Marathon Consulting Hosting

Averting Landscape Mistakes: How to Prevent Avoidable Foundation Repair

June 18, 2021

Your home should be a place where you feel most comfortable, your sanctuary where you can go after a long day and unwind. Having a dream yard doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, with clever landscaping, you can turn your plain backyard into your personal oasis. However, apart from thinking about which trees you should plant and which shrubs would make your yard pop, you also need to consider your foundation’s health. Did you know that only a couple of wrong landscaping moves can seriously damage your home’s foundation? 

landscaping and root digging

5 Rules to Follow When Landscaping Your Yard 

When considering how you want your yard to look, it is important not to get carried away. While some plants might look gorgeous against your home’s exterior wall, they could impact your foundation and leave you dealing with foundation repair. Therefore, it is best to keep these five tips in mind when you are redesigning your yard. 

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 as well. 

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. 

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, and 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 come to foundation settling, sinking, or cracking. Therefore, remember to keep your soil damp, and you will be able to avoid unnecessary foundation repair. 

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. Therefore, mulch benefits are twofold: Your plants will be healthy and your foundation will be protected from damage caused by hydrostatic pressure. 

Keep Your Drains Clean 

Dirt and leaves can clog your drainage systems, so you need to clean them regularly. If you don’t wish to do this every week in addition to your regular chores, you can opt for drainage curtains that can be easily installed and prevent your drains from clogging. These can look like loose gravel so they won’t affect the beauty of your yard. By keeping your drains clean, you will allow water to flow away from your home so it won’t flood your yard and subsequently damage your foundation. 

Even if you follow all these steps, you shouldn't ignore the importance of good home waterproofing measures. Water can be our friend (after all, we cannot live without it), but it can also be our enemy. Therefore, in order to sleep peacefully, it is advisable to follow these steps and contact professional contractors in your area. They can provide a free home inspection, determine existing damage, assess the situation, and offer a free quote on any repair services or installations. 

Which Trees Shouldn’t Be Planted in Your Yard? 

Not all plants have the same root systems. While some 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. Trees such as hybrid poplars, Bradford pears, willows, Chinese flame trees, American elms, eastern cottonwoods, silver maples, mimosa trees, southern magnolias and sweet gum trees should be planted nowhere near your home; otherwise, you will have to deal with foundation repair in your near future. 

Dealing with 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 contractors in your area and talk about waterproofing options and foundation repair options. If the existing trees have already caused damage, experts can consult with you, assess the current situation, and see which steps should be taken to resolve the existing problems. They can also advise you which trees should be removed from your yard to ensure the safety of your home.