Gardening 101

Is Your Garden Hurting Your Home’s Foundation?


Whether you have a large front lawn, a generous backyard, or both, if you’re a North Carolina homeowner that wants to add a little something to your land, a garden might come to mind! But while your garden will certainly beautify your property and provide you with a fun way to enjoy the outside, you’ll want to make sure the gardening fun stays outside and doesn’t find its way into your home through the foundation. But what does your garden have to do with your home foundation? How would your garden ever do something to your house?

Let’s have a look at how your garden could affect your North Carolina home, and how you can prevent it!

Water Against the Foundation

Your garden’s location should not be too close to your home’s foundation. Your garden’s proximity to your home can lead to a number of potential problems that you may have to deal with down the road.

Whenever you water your garden, the water will naturally soak into the soil. Your plants, veggies, or flowers will take in some of that water, but much of it will also keep seeping downward. Should your garden be too close to your home foundation, that water could collect against your foundation wall. Should your foundation have any cracks, that same water may infiltrate into the concrete and possibly even reach your basement or crawlspace. Water against your foundation can also lead to moisture vapor penetrating into the concrete and reaching your lower-level space.

When this water and moisture infiltration happens to your foundation, it can lead to other problems entering your home through your basement or crawlspace. Have a look at the following to see how water and moisture in your lower level can roll out the red carpet for trouble.

Pests Love Damp Spaces

Whether it’s water from your garden leaking into your basement, or moisture vapor building up in your crawlspace, it all leads to a damp and moisture-rich environment.

Unfortunately, this is also the perfect kind of environment for a whole host of pests! Here are just some of the pests that might move into your basement or crawlspace if it happens to have the moisture levels that they enjoy.

  • Termites
  • Ants
  • Dust Mites
  • Rats and Mice

Each of these pests brings its own set of troubles with them. From termites causing damage to the wooden structures of your home to dust mites causing allergic reactions, these pests can create an unhealthy situation both for you and your North Carolina home.

Moisture Means Mold Infestations

Too much moisture in your basement or crawlspace can also lead to another problem: mold growth. Mold spores are everywhere, but you won’t see them turn into colonies of mold without the right amount of moisture. Usually, this isn’t a problem in a house that has a nice and dry environment. But when there’s excess moisture in the lower-level space, any mold spores that are resting on organic material such as wooden supports will begin to grow and colonize. Then that mold will begin releasing spores of its own. Not only can mold spores agitate allergies and complicate things for those with respiratory illnesses, but mold can also cause physical damage to the surfaces that they grow on. This is especially the case for one particular group of fungal species: Wood rot.

By controlling the moisture in your basement or crawlspace, and by keeping outside water from reaching your foundation, you can prevent mold from gaining a foothold.

How to Protect Your Foundation While Gardening

To prevent these moisture-related problems from invading your home, you should make sure that your garden is never adjacent to your foundation. Depending on what kinds of plants you wish to grow in your garden, you should make sure that your garden is far enough to account for when your plants mature. Your fully grown plants should not be able to reach your home. Even if the garden bed is far enough from your home foundation, if the plants can reach your home, then rain can drip from your garden plants and onto the soil next to your foundation. These distancing measures will also protect your foundation from the possibility of plant roots causing damage as they try to find water sources.

This all applies also to your other landscaping features such as shrubs, bushes, and trees. None of them should be adjacent to your home foundation, and they should be far enough to account for their potential reach as well as their roots.

Proper Landscaping Is One Part of the Equation, Waterproofing is the Other

Even if your gardening hose isn’t spraying water down to your foundation, North Carolina still receives an annual average of 48 inches of rainfall—more than the national average of 38 inches. A lot of water can potentially fall and seep into the soil surrounding your foundation, all without the help of your garden plants.

Along with properly placing your garden and other landscaping elements, you may want to consider having proper solutions put in place to waterproof your basement or encapsulate your crawlspace. This will help create a comprehensive system of defense against water and moisture. From waterproofing to dehumidification solutions, there are a variety of components that can aid in controlling water and moisture within your lower level and around your foundation. To ensure that your basement or crawlspace gets the protection it needs, consider contacting a professional contractor that specializes in basement waterproofing and crawlspace encapsulation.

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