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5 Landscaping Tips to Protect Your Foundation

crew fixing landscaping next to house foundation

Having a dream yard doesn’t have to break the bank; clever landscaping can turn your plain backyard into your personal oasis. However, you also need to consider your foundation’s health. Only a couple of wrong landscaping moves can seriously damage your home’s foundation.

While some trees and plants are attractive, they could damage your home and lead to the need for foundation repair. We’ve compiled a list of five foundation landscaping tips to keep in mind when redesigning your yard.

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5 Rules to Follow When Landscaping Your Yard

1. Slope Appropriately

Those flower beds can really elevate the look of your yard, but be careful to ensure proper grading around your house. When building beds, make sure they slope away from the foundation, not into it. Otherwise, every time you water your plants or it rains, the water will be directed toward your foundation and eventually cause damage. With properly graded beds, you will direct water away from your foundation and provide your plants with the moisture they need.

maintaining gutters and downspouts

2. Keep Your Drains Clean

Dirt and leaves can clog your drainage systems like gutters and downspouts, so you need to clean them regularly. Other systems like drainage curtains can be easily installed and prevent your in-ground drains from clogging. These can look like loose gravel, so they won’t affect the beauty of your yard. Clean, freely flowing drainage channels allow water to flow away from your home so it won’t flood your yard and subsequently damage your foundation.

3. Establish the Right Distance Between Plants

If you plan to plant large trees, make sure they are at least 20 feet away from your house. This way, you will prevent roots from interfering with the soil under your home and, therefore, damaging your foundation. If, on the other hand, you wish to plant bushes, keep them five feet away from your house. All in all, you need to make sure there is space between your house and the root system. Keep in mind that the trees, shrubs, and flowers you plant will grow, as will their roots. So just because the roots are nowhere near your house today doesn’t mean they won’t cause damage in a couple of years if you don’t leave enough space between them.

4. Water Your Soil

Apart from watering your plants so they don’t wither, you should also make sure to water the soil around your house. If you don’t do this and there are no rainy days in sight, the soil particles will shrink; when it finally rains, the soil won’t be able to soak the water in. The top layer will act as a membrane, while the particle shrinkage will cause space to open up beneath the foundation. When this happens, it can easily cause the foundation to settle, sink, or crack. Remember to keep your soil damp, and you will be able to avoid unnecessary foundation repair.

5. Mulch Your Beds

Your plants need moisture in order to grow, and mulch is a great way to ensure that the soil around your plants is always damp. This layer will protect the soil from drying out, even during a drought. If your soil is moist, the particles won’t shrink, so the ground will be able to absorb excess rain during storms. Mulch benefits are twofold: helping create healthy plants and protecting your foundation from damage caused by hydrostatic pressure.

Which Trees Shouldn’t Be Planted in Your Yard?

Now that you have a good idea of how to tackle your landscaping, let’s further explore what should and shouldn’t be planted near your home.

While some plants can be a great addition to your yard, others have invasive root systems that will cause more harm than good. Although you don’t have to avoid planting aggressive plants in your yard completely, you should make sure they are planted as far away from your house as possible.

Certain trees, in particular, should be planted well away from your home to avoid the likelihood of needing foundation repair in the future. These include:

  • Hybrid poplars  
  • Bradford pears 
  • Chinese flame trees 
  • Willows
  • American elms
  • Eastern cottonwoods  
  • Maples
  • Mimosa trees 
  • Southern magnolias  
  • Sweet gum trees  

How to Handle Existing Landscaping Problems

If you have built your home on an empty lot, you can decide what you wish to do with your new yard. However, homeowners don’t always have that advantage. In fact, in most cases, they move into a house where previous owners have already planted various trees and shrubs. If you have moved into a home with invasive landscaping, don’t despair. Simply contact professional landscapers who can advise you of any necessary steps

How to Repair and Protect Your Foundation

If these landscaping issues caused damage to your foundation, the Groundworks company serving your area can repair and protect your home with lasting solutions. Our experts will complete a thorough inspection of your home to determine the cause of the damage and then recommend solutions tailored to your specific repair needs. These include foundation piers and wall anchors to stabilize your foundation, and basement waterproofing measures like interior drains and sump pumps.

Trust Groundworks for Reliable Foundation Repair

Groundworks inspector greeting a homeowner

Even if you follow all these steps, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of good home water management and foundation repair measures. Water can be our friend (after all, we cannot live without it), but it can also be our enemy. For peace of mind, we encourage you to follow these steps and contact your local Groundworks company.

Our experienced teams know how frustrating it is to deal with foundation damage, but we take the guesswork out of how to approach it for lasting structural soundness and safety. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and obtain a free repair estimate.