There are more than a few misconceptions about how to design and care for your landscaping. You might believe that watering in the evening will conserve water or that mowing your lawn shorter will help you avoid the chore later-on. Fortunately, most of these errors aren’t disastrous; though you might lose a few plants along the way, they won’t catastrophically damage your yard or your home.
Unfortunately, some mistakes are devastating. If you want to enjoy a beautiful, healthy yard and a strong, stable home, you need to read the following list of major landscaping oversights that harm your home.
Ignoring Drainage Zones
While modern construction is in the habit of leveling properties as much as they can, few residential homes are on completely flat pieces of land. That means that when it rains, or when you water your yard, that water flows in some direction around your property.
Generally, you want to avoid digging your landscaping to place your home at a lower grade than the rest of your land. If this happens, the water will flow toward your home, possibly seeping through doors or into walls and causing flood damage. This isn’t the end of the world; you can call restoration professionals like Service Master Restore to help dry and fix damaged areas of your home. However, if you want to your house from flooding every time it rains, you need to fix your landscaping.
Most building codes demand that the ground surrounding a home must have six inches of vertical fall within the first 10 horizontal feet away from the foundation. If there is a steeper slope leading to your home, you can increase the vertical fall to 12 inches or more. This forces the water into a channel around your home instead of right up to it.
Planting Close to the House
Trees, bushes and flowerbeds should protect your home from wind and extreme temperatures while providing visual interest – but planting too close to your home is a bad idea for a few reasons. You should keep shrubs and small trees at least 10 feet away from your foundation and tall trees 20 feet or more, or else you’ll experience:
Clogged gutters.Leaves, bark, twigs and other debris fall onto your roof and into your gutters from trees that overhang your home. This debris causes clogs in your gutters, which retain water next to your roof and walls. When winter hits, these clogs could freeze and cause ice dams and icicles, which are dangerous to you as well as your gutters.
Scraped siding. When the wind blows, shrubs and trees too close to your home will rattle their branches against your siding. This causes premature wear, which can lower the efficiency of your siding and require premature repair or replacement of siding in those spots.
Flooding. Plants close to your home need watering just like any others. Unfortunately, when you water plants that sit right up against your foundation, the water can seep into your foundation and walls, causing water damage inside your home.
Mold and mildew. Plants tend to hold in moisture and maintain milder temperatures, which facilitates the growth of disgusting and destructive fungi, like mold and mildew. Mildew can smother your plants – but mostly it will grow on your home and look icky. Meanwhile, mold can eat away at the structure of your home and kill you through respiratory diseases. It’s safe to day you don’t want either mold or mildew close to where you live.
Wildlife. The plants we use to landscape with are often some of the most attractive dwellings for various wildlife. Possums, raccoons, rabbits, skunks, woodpeckers and other destructive critters could move into the trees and shrubs around your home. This keeps them closer to your house, giving them more opportunities to cause damage to your property.
Keeping the Exterior Dark
You live inside, not outside, so you might be disinclined to waste precious energy on lighting up your landscaping after the sun sets. However, by keeping your property dark, you are increasing your danger significantly. First, thieves are attracted to poorly lit properties because it is unlikely that neighbors (or residents inside) will see them approaching and breaking in. Additionally, any guests you invite over might struggle to navigate to your door safely – without tripping over stones or falling into bushes – if your landscaping is dark.
Fortunately, it’s easy to provide enough illumination to attract the people you want and scare off the people you don’t. You can place solar lights along walkways; these charge during the day and turn off when it becomes sufficiently dark. You can also install motion sensors on lights near doorways or especially dark parts of your property. Then, you won’t add to light pollution with constant light, but you will be able to identify moving things when you need to.
Not all landscaping is good landscaping – but not all landscaping is bad. You can use elements like a lawn, shrubs and trees to your advantage, but you should always be careful to avoid the mistakes listed above. Then, not only will you need to fix your home, but you’ll need to redo your landscaping, too.