When you think about different aspects of your property, you probably don’t immediately connect the dots between landscaping and your home’s foundation. However, the relationship between the two is actually rather important – both for aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. Educating yourself on the role landscaping plays will help you make smart choices moving forward.
Foundation Planting Tips and Techniques
Foundation planting is different from other landscaping in that it’s not only used to beautify your property, but it’s also tasked with protecting the home’s foundation. So, how can you choose the right plants and follow the correct techniques to maximize aesthetic appeal and structural integrity? Well, let’s take a look at some key points.
1. Landscape All Sides of Your Foundation
The goal of foundation planting and landscaping is to establish as much consistency as you can around the property. You want every part of the foundation to be uniform. With that being said, make sure you landscape every side of your home.
The back of your property is just as important as the front. If you only plant on one side of your property, you’ll also only water one side of the property. This means just a portion of your soil will expand while the other soil will retain its size and consistency. Over the years, these differences can lead to cracks in the foundation. It may seem like a simple concept, but it’s tips like these that can mean the difference between a strong foundation and one that requires thousands of dollars of work down the road.
2. Think About Curb Appeal
When planting around your home’s foundation, you have to take curb appeal into account. Since these plants are right up near your home, they play an important role in the overall appeal of your property. This can directly impact your resale value if you ever decide to put the home on the market.
Some of the top curb appeal plants include hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, and rose bushes. When planting, think about the depth of the root systems and how much watering they require. Again, there should be consistency around the home.
3. Size Matters
When planting, you must have the foresight to consider the correct size and scale. Failing to think about final size at maturity is probably the number one mistake homeowners make.
Do your research before planting. Ask the friendly folks at your neighborhood nursery. Drive around and observe mature landscaping in your area. Read through advice columns online. The last thing you want to do is invest in landscaping that won’t look good or serve a functional purpose in the future.
“Above all, plan before you plant. A good place to start is by enlarging a photo of your house and tracing the outline of it on paper,” says Christopher Cohan of This Old House Magazine. “Add a few key features you want to keep, such as mature trees. Then start experimenting, sketching in plants (at their full-grown size and shape) you’re considering.”
“This process will help in choreographing the layout, determining exactly how much you can incorporate, and establishing a thoughtful and economical approach to putting in foundation plantings that truly enhance your home,” Cohan continues.
4. Assess Existing Trees
When planting around your home’s foundation, this is also the perfect time to assess your current risk. Look at existing trees and consider removing them if they’re too close to your house (less than 10-20 feet). If you can’t remove them, root pruning may be the best choice. After all, the last thing you want is for roots to interfere with your foundation’s health.
The Importance of Pavement and Landscape Slope
Aside from planting, you also need to be aware of the slope of pavement and landscaping features on your lot. Specifically, you should be paying attention to any changes that may occur.
Cracked sidewalks, sagging patios, and erosion may seem like minor aesthetic flaws, but they can lead to some pretty serious and damaging effects if you aren’t careful. When these surfaces deteriorate, water can find its way into your crawl space or basement, which in turn can lead to mold, mildew, and – in extreme situations – structural damage.
The land directly surrounding your home should slope away from the house. Ideally, the slope should decrease by roughly six inches for every 10 feet. One of the easiest ways to test this is by grabbing two stakes and a 12-foot length of string. Tie both ends of the string to the two stakes and put one in the ground next to the house and another in the ground 10 feet out.
You want the string to touch the ground at the stake closest to the house, but not at the stake away from the house. If the string is touching on both sides, the slope needs to be corrected. While there are numerous solutions – and much will depend on the situation – adding fill dirt around your home can help you achieve the proper slope.
The concrete around your home should also follow a similar slope. If you notice broken or sagging concrete, it’s possible that water is seeping through and accumulating in the soil around your foundation. Small cosmetic cracks can be repaired using epoxy crack injections, but major issues will need to be corrected by a professional.
Contact Edens Structural Today
At Edens Structural Solutions, we’ve made a commitment to serve the foundation repair needs of customers in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Bixby, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, and other cities in northeast Oklahoma.
This commitment to giving customers industry leading service and quality foundation repair solutions has been in place for more than 30 years. Over this time, we’ve built our family-owned business on the pillars of intelligence and integrity.
If these are qualities you look for in business partners, then we look forward to working with you. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to give you a free diagnosis and consultation of your home or business. While a deteriorating foundation is never good news, we can help you find the stability you need at an honest and fair price.