Landscaping is mostly associated with making your home look pretty. It involves choosing nice plants, growing trees and creating vibrant spaces in your front yard or backyard.
But there’s actually a side to landscaping that focusses on structural importance. Landscaping can be crucial to the structure of your foundation, which is why it’s so important to have well-planned landscaping when building a home. Here, we’ll go through the role of landscaping in keeping your foundation structurally strong.
Foundation movement: what causes it?
To understand why landscaping has such a crucial role in keeping your foundation solid, we have to look at why it moves in the first place. The main reason why foundation moves is due to changing moisture conditions in the sub-surface soil around your home.
Clay-rich soils are prone to absorbing a lot of water or in the alternative the lack of moisture due to drying related shrinkage caused by large trees too close to the footings, which causes your soil to expand or contract with drying related shrinkage. The more the dirt expands, the more pressure is placed on your foundation. Expansive soils also shrink when they dry, removing support from your foundation. The back-and-forth of swelling and shrinking causes repetitive stress on your foundation, making it weak and causing it to move.
Why incorrect landscaping contributes to this problem
Given that moisture changes in your soil are such a big part of why foundation moves, you can start to see how landscaping can affect this, for the better or for the worse. Poor landscaping around the foundation of your house will only contribute to moisture build-up, causing your soil to expand and contract which results in foundation movement. In this sense, ‘poor landscaping’ means landscaping that doesn’t properly divert water away from your home’s foundation. The worst possible landscaping is when your yard is sloped towards your foundation, diverting moisture in the direction of your foundation with improper drainage.
The best thing is to have paths that drain moisture away from the building of at least 1200mm out from the footings and to not plant large trees or shrubs against the buildings. Mature trees and shrubs can suck moisture from at least 1 times their height in each direction so keeping them well away from building is critical to maintaining constant moisture conditions under you footings.
Why good landscaping can help avoid this problem
On the flip side of this, correct landscaping around the foundation of your house can help to avoid foundation movement. When your landscaping is sloped away from your home, it can help to divert moisture away from its foundation. So, instead of your home looking like it’s built in a valley (which would be poor landscaping), this would look as though your home is perched on a hill.
So, now you understand how landscaping goes far beyond beautifying your home; it has serious structural implications. If you have issues with your foundation, talk to the experts at Techniblock. Since 1989, Techniblock have been repairing foundations across Victoria, restoring homes to their original state and making their foundations as strong as ever. To arrange an inspection and quote, contact the specialists at Techniblock today.