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7 Landscaping Tips to Help You Avoid Foundation Damage

July 9th, 2024 | 3 min. read

By Sarah Etler

Learn what you can do with your landscaping to help prevent costly foundation problems.

While it may seem like flowerbeds and plants are just there to increase curb appeal and provide a relaxing hobby, landscaping around your home actually plays a crucial role in protecting your foundation.

If your landscaping isn’t properly installed with your foundation in mind, you can end up with severe issues such as:

  • Water getting into your basement
  • Cracks in your foundation, interior walls, and ceiling
  • Home settling

Making a few changes in your landscaping can help keep your foundation dry, stable, and crack-free throughout the life of your home.

Whether you are laying out a new landscaping plan or changing up your old one, here are some tips that can help you protect the foundation of your home.

1. Build a Slope Away From Your Home

This is the number one thing you’ll need to do with your landscaping to protect your foundation.

Your entire yard should gently slope away from your home. Ideally, you should have at least a six-inch drop in elevation for every ten feet you move away from your home.

This gentle grade will move water away from your home and foundation.

2. Think About All Sides of Your Home

It’s best that all sides of your home are landscaped, even the seldom-used ones, so that you don’t end up watering one side and leaving the other dry.

This can create uneven pressure on your foundation, leading to bowing or cracking. Consider all sides of your home when it comes to landscaping as well as the grade of your yard.

3. Avoid Planting Trees Next to the Foundation

Make sure you plant trees away from your foundation to avoid issues as they grow. Trees can create a variety of problems for foundations.

Tree roots create voids as they grow and absorb water from the soil, causing the soil to shrink, settle, and move. This movement can put stress on your foundation, leading to cracks and the need for foundation repair.

4. Use Mulch in Flowerbeds

Mulching flower beds and other areas around your home doesn’t just look good – it’s a great way to soak up excess water.

Even if you don’t plan on doing any planting, creating an area of mulch around your foundation will act like a sponge and help prevent water from seeping into the foundation and into your home.

5. Don’t Cover Your Foundation Entirely

When creating a grade for your yard or designing flower beds, make sure you don’t completely cover up your foundation.

Several inches of your home’s foundation should be visible all the way around the house. This is important for drainage and weep holes so that moisture behind your walls has somewhere to go instead of being trapped inside your home.

6. Install Drainage Solutions For Excess Water

When it rains, take a look at where the water gathers in your yard. If you end up with areas that start to resemble tiny lakes or ponds, you should consider installing drainage solutions.

A French drain, catch basin, channel drain, or other drainage methods in your yard can funnel the water away from your home. Standing water in your yard is a warning sign that you could experience major foundation issues later on.

7. Keep Your Gutters Clean and Downspouts Extended

While gutters and downspouts might not be a part of your landscaping per se, where and how they drain have a big impact on your foundation.

You’ll want to clean your gutters twice a year to make sure they are effectively catching water and sending it away from your home.

Also, make sure the gutters are draining away from your home with downspout extensions. You don’t want them dumping all the water from your roof right next to your foundation, but rather carried 10+ feet away and directed downhill.

Related Resource: 6 Reasons To Install Downspout Extensions

What To Do About Foundation Damage

Unfortunately, even if you do everything right with your landscaping, you could still have a need for foundation repair.

While landscaping can be a great way to help protect your foundation, there are plenty of other things that can cause a foundation to crack or settle incorrectly.

If you’ve noticed issues with your foundation, get in touch with a foundation expert as soon as possible to avoid worsening damage and evaluate your options.

Some A-1 Concrete Leveling locations also provide foundation repair services. Find your nearest location to see if they offer foundation repair services and request a free estimate.

Sarah Etler

Sarah Etler joined A-1 Concrete Leveling after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Kentucky University. As A-1's Content Marketing Manager, she works closely with industry experts to produce content that will best answer questions related to concrete repair and maintenance practices. Sarah loves living a life full of discovery and is excited every day to see what new things she can learn and share with those around her.