Hurricane season will soon be upon us! In Florida, our season begins on June 1 and goes through to November 30 with August and September generally being the most active months. That means that now is the right time to re-visit the landscaping around your foundation in order to lessen the impact of not only hurricanes, but also the tropical storms that we Floridians see often during the summer months.
Landscaping has a great impact on the health of your home’s foundation. Proper landscaping does more than just make your house and yard look great. Done right, it can help protect your home’s foundation, especially during hurricanes and tropical storms. But do it wrong and your landscaping can become a hazard to your foundation. And foundation repairs can be costly, so before you refresh your landscaping with new plants, check out the following tips!
First step is to check out what materials are around your foundation. The best would be materials that will lessen weeds and pests while providing good water drainage. These would include gravel, concrete, brick and rubber mulch.
Next is making sure your flowerbeds and plants slope away from the foundation and are well mulched. Bear in mind though, the plants should not be too close to the foundation. And do make sure you don’t completely “cover” your foundation with plants and greenery to ensure that moisture doesn’t build up.
Distance from the foundation applies to trees and shrubs also. It’s best to plant trees a good distance from the foundation as their root systems will spread out underground and could cause damage to the foundation. Some examples that won’t damage your foundation are evergreen and low growing shrubs.
Another thing to consider is if your landscaping plants are salt-tolerant and wind resistant, especially if you are located closer to the coast. Salt spray from waves will definitely damage your plants if they aren’t salt-tolerant. This goes for inland homes also as hurricanes carry small drops of salty water that are deposited along with the rain.
Last but not least is pruning. Pruning is very important to help hurricane/storm proof your home and property. Trim off everything that appears to be damaged and dead. Creating a lower profile on your shrubs will help reduce the impact of strong winds. Also, it goes without saying, be sure to trim tree limbs away from any power lines. For more information, check out the University of Florida’s hurricane-related landscaping tips on their website.
Do give us a call and set up an appointment for one of our structural engineers to come and not only inspect your foundation, but also to advise you on your current landscaping. Now’s the time – hurricane season is almost here!
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