flower beds. Mulch retains moisture and will be beneficial to your plants and your foundation in the summer months by preventing the soil around your property from becoming too dry. Exceedingly dry soil can harm your foundation by causing movement.
    6. Make sure flower beds slope away from your foundation. It is critical to check the grade on your Dallas, Fort Worth property and landscaping to make sure water can’t pool around your house. We recommend having a 9-10” drop for the first ten feet around your home to keep moisture from accumulating under your foundation (a slope about 3-5% away from your foundation). Without a proper slope, your foundation can experience erosion.
    7. Water evenly in non-landscape areas. If only one section of the yard is landscaped, the soil on that side will expand because it’s likely to be watered more often. Soil expansion can lead to foundation cracks so it’s best to water your property uniformly. The expansive clay soil in the Dallas-Fort Worth area affects landscaping and you should protect your foundation from issues like increases in moisture or too little water. Use deep-rooted plants; shallow-rooted plants could erode over a short period of time.
If your landscaping is damaging your foundation, contact Align Foundation Repair for a free estimate.

Talk to the Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Choose the North Texas foundation and drainage repair experts you can trust. Contact Us today if you would like more tips for landscaping around house foundation in Dallas, or you’re concerned that your foundation may be damaged. We can schedule a free inspection and give you even more advice on landscaping, maintenance, and foundation repair in Dallas-Fort Worth.


Tree roots in cobblestone

Which Trees Cause the Most Damage to Foundations?

Trees make a lovely addition to any landscape, but certain species can pose problems for a home’s foundation, especially when planted too close or without root barriers. As roots encroach on the foundation, a pressure imbalance may eventually cause cracking, settling, and other potential damage.

Here in Texas, property owners should be aware of fast-growing trees with shallow roots that grow laterally, which can cause many foundation problems.


Growing up to 100 feet tall, Poplars are beautiful trees that are often favored by gardeners and landscapers. They are highly adaptable to clay soils and require very little in the way of pruning and maintenance. The problem with these trees is that they have very shallow and fast-growing roots that move laterally across the soil. Cottonwood, white poplars, Carolina poplars, and Lombardy poplars can be particularly hazardous to foundations when planted close to existing structures. Planting at least 30-50 feet away from the house can prevent future problems.


According to one study on tree root foundation damage, Oak species account for 11 percent of all foundation problems cited by property owners. Live oaks, Shumard red oaks, chestnut oaks, and other species have shallow roots that leach large quantities of nutrients and water from the soil. Root barriers can redirect tree roots away from plumbing lines and foundations, preventing costly damage down the line.


Tall and graceful, ash trees produce large, domed canopies of delightful shade in hot Texas summers. Unfortunately, they also have sprawling root systems that can span upwards of 30 feet. Their thirsty roots are expansive and can cause shifts in the foundation if left unchecked.

Other Trees That Can Cause Damage

Other fast-growing trees with shallow roots that can prove problematic for foundations include:

  • Norway maples
  • Silver maples
  • Black locusts
  • Honey locusts
  • Sycamore
  • Sweetgum
  • Boxelder
  • Norway spruce
  • Crimean pine

If roots are already invading your foundation and causing problems, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free estimate on our Richardson foundation repair services.

Expert Foundation Repair Richardson TX

Whether you’re worried about tree roots or other foundational problems, it’s important to get a professional opinion on the underlying causes. Wondering if you’re in our Richardson TX foundation repair service area?

Align Foundation Repair serves the entire Dallas-Fort-Worth area, and our workmanship is backed by an industry-leading warranty. Contact us today to arrange a free estimate.

Tree root and green grass

Tips to Help Prevent Root-Related Foundation Damage

Tree and shrub roots can spread throughout your foundation, weakening its structure and causing it to fail. Roots can also drain the soil of needed moisture, causing the earth itself to move your foundation out of place. These problems can reveal themselves as unlevel floors, doors or windows that stick, or an unpleasant musty odor throughout your home.

There are several ways to help protect your foundation from root-related problems. But sometimes the harm has already occurred. If this sounds like your situation, then we urge you to get in touch with us here at Align Foundation Repair and schedule a free inspection from our knowledgeable and experienced professional contractors. Acting sooner rather than later is important, as foundation damage will worsen over time and if left unchecked can be more expensive to repair down the road.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Root Damage to Your Home

There are a number of time-tested ways to prevent tree and shrub roots from damaging your foundation. These include:

  • Choosing your trees and shrubs with care – in general, it’s better to choose slow-growing plants with minimal water needs. Your local landscaper can provide useful information.
  • Allowing adequate space between your foundation and your trees or shrubs – for example, hardwood trees should be planted at least 20 feet from your home. Again, your local landscaper or garden center provide advice on specific plants.
  • Installing a root barrier – this is a flexible shield constructed from polyethylene (HDPE) that encircles the perimeter of a tree or shrub. When buried or driven into the ground, it directs roots downward and away from your residence.

