We have a house with a concrete block foundation, a layer of brick on the outside visible portion of the foundation, and painted wood siding that comes down to within an inch of the surrounding ground.

We have a very shallow pitch from the side of the house out to the street, but want to put in landscaping beds around the house. What's the best way to put in the beds but keep moisture away from the wood siding?

We're considering:

  • Raising the beds as little as we can and keep the height low next to the house
  • Putting a 12-inch barrier of gravel between the house and the beds
  • Put a vinyl cover over the bottom layer of the siding (one landscaping contractor suggested this, but we're worried that it would just trap moisture against the siding)

What would be the best way to go keeping moisture away from the bottom of the house?

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2 Answers 2


I wouldn't recommend covering the siding with vinyl either, it is likely to trap moisture. Nor would I use gravel though, it won't stop soil going over or dropping onto it when you're digging or weeding, and will be difficult to clean off when it does get on it.

As the siding is painted, you will need access from time to time for repainting/maintenance, so I would lay a row of paving slabs between the base of the house and any planting beds you want to make. Any soil that gets onto the paving can easily be swept off to keep it well away from the house - how wide it needs to be for the purpose of keeping soil away is only about 6 inches wide, but I'd suggest you make it wide enough to provide easy access to the siding, or you may have difficulty getting to it once any planting you use gets more mature.


That siding should be no less than 4inches from the ground. 6 is better. Too close to moisture and that moisture will cause rot.

I would use a sod cutter and cut the sod out around the periphery of your home. Keep the slope going away from your foundation.

Use the sod by turning it upside down on your new beds, digging trenches between sod and beds 6" deep X 8" wide to collect water and define the edge of your lawn. Throw the excess soil up on top of the new beds and over the turned over sod...good 4".

Don't use compound radii for the edges. Always stay with one radius lawn edge definition and plant beds until you change directions. Big sweeping curves for your lawns edges is powerful.

Send another picture showing more of the house foundation and the yard.

Big fat and wide plant beds and great lawn edge

  • Notice the siding on this garage. There is 4" between the bottom of the siding and the concrete walk. If you have wooden fences the bottom of those fences should be 4" from the soil, and mulch, and grass and rocks. 2" is bare minimum.
    – stormy
    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:09

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