When it comes to gardening and planting trees, everyone loves the look of a beautiful landscape that makes the most of the natural resources available to you. Yet, certain trees, droughts and shifting soils can pose risks to your home’s foundation. Before creating the garden and landscape of your dreams, it is critical to understand any risks involved and how you can prevent foundation issues in the future.

Why Tree Roots Must Be Watched

Whether they are small and forming, or large and deep, tree roots are quite strong. The objective of tree roots are to find more sources of water and nutrients–as a result, they grow deeper in the search.

Their movements can and do affect the soil they are planted in. When soil consists of loose dirt and rocks, they essentially shift and become displaced–allowing the roots to move through it more easily.

You want to determine what type of soil your home sits on since that will give you an idea of what type of damage tree roots can pose to your home’s foundation. Another type, clay soils, compact easily. When tree roots push through clay soils, they become more densely packed. When it comes to droughts, roots can shrink when clay soils dry.

When it rains, the roots expand as they take in water. The shrinking and expanding process affects the structural integrity of the soil. It also helps to contact authorized foundation repair services such as Allen’s Foundation and Level Pro if you have any questions regarding your soil, trees and foundation.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, since the 1990s, there has been an increasing trend nationwide towards more extended dry periods that are then followed by downpours. These types of climate patterns strongly affect soil underneath buildings.

When clay soils shrink during droughts and swell during floods, structures can bob. Then, subsidence, or shrinking happens gradually. Moreover, subsidence is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies in the United States.

Keep Trees Watered

Even during times of water rationing, you can keep your trees well watered without violating any water restrictions. You want water to be applied through long and slow treatments. This promotes deeper root growth as opposed to using frequent and light applications of water.


Assess Any Potential Tree Dangers

If existing trees are planted less than 10-20 feet away from the foundation, you might want to remove them. On the other hand, if removal is not an option, you should prune the roots and install a root barrier to help prevent foundation damage from tree roots.

If the tree is older than the house, tree removal may cause a void under the foundation as the roots die. In this case, it is essential to consult with an expert.

Consider Your Home’s Architecture And Style

When it comes to landscaping, you want to avoid competing elements that detract from the main entrance of your home. To illustrate, stay away from tall paintings that block views of your home or from planting a lone bed in the middle of an open lawn. The front entrance is where guests with experience your landscape at close range.

You want to make it inviting by having an intriguing contrast of plant forms, foliage colors, textures and flowers. Tall plantings can make a small home appear larger. Medium-sized flowering trees such as Canadian redbud and crape myrtle are best for a casual, cottage-style home. More stately homes should look into planting English oak or juniper.


Concrete Settling

Foundations will settle due to soil shrinking in dry spells. Often times, you can’t even tell a foundation is settling unless you look closely. Roots are not the direct cause of foundation damage. It is due to changes in the condition of the soil. Concrete settling can also be both unsightly and dangerous.

The reason is that when concrete settles, it is more likely to shift and crack. Depending on how much movement there is, your home’s overall structure can be affected. Usually, cracks first form in basement walls. This is a situation often overlooked by many homeowners.

Although, if concrete only cracks due to root activity, newer homes may not be affected at all. In older homes, and in extreme cases, the entire house can experience damage.

In these cases, support beams may shift, walls may sink or crack and ceilings could become uneven. Concrete settling is not always a hazard, but it can cause more significant damage in older homes.



Similar to droughts, flooding can also cause structural and foundation damage. If your foundation has settled, and has cracks, it becomes more vulnerable to flooding. When rain comes in, imagine the damage caused as water seeps through cracks.

So, in addition to foundation repair, you may be facing hundreds or thousands of dollars in property damage. This is why roots and landscaping must be properly planned to extend the lifetime of your foundation.

A beautiful landscape can make any home feel more warm and inviting. Although, your foundation can suffer without the right planning. The above tips can help ensure that your foundation withstands preventable dangers.

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