How Roots Can Make Foundation Repair in Richardson TX Necessary

Here are three ways that tree and shrub roots can pose a threat to your home’s foundation:

  1. By drying out the earth around your home – trees and shrubs use a lot of water. For example, a mature oak tree can require 50 gallons of water a day or more to stay healthy. By drawing this moisture from the soil around your house, they can cause the foundation to expand and eventually crack.
  2. By shifting the soil – tree and shrub roots can also change the distribution of dirt around your home, causing your foundation to either heave upward or sink deeper into the ground.
  3. By digging into the foundation itself – you can think of tree and shrub roots as subterranean spear points that are constantly probing your foundation for weaknesses. Eventually, they will find their way into existing cracks or create new ones altogether, spreading weakness throughout the entire structure.

Foundation Repair Contractors Richardson Texas

If your home is experiencing structural problems, here’s how our foundation repair contractors in Richardson, TX, can help:

  • By getting to the “root” of the problem – we’ll use our decades of training and experience to find out exactly what’s going on with your foundation.
  • By providing a no-obligation quote for your consideration – so you’ll have the facts you need to decide if you want to proceed with repair work.
  • By helping you to explore financing options – we’ll do everything possible to make your Richardson foundation repair affordable.
  • By backing our work with our ironclad guarantee – giving you the peace of mind you need to relax and focus on other priorities.

For foundation repair Richardson TX homeowners can depend on, choose the experienced professionals at Align Foundation Repair. Getting in touch with us now will help you to avoid expensive and stressful problems later. If you live in our Richardson foundation repair service area, give us a call or reach out to us online today.

Tips to Prevent Soil Erosion Around Your Foundation

Even the sturdiest home foundation can be compromised by less-than-optimal soil conditions, which is why soil erosion prevention is so important for homes in North Texas, where rainstorms are very powerful and can erode soil easily. Learn the key steps to home foundation erosion control.

What Causes Soil Erosion?

First, it helps to understand the primary causes behind soil erosion specific to Dallas and surrounding areas. While multiple factors are at work, running water is the leading cause. Even minor flooding can transport the topsoil from one location to another. Similarly, the impact of falling rainwater can cause topsoil to disperse.

Soil erosion creates gaps in the soil, in turn causing the foundation to shift and eventually crack or even split apart completely. In the home, this can create warped or sloped floors and buckling walls.

Seeing evidence of erosion or foundation damage? Contact Align Foundation Repair for a free estimate.

Now, let’s examine the steps vital for offsetting soil erosion.

Maintain the Gutter System

Remember, water is the leading cause of soil erosion. Keeping puddling water away from the home is of utmost priority. To prevent water accumulation along the home perimeter, be sure to regularly inspect the gutters. Be sure the downspout is pointed at least five feet away from the house. Also, gutters that are sagging or pulling away from the walls require professional attention. Finally, climb up a ladder and remove physical debris from the gutters at least twice a year.

Install a Ground-Level Drainage System

French drains are one of the most common, though other types include channel and surface drains. A technician will recommend the optimal drainage solution based on the layout of your property. A ground-level drain collects water in a basin and transports it to a more removed location.

Contact Align Foundation Repair for a recommendation for the best drainage system for you.

Strategic Landscaping

Be mindful of your landscaping, which needs to be about function just as much as visual curb appeal. Keep these pointers in mind:

  • Refrain from planting shrubs or deep-root plants too close to the home. The roots can intrude and disrupt the soil.
  • Consider turfgrass like annual rye, which quickly germinates and helps stabilize the soil. Regardless of the grass type, consider using straw and a seed germination blanket to protect the topsoil.

Examine the Slope

You won’t be able to determine the slope angle with a visual inspection alone. A technician will need to determine your property’s current sloping, if there is any. Ideally, the ground should slope away from the home at a 3% to 5% angle for the first 10 feet.

Need your slope professionally examined? Contact Align Foundation Repair for a free estimate.

We Provide Anti-Soil Erosion Measures

If you notice water puddling around your home, then some degree of soil erosion is likely taking place. Contact Align Foundation Repair for home foundation repair services. A technician will evaluate the foundation’s condition and recommend prevention measures. Our Dallas home foundation service providers will recommend a tailored solution specific to your home type.

