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Beginner Landscaping: WIll I have moisture issue planting too chose to the house?

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lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 9, 2011
8:58 AM

Post #8549665

We are installing paver for the backyard. The based rocked are already laid on the ground by the contractor. I asked the contractor to leave a foot of open space around the house for planting (small shrubs or flowers). The structure on the right side of the pic is the garage. The foundation is exposed right now. If I fill the trench with gardening soil leveling to the paver (3 above the based rock), will I create moisture issue for the walls?

If yes, in order to resolve this issue, should I dig deeper, and then fill in the gardening soil. So that the top of the filled soil will be couple inches lower than the paver.

Please help, your opinion is very valuable to us.Thanks!

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lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 9, 2011
8:59 AM

Post #8549667

Here is another part of the house which the foundation is lower than the garage. So before I add anymore soil, the foundation is over covered by the dirt. Similar question here, should I dig deeper so that the top of the gardening soil will not cover the edge of the wall?

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flowAjen

flowAjen
central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 9, 2011
1:43 PM

Post #8550317

12" is kinda narrow for planting much.

You can put in some of those narrow plastic deck/window boxes if you are concerned about moisture.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 9, 2011
1:47 PM

Post #8550329

At the base of all house / building structures there should be a damp proof barrier to prevent any dampness from the soil traveling right up the wall causing brick or plaster damage on the outer walls and the same traveling though to the inside of the house / building that can cause health problems, add to that the damage long term to structure of the building.
To give an idea as to will you be able to fill the trench with soil and grow plants, the answer is YES, the IMPORTANT part is for you to find the line of the damp proofing and make sure you don't have ANY soil above this lever, keep soil about 6 inches below this level so that your plants expanding roots and growth will not cause soil to climb above the level, when you water the plants, make sure you don't flood above the level.
Sounds complicated but once you find the top of the damp proof, place a few little marks on the wall just to remind you where it is and after a few months you will automatically know where this level is.
Hope this is helpful and good luck, a few months from now you will be sending pictures of the blooming flowers /climbers, Ha, ha, ha. WeeNel.
lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 9, 2011
2:13 PM

Post #8550373

flowAjen: Thanks! This might be one of the solutions.

WeeNel: Thanks too! I didn't know about the damp proof barrier before. Any idea how can I locate the line? I know there's no crawl space underneath the garage. Exclude the garage area, the house has a 4 feet crawl space, the sub-floor is sitting on a concrete foundation and pillars. The house was built in 1948.

Appreciated both of your helps!
shune
Burien, WA
(Zone 7b)

May 9, 2011
2:25 PM

Post #8550390

Soil should not touch with the house. You should have a concrete foundation with 6 to 8 inches of space between the soil level and where the actual siding of the house begins above the foundation. Damp soil will damage the house and insects can crawl up into the house from the soil. This is what I was told anyway.
lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 10, 2011
6:03 PM

Post #8553396

Thanks for your advise, Shune!

Does anyone know if it is safe to have the soil level at point B which is 6 inches below the stucco wall?

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lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 11, 2011
10:04 AM

Post #8554734

shune wrote:Soil should not touch with the house. You should have a concrete foundation with 6 to 8 inches of space between the soil level and where the actual siding of the house begins above the foundation. Damp soil will damage the house and insects can crawl up into the house from the soil. This is what I was told anyway.


I drew a picture. Is this what you were talking about?

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

May 12, 2011
6:15 AM

Post #8557300

I would take FlowaJen's idea of narrow boxes or even pretty pots one step further and add a layer of weedblock fabric covered with egg rock (1 inch or larger landscape rock) that will ensure drainage and keep weeds from sneaking into the area. You would still need to allow a space between top of the rock and the bottom of the house wall.

We have a serious problem in Louisiana with the Formosa termite. Builders and landscapers here recommend planting no closer than 18 to 24 inches from the foundation and no additional or disturbed soil within 12 inches of the foundation...it makes it way to hard too see insects creeping up the foundation if you plant any closer.

We also have fire ants that just love a nice dry protected area for their nests. Shortly after we bought our house, we had to have exterminators and carpenters in to kill a fire ant nest in the dining room wall...the entire area below the windows (30 inches by 6ft) was a nest with damage to wood and insulation...and it wasn't cheap.
lamlam
Burlingame, CA

May 13, 2011
9:01 AM

Post #8560142

themoonhowl wrote:I would take FlowaJen's idea of ...


Thanks themoonhowl for your personal experience. Planting in containers might be my best way to prevent creating any issues for the house. I don't have any ant or termite right now but I don't want them forever.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

May 13, 2011
10:16 AM

Post #8560280

You are very welcome. The cool thing about containers is that you can vary what is there according to seasons or your moods...grin Plus the water used in the containers won't create any drainage problems. Please post a picture when you get it finished. i am sure it will be lovely.

Moon

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