When we think of landscaping, green leaves and flowers usually come to mind. But that’s only the soft-scaping. Most landscaping includes soft-scaping and hard-scaping–things like raised planting beds and retaining walls. A client recently came to us to fix a leaky basement. He’d been experiencing basement flooding for a number of years and asked us to repair the drywall and wood damage. We knew just be looking at it that a cosmetic repair like that would be a waste of money if we didn’t fix the reason it was flooding in the first place.

Thankfully, the home owner trusted us. When we ripped out the damaged drywall, we found a significant crack in the foundation. We knew a crack that large that had also been leaking water had to go all the way through. We sealed the interior crack with a generous patch of foundation sealer before performing the requested drywall and paint repairs. Then we moved outside to finish the job. There, we discovered that the reason for the cracked foundation was the improper installation of raised planting beds. Because they were up against the house and lacked proper drainage, water had been pooling around the foundation of the house for years and eventually tore it up.

Below is a photo essay of what we encountered and how we corrected it.

This is the home with the old planting bed. We first called the utility company to make sure we wouldn’t damage anything. House with foundation problem
To correct the damage and prevent future problems, we excavated the entire length of the home as well as created a trench for proper drainage away from the home. excivation-of-cracked-foundation
You can see the crack we found in the foundation. crack-in-foundation
We then filled the crack and painted the entire length of the foundation with a double coating of foundation sealer. sealed-foundation-crack
Then we lined the trench with plastic, working the material up against the foundation as well as up the opposing side of the trench. We filled the cavity with gravel as well as a corrugated pipe covered with a sock. (The sock keeps mud from gumming up the drainage pipe so as to provide decades of service.) installation-of-drainage1
The combination of the plastic, the pipe, and the gravel created a safe path for the water to escape. installation-of-drainage2
We finished the job with a properly installed planting bed with foundation-safe, water-guzzling plants. landscaped-product