Tree root and green grass

Can Trees Cause Uneven Floors in My House?

Tree roots can extend to the soil beneath the home and cause shifting that leads to uneven flooring. A tree is far larger than what you can see. There is an entire extensive root system below the soil that can extend for meters. Though the root is out of sight, it shouldn’t be out of mind.

How Roots Can Damage the Flooring

Roots naturally grow in the direction of water and nutrients in the soil. A cracked plumbing pipe near the home can cause water to seep into the soil. This causes the roots to gravitate in that direction.

Contrary to popular belief, the roots themselves don’t cause direct damage. The roots typically don’t have the strength to split the concrete unless the concrete has pre-existing damage. Instead, the root disrupts the soil condition. The root can consume the soil’s moisture and nutrients. This leads to loose soil that is less able to support the weight of the foundation and floor. Soil requires moisture to retain solidity. Without it, soil becomes less compact.

Soil Type Plays a Role

The degree to which tree roots can inflict damage depends largely on the soil conditions. Soil containing heavy concentrations of clay compacts more easily, making it harder for roots to push through it. Soil consisting primarily of gravel and loose dirt, on the other hand, is less compact, making it easy for roots to navigate through. Soil with heavy sand composition is also really vulnerable since sand is moisture-dependent for retaining its solidity.

Some parts of the North Texas region contain soil of the loose dirt and sand variety. This makes uneven flooring from root intrusion commonplace.

What to Do if You Have an Intruding Tree

If you notice uneven or sloped flooring, a North Texas foundation repair expert will need to perform an evaluation to determine the cause. If a tree rests on your property, then it may very well be the culprit. If so, then the tree may need to be removed. When we say removed, we mean uprooted. It is not enough to just cut the tree and leave the stump behind; that means the roots also remain. If the root remains, the tree may be able to resprout.

Should You Remove Your Tree?

Even if the floor is fine, should you be concerned if you have a tree? Multiple factors are in play, such as the soil condition which we mentioned. The tree species matters as well. Some species grow longer root systems than others. Examples of trees with non-invasive roots include:

  • Sugar, silver, and Norway maples
  • Willow trees
  • Oak trees
  • Ash trees

These trees have shallow roots, usually extending only four to eight-inches below ground. Don’t forget, though, that distance matters as well. Trees should be planted no closer than 20 feet within your home, though even this rule isn’t ironclad. Once again, it depends on the tree species.

Have Uneven Flooring? Give Us a Call

Trees on your property may be causing unseen damage. If you suspect problems with your foundation, take action immediately. Contact us at Align Foundation Repair for a free estimate. An uneven floor foundation problem only exacerbates over time if ignored.

Will Foundation Repair Destroy My Landscaping?

Many North Texas homeowners recognize the signs of a settling foundation. However, some hesitate to take action, fearing the process will destroy their landscape. This will hurt the curb appeal they have invested so much in to make their property an eye-turner. The truth is that foundation repair will have some impact on your landscape. There is simply no way around this especially if the work requires excavation. The question is the degree of impact.

Foundation Repairs Don’t Always Disturb the Landscape

There are some instances where your landscape will be mostly unaffected. If you detect damage early on, the foundation may simply have settled or sloped by an inch or two. If you need only minor work, affect is minimal.

Contact Align Foundation Repair for repairs that won’t disturb your landscape.

What Factors Will Affect Changes to the Landscape?

If damage is severe enough, it may require concrete or steel piers and beams. These need to be installed below the foundation. Naturally, this requires digging. The extent to which this will affect the landscape depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • The degree of concrete damage
  • The size of your property
  • Physical obstructions like tree roots

As a general rule, the excavation work will require a minimum working space of 4-feet beyond the foundation’s perimeter. Anything inside the boundary can get disturbed. Beyond the digging, an area will need to be allotted for displacing the soil from the excavation. Existing foliage may have to be removed to create room for the work to be done.

Lower the chance of landscape disruption by contacting us early. Contact Align Foundation Repair today for a free estimate.

How to Restore the Landscape

After determining the appropriate remediation steps, the technician will assess ways to keep landscape disruption to a minimum.
Keep in mind that if you have trees or shrubs that fall within the working space, they may have to be uprooted and moved. We must stress though, that this is actually beneficial. A tree that close to your home poses a risk to your foundation. The roots can extend and shift the soil below the foundation, causing shifting that can crack or split the concrete.

We Keep Landscape Damage to a Minimum

We will do our very best to minimize any damage to your landscape. If portions of your landscaping are affected, we will provide you with foundation landscaping options to restore the curb appeal. Call Align Foundation Repair for an evaluation and free estimate.