You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your landscaping. The last thing you want to hear is that it may be compromising your foundation’s structural integrity. Unfortunately, if you don’t design your front walk with your landscaping in mind, you may inadvertently expose your foundation to unnecessary risks.
How can you plan your landscaping around your foundation without compromising your dreams?
How To Landscape With Your Foundation In Mind
If you’re worried about your landscaping’s impact on your foundation, you may want to keep some of the following tricks in mind. They’re designed to help you find the balance between a beautiful front yard and a safe, secure foundation:
- Watch your slopes
When you’re first establishing the beds for your landscaping, make sure they grade up toward your home. If your bed slopes down toward your perimeter, rainwater will run toward your foundation instead of away from it.
- Create distance
You’ll want to keep all of your plants, no matter how invasive their root systems are, a minimum of five feet away from the perimeter of your home. If you plant your shrubs or flowers any closer, their root systems can disrupt the dirt around your foundation. While no root systems have the staying power to physically damage your home, the shifting soil will allow water ready access to your property. With that access comes an increase in hydrostatic pressure, which puts the structural integrity of your home at risk.
- Keep your soil damp
Surprisingly enough, watering your landscaping beds can help you protect your home from water damage. How so? Consider this: when your soil goes without water for an extended period of time, its molecules shrink. In this smaller state, your soil is unable to absorb as much water as it normally would. As such, when it rains after a drought, your foundation will be at a higher risk of water damage. Comparatively, if you consistently water your landscaping beds, your soil will remain hydrated and capable of water absorption.
- Invest in mulch
Mulch can help you protect your home from hydrostatic pressure. When you invest in a hyper-absorbent mulch, you ensure that your plants get all the water they need while also keeping that water away from your perimeter.
- Clear out your drainage holes
Finally, make sure you don’t cover up your drainage holes when filling out your landscaping. These holes are designed to direct water away from your foundation. You’ll want to check on them even after you’ve finished planting to make sure that no critters or plants have blocked their flow.
Note that while all of these methods will better protect your foundation against water damage, nothing beats traditional waterproofing. Talk to one of the professional foundation and basement repair contractors operating out of the Baltimore area to learn more about which waterproofing solutions may work best with your landscaping.
Trees and Plants To Avoid
Even if you plan your landscaping with all of the previously mentioned tips in mind, there are still some hedges and trees that’ll put your foundation at risk. These species all have fast-growing and invasive root systems. If planted too close to your home or otherwise left them unchecked, these root systems can rapidly reshape the soil around your home and expose your foundation to water.
The trees and hedges 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
Note that you don’t have to leave these trees and hedges off of your shopping list altogether. You don’t, however, want any of these species within 20 feet of your home. If you still want to plant them, consider placing them farther out in your yard than you normally would. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy their shade and beauty without worrying about their roots’ impact on your home.
What To Do If Your Landscaping Doesn’t Protect Your Home
No matter how well you plan out your landscaping, something may go wrong. If you notice the signs of a crack or leak in your home, reach out to one of the professional foundation and basement repair contractors in the Baltimore area. These professionals will be able to inspect your home and identify how water and moisture are getting inside. After an inspection, you’ll receive a free quote on potential services.
Don’t let the risk of foundation damage keep you from fulfilling your landscaping dreams. Plant smart and work with local contractors to ensure that your foundation remains water-tight.