Garden beds beautify the landscape of a house. In many cases, a beautiful garden can contribute to the house’s market value. However, garden beds may also lead to major structural issues if planted too close to the building.
You shouldn’t put a garden bed right next to your house. Placing a garden bed too close to your home can lead to water accumulation around the building and cause damage to its foundation.
In this article, I will explain the recommended distance between your garden bed and your house. I will also share some garden bed design tips and common problems people face when they place garden beds too close to a building.
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How Close Should a Garden Be to Your House?
Planting a garden close to your house can affect air circulation to the plants and the building. So, it is only helpful to put the garden bed at a distance that benefits the building and the plants.
Your garden bed should not be too close to your house. As a rule, allow a minimum distance of half the length of the plant’s mature spread. For instance, if the expected spread is 6 feet (1.8 m), place the garden bed at least 3 feet (0.9 m) away from the building.
Proper spacing between a garden bed and a building prevents structural damage caused by moisture buildup. As I mentioned earlier, allowing space between the bed and the building will also provide ample air circulation for the plants.
Common Problems With Putting a Garden Bed Right Next to Your House
A well-manicured garden bed right next to your home provides excellent curb appeal. But without proper planning and design, this beautiful feature may lead to ugly outcomes. The effects may not be visible until the damage has gone a long way.
Here are a few common problems with having a garden close to your house:
One major problem with putting garden beds so close to buildings is poor drainage. So, the area around the plants will almost always be wet because of poor drainage.
A consistently wet environment creates the perfect setting for fungus and molds. The presence of mildew and mold around your house can reduce the property’s aesthetic value as well as result in damage.
Repeatedly watering a garden bed close to a house’s foundation is a recipe for erosion. Erosion will affect the integrity of a building, leading to expensive repairs or irreparable damage.
Some of the effects of erosion that you may observe on a building include settling concrete, sagging rooflines, and falling walls. You may not notice these signs until they are in the advanced stages (source).
A garden bed against a foundation may provide a breeding ground for termites, rodents, and bugs (source).
Placing a flower bed next to your house can provide easy access for pests to get into your home. If that happens, not only will you have to deal with these pests in your garden, but you will also need to get rid of them in your home.
Tips for Building a Garden Bed Next to Your House
So far, it is clear that allowing a safe distance from the foundation is necessary when building a garden bed.
Here are some other tips that will help you design a suitable garden bed next to your property:
Ensure Proper Grading
Before putting a garden next to your house, ensure that your land is sufficiently graded. A well-graded land ensures that water always flows away from the building and not to it. You can tell that your patch of land needs grading if it slopes toward the house (source).
Does it get flooded around your building when it rains? You may need to call in an expert to grade your yard if it does. For accuracy, you can hire a surveyor to assess your property and advise you on grading steps to take.
Create Proper Drainage
The best way to protect your house is to keep the area around it as dry as possible. So, in addition to ensuring that it is well-graded, set up a drainage system on your property. Proper drainage on your patch of land will help you protect the integrity of your house.
Meanwhile, some water-loving garden plants can help with your drainage. Marsh marigold, obedient plant, hibiscus, and willow are a few of such plants. Consider adding these plants to your garden bed to improve your drainage system (source).
1. Choose the Right Soil
The perfect soil is rarely a particular soil type but a mixture of different soils. You will need the right soil mixture in your garden to grow healthy plants.
The perfect soil mixture will improve the drainage on your property and prevent water damage to your structure. Choose a light soil that will allow water through while retaining enough for the plants to thrive. Avoid soil mixtures with a high sand or clay content because they tend to bake up under the sun and may threaten your drainage.
2. Use Drip Irrigation Method
Your watering technique significantly affects how well your garden bed will turn out. To prevent damage to the foundation of your house, use the drip irrigation method.
With drip irrigation, you can water your garden gradually without worrying that your patch of land will get flooded (source). The soil will get the much-needed water while draining just enough to prevent soil erosion.
You can also use a sprinkler and timer to automate proper watering.
Putting a garden bed close to your house can improve the aesthetic value of your home. However, a garden bed too close to your house may destroy the foundation if it is not well-planned.
You can put a garden bed near the side of the house if you allow sufficient spacing between the garden bed and the building. A well-planned garden bed will prevent moisture accumulation, erosion, and pest infestation.
Consider creating proper drainage and ensure you build the garden on graded soil. In addition, choose the right soil mixture and use drip irrigation to water the bed.
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