One of the benefits of owning your home is your ability to make the most of your front lawn. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, your decorative landscaping could compromise the structural integrity of your foundation.
Luckily, there are several tricks you can employ not only to avoid foundation damage but to keep unwanted water away from your home.
How To Landscape With Your Foundation In Mind
While waterproofing your home is the best way to protect your foundation from water damage, there are some landscaping tricks you can use to your advantage. Whether you’re planting a certain type of hedge or grading your soil, you’ll be able to reduce the hydrostatic pressure your foundation has to endure.
Where should you start if you want to protect your home? When planning your landscaping, keep the following in mind:
- Watch your slopes – Your landscaping beds need to slope away from your home, not toward your foundation. If your beds are sloping toward the perimeter of your home, then your rainwater will run straight down toward your foundation. Alternatively, you can opt to grade the beds around your home so that they slant away from your perimeter and direct any excess water back toward the rest of your yard.
- Create distance – You’ll want to try and keep most of your plants at least five feet away from your perimeter, if not more. Plants that get up close and personal with your foundation will frequently shift the soil in that area. As a result, water will have more of a chance to move close to your home and compromise your foundation’s structural integrity.
- Keep your soil damp – Surprisingly enough, you can protect your foundation from water damage by consistently watering your plants. Soil that doesn’t receive a healthy amount of water will shrink in size. When it does finally rain, that under-hydrated soil won’t be able to absorb as much liquid as it normally would. As such, your foundation will be exposed to more water than usual, and you’ll likely have to deal with flooding. Comparatively, soil that’s frequently watered and healthy will be able to keep rain away from your perimeter.
- Invest in mulch – Mulch can keep rainwater away from your foundation. While you don’t want to create mulch volcanoes around your plants, you will want to invest in a mulch that’s hyper-absorbent. These types of mulches will both keep your plants healthy while protecting your foundation.
- Clear out your drainage holes – If you’ve accidentally covered your drainage holes with foliage or mulch, water will readily reach your foundation. Make sure you leave these areas clear during your landscaping. You’ll also want to check on them frequently to make sure recent rain or animal activity hasn’t blocked them up.
All of these tricks will let you maintain a beautiful front walk without compromising your foundation’s structural integrity. That said, note that even the best landscaping won’t substitute for foundation waterproofing. If you’re wondering which waterproofing solutions may suit your home best, be sure to get in touch with one of the professionals in Indianapolis, IN, for an inspection and free quote on potential services.
Trees and Plants To Avoid
Whether you’ve got a plan for your landscaping or you’re just winging it, there are some plants and trees you’re going to want to avoid. A number of popular trees and hedges have hyper-invasive root systems. This means these roots systems will grow quickly and aggressively. While they won’t physically disrupt your foundation, they will cause the soil around your foundation to rapidly shift. As a result, your foundation will be exposed to more hydrostatic pressure than it should be.
Which trees and hedges should you avoid? The species with the most invasive root systems include:
- Hybrid Poplars
- Bradford Pears
- Chinese Flame Trees
- American Elms
- Eastern Cottonwoods
- Silver Maples
- Mimosa Trees
- Southern Magnolias
- Sweet Gum Trees
Just because these trees and hedges have aggressive root systems doesn’t mean you have to keep from planting them entirely. It’s best to keep these species at least 20 feet away from your perimeter. Any closer and you’ll rapidly find yourself dealing with unwanted root damage.
What To Do If Your Landscaping Turns Sour
Unfortunately, there are times when even the cleverest of landscaping plans turn sour. If you landscaped with care but are still noticing signs of water damage throughout your home, get in touch with one of the contractors working out of the Indianapolis, IN, area. These professionals will be able to inspect your home for leaks and cracks. You’ll also benefit from a free quote on potential services, should your basement or foundation need to be repaired.