Dangers of Foundation Settling to Your Landscape

Buying a brand new home can be a very exciting time for the home owner, and with that excitement can bring an eagerness to begin your new landscape project. Caution and understanding of common building practices in Edmonton is extremely important before you begin any work. Typically when a home foundation is being poured, the Contractor will excavate anywhere from three to five additional

Feet from the face of the building to apply form work. Once the building foundation is complete and the excavation is back filled, you will have what appears to be a nice finished grade, where the ground is sloping away from your foundation. Over the next three to five years the soil within that three to five foot span will settle (no matter how much compaction is done after back filling). Settling of the back filled

Area can result in a drop of grade from one to three feet, which can be devastating for any hard landscaping done within that area and for water breaching your home.

You are then faced with a tough choice of what to do with that three to five foot settling area around your house. The options are: wait out the settling period before you undertake landscaping, although this is not an option many people are willing to take; build with piles or anchor directly into the house (this can be a very cost prohibitive option but ultimately effective); the final option is to install what is known as ‘foundation planting’ where you create a planting bed within the settling area. Foundation planting can create a nice aesthetic break from a hard vertical plane to a horizontal plane, as well as provide cooling effects within the home itself. The choice is yours, but be aware of how your home is built and what steps you need to take to protect yourself from costly repairs to your landscape.

Enjoy your garden, and keep bringing your outdoor living dreams to life!

William Packolyk, BLarch, Associate AALA