Landscaping & Foundation Health Check List
Whether you’re preparing a house for sale, or giving new homeowners tips, don’t forget the foundation.
As an easily overlooked part of a home, the foundation is the most important part of the building. Without a strong and stable foundation, the home will have structural problems. Most of us hide the foundation behind landscaping, but don't forget to think about the impact of shrubs, trees and other foliage on the home's foundation.
Foundation Safety Considerations
If the home is built on expansive soils, make sure that flowers and shrubs are 5 feet from the foundation. If they are planted too close to the foundation then it could dry out the soil and cause house settling.
Large trees and roots
Large trees can have an impact on your foundation. The roots of the tree mirror the canopy. So if the canopy of the tree extends over the home, then the roots extend under the foundation. The trees drink a lot of water which can create settlement problems in areas of the home.
Grading is critical
Make sure that the soil slopes away from the foundation. If there are gaps or dips, fill them with soil and gently tamp down. Do not install wood chips next to the foundation since they allow water to drip through.
Make sure the gutter drains point away from the home. Ideally the drains will discharge 5 feet away from the house. Installing an underground discharge line is an attractive option that doesn’t interfere with landscape or mowing.
Low lying areas
Low lying areas that collect water. If there’s an area on the property that collects water during rain, either fill the area, install drainage or install a rain garden with drainage. Make sure that water is drained away from the home.
Pavement and driveway sloping
Make sure that pavement and pavers slope away from the home. If the pavement has settled and slopes toward the home, it needs to be replaced or re-poured to restore the original slope.
Don’t place sprinklers next to the home. The excess water can create hydrostatic pressure which will cause foundation damage. If the sprinklers are already installed either lower the setting on the sprinkler heads closest to the home or use a rain gauge to time the system.