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Did you know that the type of plants and trees you choose to landscape your property with can impact your foundation? It’s true. And, let’s face it, you always want to avoid foundation damage if possible. It’s a lot easier to choose (or replace) existing plants, shrubs or trees than to have to repair your foundation. Knowing the proper landscaping will not only make your home look great, it will help protect it from foundation damage.

Here in Florida we experience heavy rainfall frequently. Because of this, we have to take extra pains to ensure that water doesn’t “sit” or pool around our foundations. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind with your landscaping.

Sloping You always want to keep excess water from gathering at the base of your foundation. An easy remedy is to have your landscaping slope away from the house. Doing this will ensure that water never collects or pools around the foundation, eroding the soil and causing damage. A good rule of thumb is to have the yard slope a minimum of six inches for every ten feet.

Planting too close to the home Foundations don’t like roots, especially tree roots! Tree roots go through a shrinking and expanding cycle in different seasons. If planted too close to the home, this can create a real problem in the foundation. This is especially true in areas of Florida where trees (other than palm) are plentiful. Know the physiology of the tree’s roots before planting. To be extra safe, you may want to opt for shrubs or bushes instead.

Lawn Watering Are you guilty of regularly  watering only the portion of the lawn that is visible to the public? Believe it or not, this can cause problems. This partial watering can create imbalance in the soil that may cause problems in the future.

Drainage Sloping the landscape won’t be enough if you don’t have a proper drainage or gutter system. Gutters are designed to carry the water away from your home and will do this effectively if they are kept free of debris and blockage. Also, be sure the drainpipe from the gutters is directed  to push water at least five feet away from the home.

A home is probably the largest investment you’ll ever make. If you already own your home, taking care of it and protecting it from damage is always a worthwhile effort. If you are in the market and looking for a new home, be sure to have one of our professional inspectors check out the foundation and existing landscaping. They will let you know if there are existing issues with the foundation or if the landscaping may cause issues in the future. In the long run, you’ll be glad you had it checked out!