How could landscaping around the foundation of your house be so important? Little things such as mulching your flower beds could exponentially help your foundation. In this article, you’re going to learn why landscaping around the foundation of your house is important, the effects of improper landscaping, and nine different ways you can improve your landscape.

Why Landscaping Around The Foundation Of Your House Is Important

Landscape Architect sketching Detail on Garden Plan. Design, Idea and Sketch is my own Work.

Water is the ultimate culprit when it comes to foundation damage. If water pools up at the base of your foundation, it can affect the structural integrity of your home. If it rains and your property is very flat, you could end up with water everywhere. Proper landscaping can help guide water to places you want it to go, such as street gutters, dry wells, and swales.

The Effects Of Improper Landscaping

If you don’t have very good landscaping, your home could be affected in various negative ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Water can lead to mold – If water pools up at your foundation, it could leak into your basement or crawlspace. Once it’s inside, mold can begin to grow. Besides being gross, mold can lead to serious health problems like eye and skin irritation, coughing, and lung infections.
  • Water can lead to bugs – Mosquitos love to breed in shallow water and lay eggs near stagnant or still water. If you live in a humid state, bugs can already be a problem. Improper landscaping can lead to pooling water, which can lead to bugs.
  • Too much water can lead to dead plants – If you have improper landscaping, your lawn becomes an over-watered swamp. Plants need oxygen as much as they need water. If water has nowhere to go and saturates the soil, it could drown your grass and plants.
  • Water can damage your basement – If you have a basement foundation, pooling water can find its way inside using cracks, joints, window wells, or porous concrete. Once water is inside, it can cause all sorts of damage. Read more about foundation leak repair solutions.
  • Water can damage your foundation – Damage to your foundation can be a significant financial and safety concern. If your foundation is exposed to water for a long period of time, it can start to affect your home structurally. Signs of structural damage include settlement, cracks, bowed walls, multiple sticking windows/doors, and more.
Flooded yard with benches
flooded yard with chairs and a table

9 Ways To Landscape Around The Foundation Of Your Home

Below are nine things you can do to improve the landscaping around the foundation of your house.

  1. Plant trees away from your foundation – Tree roots can be twice as wide as the tree’s canopy. If they begin to grow underneath your foundation, they cause damage and drink all the moisture in your soil. Trees that are okay for your foundation are usually smaller, ornamental trees like magnolias or myrtles. Trees that are not okay for foundations are larger like Oak, Pine, American Elms, and willows. If you already have trees on your property that are not okay for foundations, what can you do? Don’t worry. You can install a root barrier or irrigation line to keep the tree’s roots in check. Or if you have to, you can have the tree removed.
  2. Leave some of your foundation exposed – Keep some of your foundation exposed so that you can still inspect it for damage. The rule of thumb is to leave around 3 to 5 inches visible.
  3. Don’t cover any drains or outlets – Don’t cover any drains or outlets with plants, shrubs, or trees. This will restrict water from draining out of your yard.
  4. Clean and improve your gutter system – Add gutter extensions to your downspouts to carry water further away from your foundation. You don’t want water pouring down directly at your foundation. Regularly clean your gutters. If leaves, branches, twigs, or anything else clog up your gutters, it can cause water to pour over the side and drop at your foundation. You can also add rain barrels, which collect roof water and hold it for later use.
  5. Remember to mulch your flower beds – Mulch helps retain moisture and prevents soil from becoming too dry in the summer months. Clayey soil that experiences a dry-to-wet cycle can shrink when it’s dry and swell when it’s wet. This type of soil is called expansive soil and can exert pressure on your foundation, causing damage.
  6. Ensure your flower beds slope away from your foundation – The soil around your house should slope at least 6 to 10 inches within 10 feet of your foundation. This will help water flow away from your house and not seep into the soil next to your foundation.
  7. Water and landscape every side of your house – If you only landscape the front of your house, the soil on that side will retain more moisture than the other sides. If your soil is made up of a lot of clay, the soil can expand when it’s wet and then shrink when it dries. You want to water and spread out your landscaping, spreading out water retention.
  8. Build a drainage system – If your property suffers from pooling surface or below surface groundwater, consider building a drainage system such as a swale or French drain. Swales are small ditches filled with grass, gravel, or rock that help collect runoff from your property. French drains are perforated (poked with holes) pipes placed at ground level in your yard. French drains carry collected water to the lowest part of your yard, a drainage ditch, street gutters, or a dry well (an underground structure that disposes of unwanted water).
  9. Plan your concrete structures carefully – Sidewalks, patios, and driveways made of concrete should be built to allow water to drain in the right direction, away from your foundation. Don’t place large garden beds on one side and then place a large expanse of concrete on another.
Garden work being done landscaping a flowerbed with a red wheelbarrow full of organic potting soil and celosia seedlings standing with a spade on a manicured lawn alongside a bed of colorful flowers
Rain gutter clogged with leaves and olives. Damaged plastic mesh gutter guard and leaf screen.
Home with improper landscaping

Call The Professional Solutions

If you need professional help, call Foundation Professionals of Florida, an award-winning and top-performing company. We specialize in foundation repair, foundation waterproofing, crawl space repair, crawl space waterproofing, concrete lifting, and more.