How Outdoor Landscaping Can Prevent Basement Flooding

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What is Preventive Landscaping?

Preventive Landscaping and Gardening is a landscape service that takes action to prevent outdoor and yard issues before they happen. Preventive landscaping and gardening takes common yard and outdoor issues such as erosion, decaying plants, tree and shrub overgrowth/lack of maintenance, expanding water, and flooding and takes proactive steps to prevent them.

Preventive landscaping uses a variety of different methods to prevent common yard and outdoor issues. These methods can include:

  • Keeping weeds under control with different chemicals
  • Removal of existing weeds prior to spreading
  • Application of fertilizer to prevent weed growth and promote a healthy lawn
  • Application of fertilizer in bedding areas
  • Removal of dead plants and shrubs
  • Fungus and insect treatments
  • Installation of sprinkler or other irrigation systems to keep the area healthy
  • Installation of french drains to prevent flooding and other water problems
  • Tree restoration and treatment

What are the Benefits of Preventive Landscaping?

Preventive landscaping has many obvious benefits, and other less obvious benefits.

With basic preventive services like fertilizer, weed control chemicals, and tree restoration and removal, landscapes are able to look their best all year round by constant treatments and upkeep, preventing overgrowth or decay.

A less obvious benefit of preventive landscaping, but an extremely important one, is the installation of an irrigation system or french drain. These irrigation systems not only keep the outside of a property in outstanding shape but also prevent indoor flooding by giving water a designated place to go.

Preventing Basement Flooding

Basements are the most likely place on a property to flood, usually, this is because of unkempt or lack of maintenance of the property’s landscape. The water from rain or snow doesn’t have a place to go and ends up seeping into the basement walls and ceilings.

“Installing something like a french drain gives a place for water to go after heavy rain or snow,” says Steve Schulz from Dry Basement Solutions, a basement waterproofing company in South Jersey. Schulz added, “A french drain redirects the water away from the home, keeping the basement dry and mold and moisture free.”

Another way to effectively avoid basement flooding is with gardening. Certain plants absorb various amounts of moisture that may otherwise end up seeping into the ground and then into the inside of your home.

Plants That Can Prevent Basement Flooding

Native plants are the best plants in terms of preventing basement flooding since they are already used to the environment and the amount of natural precipitation that occurs in that environment. Properly maintaining native plants is an easy and cheap way to avoid flooding.

However, if your property doesn’t have an abundance of natural plants, here is a specific list of outdoor plants that can absorb vast amounts of water and moisture that will keep your basement dry:

Low to Medium Height Plants

  • Fern- a fern’s root network filters and absorbs water
  • Rose Mallow- typically found in swamps and wetlands, the Rose Mallow will not only survive in harsh moisture but will absorb water before it seeps into unwanted areas
  • Iris- A semi-aquatic plant, irises grow best in wet soil so will use excess ground moisture to grow tall and vibrant


  • Dogwood- this shrub thrives in moist soil so will absorb extra moisture on the ground
  • Winterberry- able to survive in both wet and dry soil, this shrub is tolerant and used to flooding
  • Cranberry Bush- cranberry bushes actually require very wet soil; therefore will soak up floodwater


  • Weeping Willows- their roots suck excess water out of damp areas which will help your yard dry out sooner
  • Blue Spruce- the blue spruce tree is tolerant to moderate to severe flooding; it will survive severe rain and snow while acting as a barrier to basement flooding
  • Sweet Gum- this tree prefers moist environments and will take in moisture left over from rain or a snowstorm

Other Ways Landscaping Can Prevent Basement Flooding

In addition to plants and draining systems, there are plenty of other ways to prevent basement flooding, here are a few:

Install Permeable Driveways and Walkways

Driveways are typically one of the biggest contributors to basement flooding because rainwater that runs off the roof makes its way to the driveway. An effective way to assist in floodproofing your driveway is to use gravel, Gravel will hold moisture, compared to asphalt that doesn’t hold moisture at all.

An example of a permeable walkway is the use of bricks rather than cement. Bricks have a more porous surface than cement and allow for more space to be left in between so moisture can seep into the grass rather than puddling on the cement.

Install a Rain Garden

A rain garden’s purpose is to catch rainwater and give excess moisture a place to go. As rainwater and melted snow travel across the yard, both will be filtered into the rain garden which acts as a natural filtration system. Excess water will make its way here instead of in your basement.

Build a Retaining Wall

Residential retaining walls are used to hold soil in place while also preventing erosion from rain or snowstorms. In addition, retaining walls prevent flooding because it blocks extra water from coming too close to your property.

Protect Your Basement

A flooded basement can end up costing you thousands of dollars; not to mention the loss of personal items and memorabilia. Preventive landscaping can save you time and money, while also making your yard or property look outstanding all months of the year, no matter the season. Keep your basement dry by keeping these preventive landscaping tips in mind.

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.