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Landscaping to Keep Your Foundation Dry

Landscaping to Keep Your Foundation Dry

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If you’re constantly having to deal with water in your basement, this is a sign that your foundation is probably getting wet too. A waterlogged foundation can lead to sagging, cracks, and expensive repair bills, so it’s important to find the source of the water and address it immediately.

You may think that your troubles stem from some problem with your home’s construction. But the actual cause of the leaking may be your landscaping. Here are some ways that strategically planned landscaping can keep your foundation dry.

  1. Flowerbeds and lawns should slope away from the house. To keep moisture running away from the home rather than toward it, experts recommend a downward (away from the house) grade of at least 8-10 inches within the first ten feet. This slope helps prevent erosion, so it also keeps your flowerbed’s soil intact and healthy.
  2. Think about drainage systems. When you’re planning the landscaping that’s directly next to the house, it’s important to think about creating paths for water to drain out. Sometimes edging is set up so that it gives excess water no place to go. If there’s no path (like spaces between bricks, for example), the water is likely to end up seeping into the foundation instead.
  3. Landscape the whole way around the house. It’s not a good idea to install flowerbeds or other types of landscaping on one side of the house while leaving the other side alone. This will lead to uneven watering, making one side of your foundation drier than the other. Cracks are often a result of this kind of uneven moisture distribution in the foundation.
  4. Watch out for hardscape elements. Decks, patios, walkways, and rock features can all be part of a landscaping plan, but they have to be carefully planned and arranged so they divert water away from the foundation, not toward it.
  5. Don’t go overboard. While it may seem like keeping all moisture away from your foundation is the most logical goal, it’s actually not a good idea. Soil that’s too dry can actually cause foundation cracks. In some especially dry areas, the soil next to a foundation must actually be watered on a regular schedule to prevent problems. In terms of landscaping, it’s important to avoid planting trees too close to the foundation because they draw too much moisture away from the foundation.
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