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Old 09-26-2010, 03:01 PM   #1
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Raised planter bed against side of the house


I want to build some raised planter beds out of railroad ties to turn this:



...Into something like this:



What I'm hoping to find out is:
1)What, if any treatment does that cinder block foundation need before burrying it in dirt
2)Would something like this tend to retain water against the foundation, possibly leading to basement water problems? If so what can be done to prevent this? First thing that occurs to me is perhaps some sort of solid bedding of gravel at the bottom of the bed sloping away from the house.

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Old 09-26-2010, 05:12 PM   #2
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Raised planter bed against side of the house


Raised planter beds against the house cause more trouble than they are worth. It will definitely increase the moisture against the masonry wall; not just moisture into the wall but wicking up towards the sill and joists. You have nice masonry exposure and distance from the soil; I believe that you should maintain that gap for drying and visual inspection.

Performing termite treatments at a house with raised beds against foundation is another level of complication and soil depth.

Whatever is planted in the bed will require watering. In my opinion, nothing should be planted that requires watering near the foundation. Houses have thousands of $$$ worth of spouting, gutters to take away water; watering plantings next to the foundation defeats that purpose.

Railroad ties don't last long and will harbor carpenter ants. Pressure treated landscape ties last long, but sometimes the pressure treating doesn't penetrate to the center. I have seen termites in the center of large dimension pressure treated wood. Keep the foundation perimeter simple.

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Old 09-26-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
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Raised planter bed against side of the house


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Originally Posted by PAbugman View Post
Raised planter beds against the house cause more trouble than they are worth. It will definitely increase the moisture against the masonry wall; not just moisture into the wall but wicking up towards the sill and joists. You have nice masonry exposure and distance from the soil; I believe that you should maintain that gap for drying and visual inspection.

Performing termite treatments at a house with raised beds against foundation is another level of complication and soil depth.

Whatever is planted in the bed will require watering. In my opinion, nothing should be planted that requires watering near the foundation. Houses have thousands of $$$ worth of spouting, gutters to take away water; watering plantings next to the foundation defeats that purpose.

Railroad ties don't last long and will harbor carpenter ants. Pressure treated landscape ties last long, but sometimes the pressure treating doesn't penetrate to the center. I have seen termites in the center of large dimension pressure treated wood. Keep the foundation perimeter simple.
I appreciate the advice. I'll keep it in mind. I'm going to put something there, whether it be the planter bed or just bushes. Too ugly without it. The cinder block "foundation" goes all the way up to the roof line. The only wood on the outside below the roof is the furring strips the siding is attatched to. I should add that I live in Wisconsin. I think we have termites but it's not really the heart of termite country. Oh, and I drew the bed a little high. It would probably be 6-8" lower than drawn.
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:27 PM   #4
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Raised planter bed against side of the house


If you really want to put a planter there, pretend that it is a separate structure, just really close to the house. Build it with four complete sides and leave room for ventilation between it and the house.

But I have to vote with bugman on this. Be careful!

PS
Cool the way you drew the planter and inserted it. I need to learn some graphics tricks.
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