The basic concern for landscaping and grading is to determine whether they can cause damage to the exterior and foundation of your house. The principles are simple:
1 Vegetation and grading should not encourage water to flow toward the home.
2 Vegetation should not be allowed to damage siding, trim, and roofing or pose a potential to do so.
A proper slope is 1” per foot for at least 5’ or 6’ from the house. Land with a reverse slope sends excess water toward the foundation and eventually ends up in your crawlspace or basement. In some cases, adding additional backfill to slope the land away from the house solves the problem. That may pose additional issues at basement windows, which would then be below grade. Window Wells may be recommended to prevent water penetration through the windows.
If window wells are already in place, make sure they drain properly, have a good gravel base, there is no corrosion of the metal well siding, and that debris buildup is not present. Make sure the plastic domes are not cracked or broken. Also, make sure metal grills that appear over window wells are not corroded or broken.
Trees too close to the house can lead to root problems with the foundation and sewer lines, messy gutters, and falling branches. If trees are too close, they should be trimmed back or removed.
Vines on the house can hold moisture and promote insect damage. English Ivy has a very strong grip and can puncture paint services, grow behind siding and loosen it, and even grow under sills. Vines also keep siding from drying out. If there are vines on the house, it's a good idea to have them removed.
Shrubbery near the house should be trimmed back so there is about a foot of clearance from the house to prevent moisture retention. Loose and mulched soil in flowerbeds should not touch wood siding or cover the top of the foundation. Leaves and plant debris should be raked away from the house. It is never a good idea to use wood mulch is such as wood chips, shredded bark, or sawdust in flowerbeds around the house. Besides being horrible for your plants by robbing nutrients and promoting fungus, wood mulch also provides a highway for pests into your house.