Every homeowner likes to see their lawn freshly cut, their bushes neatly trimmed and the planting beds outside their house free of weeds. Most of us like it even better when the local landscaping company has done it all for us, leaving us valuable free time for other pressing matters, like baseball, golf and barbecuing.
Even the most professional landscaping service, though, can inadvertently do things to the outside of your home that can have a negative impact on water management and ultimately cause seepage in your basement. Yard drainage is a crucial component in keeping your basement dry, healthy and functional and if it’s compromised can result in some serious problems.
I am not here to pick on landscapers — their job is to preserve the green stuff outside your house and make everything look pretty. They may not be aware that some of the things they do to accomplish these goals can create problems in your basement.
How Can Landscapers’ Work Cause Basement Water Problems?
Negative Grading – In previous discussions of water management, we’ve talked about how important it is that the ground surrounding your house is graded away from the foundation to avoid water running toward it. Obviously, the more water there is against the foundation, the more likely it is that some of it will end up in the basement. Sometimes, in an effort to create an attractive planting bed or plant shrubs, landscapers may grade toward the house for esthetic reasons, not realizing that they’ve created a virtual waterslide of seepage problems.
Edging that Works like a Dam – It can be attractive to set off plantings around the house with some type of edging and there is a wide range of products available to accomplish that, including plastic strip, bricks, cast landscaping blocks, railroad ties, stone and lots of others. Many of these products, if not installed with an eye toward drainage, can create impervious dams that will hold water too close to the house, especially if overflowing rain gutters are dumping water into the planting bed. This water, naturally, will seep down toward the foundation and, maybe, into the basement.
Removing Downspout Extensions – If you have downspout extensions to direct water away from your foundation, that’s great! However, if your extensions lay on the ground, they have to be removed to mow the lawn and weed planting beds next to the house. A busy landscaping crew, hustling to get on to the next house, doesn’t always remember to put them back.
Hardscape that Doesn’t Drain Properly – Many landscaping companies, like a lot of small businesses, often branch out into related fields and will take on a project even if it isn’t squarely within their area of expertise. They are often called on to install outdoor hardscape next to the house, like paver or stone patios, walkways and retaining walls. Without the equipment and expertise of professional installers, the resulting hardscape may not be properly pitched or may drain poorly, resulting in water in the basement.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we’re experts on basement water problems and can help you solve yours. We can even explain to your yard guys about grading and landscape edging if that will help, so why not ask for our free advice?