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No gutters, can I put in a bed?

Posted by jwhittin 6a (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 13:50

My house never had gutters put on, and I'm not sure if we ever will (husband doesn't think they are necessary). So without the gutters, we get a sort of line in the ground around our house where the water runs off and hits the ground. In the front there are some old ugly beds next to the foundation which have been there a few years, and no beds in the back. I'd like to add some beds to the back but for whatever reason I am nervous about putting mulch and plants right up against the house. Fears about flooding the house and all that. Anyone have any thoughts about what I could do? I could take some pictures later if that would help. The landscaping at this house has been non-existant for the last 20-30 years, so we're slowly making improvements (don't get me started on removing the overgrowth of smooth sumac and poison ivy in the back left third of the yard...) but as I am not a landscaper I am nervous about making changes to the ground around the house that could cause flooding.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: No gutters, can I put in a bed?

Its the fact of no gutters that would give me water concerns alot faster than wanting a garden bed. Why are you concerned about water problems? Have you had them in the past? Do you have a basement?
Water falling from a roof , around a house, has never done a foundation any good.
My vote would be for the gutters first and the garden second.
Pictures would help.

~Al


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RE: No gutters, can I put in a bed?

No water problems at this house, though we've only been here two years. However I was familiar with the previous owner and as far as I know there were never any water issues. We do have a finished basement but never saw a lick of water down there. We're on the top of a decent sized hill so I think that works in our favor. My mother always had water issues in her basements and I now have an irrational fear of flooding... It's just that with the lack of gutters I do fear that someday the water coming off the roof will somehow work its way into the house. Plus, the way the water creates that line in the ground I worry that any plants that may be there would become rotted from the excess water.


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RE: No gutters, can I put in a bed?

No gutters...is asking for eventual foundation issues. One of the best long term investments you can offer your home. My suggestion...get an estimate from a reputable contractor. Then you have no issues with anything you might plant later.


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RE: No gutters, can I put in a bed?

The lack of gutters also make your house paint look bad. The mud splashes up there and makes you have to paint more often, but when we purchased this house we had it inspected, and the inspector made us dig a ton of dirt in a planter away from the foundation because it was causing mold and dry rot on the frame.

I think a planter would be nice, but don't raise the dirt. That would be bad.


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RE: No gutters, can I put in a bed?

I agree with the majority that having gutters is better than not having them. However, it's not them, but the grade around the foundation that will determine if water enters the basement. It should obviously slope away from the walls for about 10'. If the grade is correct, then any planting will not make a difference in causing a water problem. (The water still runs along the ground the same way.) Anything you plant should be outside of the "line" where water falls off the roof so you don't need to be worried about it damaging plants. It would only hurt the smallest and frailest only when they're new anyway. So whatever top portion grows back toward the house will be fine.


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