Lawn Grass

lylesg1May 20, 2013

Hi, My name is Lyle and I am new to this group. I am glad I found this forum, too.

I have a question that I hope someone can shed light on.

I have an area along the front (northern) side of my house that will get approx. 6 hours of direct sunlight each day during spring and summer months. The area I am working with is 10'X30'. I want to first cover this area with a good quality black plastic and then top coat the plastic with approximately 4-6" of soil. Is there a lawn grass, or ground cover that I can plant in that amount of soil thickness that will survive year round?

My problem is water seeping into my basement in that area. I removed the shrubs from the space and I compacted additional soil sloping it away from my house for approx. 10' out and then covered that area with plastic and I have solved my water seepage into basement issue. But, I now want to leave the plastic and cover it with grass/ground cover if feasible.

Any ideas from you guys would be greatly appreciated.


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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

A couple of questions.

--Did the basement leak before you removed the shrubs?
--Is any part of the 10X30 area higher than the soil level at the house?
--How much overhang is afforded by the eaves in that area?
--Do you have gutters?

Best Wishes--Carl
Atlanta, GA

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Hi Carl and thanks. A picture might say 1000 words, so I will post one.

Yes, the basement leaked before removing shrubs.

The eave is 2'+

Yes to gutters.

I have stopped my leaks into the basement (temp fix as you can see.)

I want to cover the tarp area with 4-6" of soil and hopefully, plant grass/ground cover if that much soil will support the growth.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:24PM
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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

This won't answer your original question, but I'd strongly suggest you get the source of your basement leaking fixed first before you potentially make it worse by adding plantings of any kind ((and risk having to undo that soon).

The photo seems to show that the area is "flat as a fritter", both from the house toward the lawn and across the face of the house from the fence to the shrub on the left margin of the photo.

In this description is correct, consider regrading so that the soil slopes away from the house to a point beyond the existing sidewalk. You may also have to add drainage tile, depending on what the slope of the land is beyond the right margin or the photo.

I've had your problem and "bit the bullet" for the regrading after spending several thousands of dollars on temporary fixes.

Back to your original question. It's possible that a spreading groundcover could survive in that shallow a soil, with enough moisture. But eventually, that same moisture will contribute to the plastic breaking down more quickly and the leaky basement reoccuring.

Best of luck--Carl
Atlanta, GA

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:50PM
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You cannot see the slop in the picture, but it does slope approx. 4" in 8'. I might add a couple more inches of soil for more slope.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:56PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

May I also ask if you clean your gutters regularly? We occasionally have water that gets in one particular spot on our basement, it's only when that gutter clogs and overfills in one of those crazy downpours we have. Clearly there is a problem in the foundation as the water can get in at times, but that is the only time water gets near enough to the house for it to actually get in.
These are similar problems I see at your place: water is definitely getting close enough to get in, and it's getting in because it's easy for it to get there. So it will continue to get in at times until the under laying problem is addressed, and that's not the landscape, its something to do with the foundation.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:55PM
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Also keep in mind for when you finish the project - depending on what kind of termite treatment you have, you may need to retreat that area due to all the disturbance you've done.

If you have the chemical drench method (which is applied every 10 years), you will probably have broken the barrier by now.

If you have the bait and switch method (e.g., Sentricon), you should ask your company.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:21AM
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