Prevent Foundation Problems with These Landscaping Tips

Foundation problems can compromise the structural integrity of your home. In the Intermountain West, our unstable soil conditions increase this risk. Damage to your home’s support system can be corrected but the damage can become extensive – and expensive – before you know you have a problem. foundation problems

Fortunately, you can help prevent foundation damage by making a few changes in your landscaping. These tips can help you design your lawns and gardens to more effectively preserve your home’s structural support.

Grade Your Lot Properly to Avoid Foundation Problems

Is the lawn around your home completely flat? Or, worse, does it slope toward the house? You’re asking for foundation problems, if so, as any water runoff will settle at the location of your home’s structural support footings.

Grading the lot properly is essential to prevent drainage issues and protect your home from structural damage. Your lot should slope downward at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet of soil closest to the foundation.

If your slope is less, regrading the lawn will help you avoid any further foundation damage. You can tackle a grading project on your own or you can contact a local landscaping company or excavation contractor to handle it for you.

Don’t Install Plants Too Close to Your House Foundation

Do you have bushes, hedges, trees or flowers around the perimeter of your house? If so, it can lead to foundation problems unless you plan the landscaping correctly.

If you place plants too close to your home, their root systems can expand and grow beneath your foundation’s footings. Installing root barriers is one way to help avoid this problem. Or simply avoid planting anything immediately adjacent to the foundation.

Here’s a good landscaping rule of thumb to avoid foundation damage. Consider the mature width of your plants, and place them at least that far away from your home. If any branches or leaves touch the house – or could touch the house once they’ve reached maturity – the plants are too close.

Plan Concrete Features Carefully to Prevent Foundation Problems

Concrete sidewalks, driveways, patios and landscaping paths should be designed and built to direct water runoff away from your house. Otherwise, water can pond near the foundation.

It’s also wise to plan for balance when designing new concrete landscaping elements around your home. Placing a large expanse of concrete on one side of your house and heavily-watered garden beds on the other could create structural foundation problems, as the soils may settle differently in these locations.

When making any significant landscaping modifications around your home, consider your storm water and roof drainage management plan. An effective gutter system with properly placed downspouts can help you avoid the need for structural foundation repairs. It can also augment your sprinkler system, saving you money on the water bill.

Applying these tips around your home can save you the stress and expense of foundation repair. If it’s too late and you already have foundation settlement problems, we can help. Atlas Piers, serving homeowners throughout Nevada, Wyoming and Utah, can evaluate your home and provide a customized estimate for repairing your foundation problems. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection.

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