Trees, Shrubs, & Foliage - Home Considerations

Everyone wants to have trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass around a home to enhance the beauty and curb appeal of the home. A well-manicured landscape can add emphasis, beauty, and $$$ to the sales price of a home.

It is important for homeowners to consider the impact all of these may have on a home and how it may negatively affect the biggest purchase people make. As an example, the property below has had a professional landscape and maintain the yard. The shrubs are trimmed and the tree is not close to the home. This helps add color, but doesn't cover or over power the look of the home. Imagine a few flowers mixed in and you can see how it adds beauty and desirability.

On the flip side, some homeowners often plant trees and shrubs too close to the home or even plant a lot of them close by. When planting a tree, read up on how big the tree will grow and take that into account when planting. A rule of thumb is that the extent of the branches covers the same span of the roots. If tree branches are growing over the home, it is likely the roots are under it. The roots can damage the foundation if left unchecked.

Below, you can see that these trees are planted too close to the foundation. The dead giveaway is the fact the trees are growing at an angle - away from the home.

In some cases home owners like the look of foliage close and large next to the home. The roots can cause problems with foundation, plumbing, external systems like landscape sprinklers or landscape lighting. The wall systems of homes are designed to be exposed to sunlight and wind to aid in drying the wall, both on the inside and outside. Water may enter the outside of the wall and should be stopped by the moisture barrier between the wood studs and external wall covering. If this occurs, airflow from heating and ventilation will help to dry the wall. Keeping foliage close to the wall prevents it from drying. If the inside of the wall stays wet, that will lead to wood rot which compromises the structure and could allow fungus' to grow such as mold or mildew. Adequate clearance must be maintained to ensure proper drying of the wall system, regardless of the material it is made of. Below are some pictures of where the walls are covered and will have drying problems (and possibly others). Any vines or such that are allowed to grow on a house will damage the exterior coverings and can get inside the home.

Things keep in when planning for landscaping or when looking for a home:

- Ensure trees are not too close home. Branches damage the exterior (roof & siding), roots damage foundations

- Ensure shrubs & bushes are planted a minimum of 18 inches from the foundation to allow the walls to dry and prevent roots from going under the foundation

- Ensure ground clearance is maintained to the exterior finishes - 4 inches for brick & stone, 5 inches for wood, 6 inches for stucco

- Do not let foliage grow on the exterior of the home

- Keep all foliage trimmed away from the home

- Keep tree branches trimmed away from the home, especially the roof. Swaying branches damage roof covering, drop debris, and insects onto the home. Branches close to the home can provide an aerial path for squirrels to access the roof and attic.

Call Boxer inspections at 281-783-3030 to help with all your home inspection needs.

Copyrighted material. Not for use without written permission.

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Tel:  281-783-3030

Fax: 281-581-0296

225 Matlage Way 
Suite 1383

Sugar Land, Texas 77487