11 Best Plants To Place Around Your Foundation & Landscaping Tips
Your home's foundation and landscaping go hand in hand, influencing each other in more ways than you might think. The decisions you make when selecting plants can significantly impact the stability and well-being of your foundation.
In this blog, we'll teach you about the role landscaping plays, offering valuable insights and expert tips on planting strategies that will keep your home in harmony with its surroundings. Plus, we'll give you the best plants to place around your foundation. Let's go.
Plants, soil, and your foundation
Your foundation supports your entire home. And the soil around it plays a key role in maintaining its stability.
Think of your foundation as a cake and the soil as a cake stand. Just like a cake needs a strong and sturdy stand to hold its weight, your home’s foundation relies on the soil beneath it to provide support.
Landscaping elements, like trees and plants, can directly affect the moisture levels and soil composition around your foundation. The plants you choose can lead to issues like soil erosion, excessive moisture, and even foundation settlement.
How plants affect the soil around your foundation
All plants have root systems that affect soil composition. As plants grow, their roots also grow and create channels underground. These roots help bind the soil particles together, contributing to their overall structure and stability. Different plant species have different root systems, some being more aggressive than others.
Plants also rely on water to survive, so they greatly affect the moisture levels in the soil around your foundation. Plants consume water from the soil through a process called transpiration, which can sometimes cause the soil to shrink, contract, and potentially pull away from the foundation.
On the flip side, overwatering can oversaturate the soil, leading to increased pressure on the foundation and issues like erosion.
As plants grow and spread their roots, they start to play a game of "Who can get the most water" with the soil around your foundation. Large trees with extensive root systems can take significant amounts of moisture from the soil, causing it to shrink and potentially lead to settlement issues. On the other hand, plants with shallow roots may not be as disruptive but can still impact the soil's moisture balance.
The best plants for your foundation
As you design your landscaping, it's essential to keep your foundation in mind. Here’s a list of foundation-friendly plants, categorized by type, and the reasons why they're a good choice.
- Boxwood - This is your typical shrub look. They provide year-round beauty and can be trimmed into various shapes. Even better, they have shallow root systems that are less likely to interfere with your foundation.
- Spirea - Spirea offers colorful blooms and low-maintenance care. Their root systems are gentle on the soil around your foundation.
- Fescue - Fescue grasses have non-invasive root systems that create a lush, textural backdrop without posing a threat to your foundation.
- Lavender - Lavender's aromatic blooms and shallow roots make it an excellent choice for a foundation-friendly garden.
- Salvia - Salvia attracts pollinators and offers vibrant colors while maintaining well-behaved root systems.
- Coneflower - These colorful and pollinator-friendly flowers have deep taproots that won't disturb your foundation's stability.
- Black-Eyed Susan - If you love sunflowers, then you'll love black-eyed susan. With its yellow blooms, this flower complements your landscape without jeopardizing your foundation.
- Japanese Maple - With its delicate foliage and shallow root system, the Japanese maple is a great choice near your foundation.
- Dogwood - Dogwoods provide spring blooms and beautiful fall foliage while maintaining a non-invasive root structure.
- Clematis - These climbing vines add vertical interest without aggressive root behavior.
- Honeysuckle - Fragrant honeysuckle vines are beautiful and attract hummingbirds, all while being kind to your foundation.
What makes a plant foundation-friendly
- Shallow roots: Foundation-friendly plants typically have shallow root systems that are less likely to invade the soil around your foundation.
- Non-invasive: These plants are less aggressive in their growth patterns, reducing the risk of root intrusion and potential foundation damage.
- Soil stabilization: Certain plants, like grasses and ground covers, help stabilize the soil, preventing erosion that could affect your foundation's stability.
- Water regulation: Some plants can help manage water runoff and prevent excess moisture accumulation near your foundation.
- Balanced growth: Foundation-friendly plants strike a balance between good looks and responsible growth, ensuring your landscape thrives without compromising your home's foundation.
More foundation-friendly landscaping tips
1. It's all about placement
The art of landscaping lies in strategic placement. Position larger plants, such as trees, a safe distance away from your home's foundation. This prevents aggressive root systems from intruding on your foundation and causing potential damage.
2. Add mulch
Mulch is a foundation's best friend. Adding mulch around plants helps regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and reduce soil expansion and contraction. This protective layer also stops weeds from growing and interfering with your foundation.
3. Good drainage
Managing water is so important for your foundation. Ensure proper drainage systems are in place to redirect rainwater away from your home's foundation. Grade your landscape to prevent water from pooling near the base of your home, which can lead to soil erosion and compromise stability.
Regularly inspect your landscape for signs of soil displacement, erosion, or overgrown roots. Trim back any vegetation that may be getting too close to your foundation or obstructing drainage paths.
5. Don't forget about patios
Hardscapes, like patios, walkways, and retaining walls, can enhance your landscape, but their placement is critical. Improperly installed hardscaping can redirect water toward your foundation, leading to water damage and erosion. Ensure proper drainage and slope away from your home to keep water at a safe distance.
6. Plan for the future
Think ahead when planning your landscape. Consider the growth potential of plants and how their root systems may impact your foundation over time. By doing this, you're able to make more informed decisions that contribute to both the beauty and stability of your home.
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How bad landscaping impacts your foundation
If you're anything like us, you appreciate the art of careful consideration. And exploring all possible scenarios before jumping all in. So let's take a moment and imagine what would happen if you ignored all these helpful landscaping tips. How would poor landscaping choices impact your foundation?
1. Excess moisture
Things like poor grading or improper drainage can lead to excess moisture accumulating and pooling near your foundation. Over time, this weakens the soil and compromises your foundation’s stability. It can also lead to basement leaks and mold growth.
2. Invasive roots
Trees and shrubs with invasive root systems can damage foundation walls, causing cracks and compromise the structural integrity. As roots grow, they may apply pressure against the foundation, leading to shifts or tilting.
3. Poor drainage
Bad drainage can lead to standing water near your foundation. This can cause the soil to expand when saturated and contract when it dries, putting stress on your foundation and potentially leading to movement and damage.
4. Soil expansion and contraction
Certain plants, especially those with deep root systems, can cause soil expansion and contraction as they absorb water and moisture. This constant movement can stress your foundation and lead to cracks or other forms of damage over time.
5. Pest infestations
Poor landscaping practices that create debris, clutter, or moisture pockets near your foundation can attract pests like termites. These pests can not only damage your landscaping but also compromise your foundation's wooden components.
Harmonize your home & garden
Your choices in plants, trees, and design elements can either stabilize or jeopardize your foundation. By adding these tips to your landscaping, you'll be able to protect your home and build a beautiful garden. A win-win.
If you have questions about your foundation, or see signs of foundation settlement in your home, we'd love to help. We're a foundation repair contractor that's been in business since 1975 and offer free, no-obligation home inspections. Contact us today by starting a chat in the bottom right corner, filling out this form, or calling us at 515-585-6491.