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foundation and landscaping

Landscaping with Your Foundation in Mind

The trees, hedges, and plants in your yard can have a significant impact on your foundation’s health if you don’t plant them with care. When you plan your landscaping ahead of time, you can use the terrain and your plants to your advantage.

Your Foundation and Landscaping: Finding Your Balance

When you’re first bringing your landscaping plans together, you’ll need to determine how they’ll impact the health of your foundation. You want to try and keep water away from your foundation to try and avoid a build-up of hydrostatic pressure. If your foundation falls under too much pressure, it can crack, sink, or otherwise suffer damage.

Luckily, there are some tricks you can employ to keep your foundation water-free with your landscaping. These include:

  • Slope your beds appropriately – The flow of water through your yard is directly impacted by your lawn’s grade. The same can be said for the flow of water through your flower beds. When you’re first establishing the layout for your landscaping, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a positive grade. This grade places your home higher up in your lawn and ensures water will flow away from your foundation. If you try to plant on a negative grade, water will run toward your foundation when it rains and force your structural supports to endure unnecessary hydrostatic pressure. 
  • Establish distance – You’ll also want to make sure to leave a gap between your perimeter and your plants. Trees and hedges can have aggressive root systems, as can smaller plants. As such, you’ll need to leave at least five feet between your perimeter and the longest branch on a small bush and 20 feet between your home and anything larger. 
  • Water your soil – Watering your soil doesn’t actually expose your home to unnecessary hydrostatic pressure. Instead, it keeps your soil healthy. Consider this: when your lawn goes without rain for an extended period of time, the soil particles around and beneath your home will begin to shrink. As their size decreases, they won’t be able to take in as much water as they once did. In the same vein, they’ll open up pockets of space beneath your home. Your foundation can sink into those pockets, causing your floor to become uneven or cracks to form. When you water your soil, the particles stay healthy and your foundation remains sturdy. 
  • Mulch your beds – One of the easiest ways to keep your soil healthy and your foundation water-free is to mulch your beds. Mulch can absorb some of the rainwater that might otherwise get inside your home. It can also keep your soil moist, ensuring the particles don’t shrink and your home doesn’t sink. 
  • Keep your drainage openings clean – If you have an interior or exterior drainage system in place, you’re going to need to ensure any openings stay obstacle-free. If something starts to block your drain, the water you want to flow out of your home will flow straight back in. To keep these clear, consider installing a drain curtain that meshes well with your landscaping.

While all these tricks will help you keep your foundation safe, none of them are ample replacements for traditional waterproofing. You’ll want to talk with one of the professional foundation and basement repair experts in the Greenville, SC, area to determine which waterproofing measures, as well as foundation repair options, will best work with the landscaping ambitions you have.

What to Avoid Planting Near Your Home

It’s often a plant’s root system that’ll cause the most trouble around your home. While a plant’s roots will rarely physically chip away at your foundation, their growth can cause the soil beneath your home to shift. In doing so, your foundation may become more prone to sinking, settlement, or damage. 

If you want to prevent that kind of root-based interference, you’ll want to avoid plants that have more invasive root systems. You can still include these trees and hedges in your yard, but you’ll want to put a good amount of distance between them and your perimeter.

Some of the plants with the most aggressive root systems include:

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

Dealing with Invasive Landscaping

Sometimes, you may move to a home where the landscaping’s already been done for you. Other times, you may accidentally plant a tree or hedge with invasive roots too close to your home without knowing it. You’re not alone when trying to deal with invasive landscaping. Reach out to one of the professional foundation and basement repair professionals in the Greenville, SC, area. After a home inspection, they’ll provide you with a free quote on any installation or repair services you may need to keep your home watertight.