Thursday, April 29th, 2021 by Amanda Waldmann
As soon as it gets warm in Michigan, people start working on their lawns. It doesn’t matter that it’ll probably snow a few more times, we’ve been cooped up all winter and need to exercise our rights as midwesterners to dump a bunch of mulch in our driveways and go to town.
But did you know that, depending on the scale of your project, you could actually create water problems for your foundation? Here are a few common spring improvements and what to watch for.
When the snow melted last month, one of my downspouts was just. Gone. Did it get blown away? Was it taken by one of the forty rabbits that have made a home under my porch? We’ll never know. But we needed a new downspout extension, and I knew size mattered. See, if your downspouts are too short, they’ll just dump all of the incoming rain right around your foundation, giving it a better chance to build pressure in the soil and soak through into your basement. So if you’re upgrading your downspouts, make sure they extend away from your house and go with the grading of your lawn.
Speaking of grading, if you’re considering any large scale landscaping project, you need to keep it in mind. In this case, grading just means the angle that your yard slopes. Ideally, your house is the highest point in your yard and the rest of the yard is level or angled downhill from it so water will run away from the foundation. If you build up the soil around your home (like through creating new garden beds, etc), you can accidentally reverse that flow and send water straight to your basement.
Now, you can’t really control this one since you don’t know where roots will grow and expand, but if you plant a new tree by your house, keep an eye on the adjacent basement walls. Tree roots can expand and put pressure on your foundation, leading to cracks and bowing. If you see new wall cracks, it’s time to call us.
Emerging from hibernation to spruce up your yard is a Michigan springtime rite of passage, but it’s important that you take some care to not set yourself up for a summer underwater. If you notice water where there wasn’t before, call to schedule your free inspection.