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Landscaping may seem just like a way to make the sides of your home or building look pretty, which it is but there are other purposes that it holds. One of the main reasons, other than appearance, is keeping standing water away from your home or building. Below are tips to help you with your landscaping and hopefully prevent basement floods.

Always check the downspouts. Directing water far away from your building is a must and common distance is to send water at least 20 feet. If they don’t, consider buying new ones or extensions for yours before the next storm. The connections between gutters and downspouts can become loosened over time, so check to see if they’re still firmly attached. Remember to always keep your gutters cleaned out. Installing gutter guards on top of gutters will reduce both clogs and the number of cleanings. Even with redirected downspouts, some yards still get erosion when gutters can’t handle the water volume.

The next tip is to make sure the grading of your landscape is in the right direction. Landscape grades that run toward the house instead of away from it often result in flooding. When your grading runs towards your home, it guides water in just like a funnel. The only way to stop the flooding is to improve the grading. To fix this, dig a dry creek and use gravel and river rocks of different sizes to raise the grade of the area and guide water away from the basement. For homeowners who don’t want to splice their yards, he says he can install a French drain where water flows into a gravel trench and then into a pipe.

Mulch is a simple, low maintenance supply to use when landscaping but it has to be done the right way. Mulch is more than just a decorative groundcover; it can hold moisture in and help your plants thrive. While that’s great for your bushes, if that damp mulch is right next to your home, it can rot the building materials over time, allowing rain inside and leading to water damage. If you use mulch around your home’s foundation, leave at least six inches between the mulch and the building to allow for drainage and air circulation. Don’t go closer than that because moisture can wick up from the mulch bed and rot the siding. It can touch brick or block, but not siding. Reconsider which type of mulch you use next to your home; river rocks won’t hold as much moisture as wood chips or bark.

Use native plants for landscaping. Plants, grasses, and shrubs that are local to your area will grow well and naturally prevent flooding by soaking up moisture before it can get into your home. Since they have already adapted to the climate and soil, there’s no need for excess watering to keep them looking their best.

Always watch where water appears around your home or building. If you notice puddles or standing water in the same spot around the foundation, take action before a more serious issue happens. It is always better to be proactive on these types of matters.


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