Grass brings lush, green life to otherwise bare ground, and grass clippings provide gardeners with nitrogen-rich compost material and mulch. Despite the many positive benefits of grass, growing it against your home isn’t ideal. As tempting as it may seem to have that lush green spread right outside your doorstep, you may want to keep your grass away from your house.
Keep grass at least a foot (30 cm) away from the foundation of the home. Although growing grass immediately next to a home is acceptable, it’s best to have space to avoid moisture buildup and allow for easy cleaning and foot traffic. This is especially true for taller grass species.
Let’s go deeper into the factors that affect how far grass should be from your house and some ways to combat the potential issues that may arise from growing grass too close to your home. Read on!
Factors To Consider for the Distance of Grass From a House
There are no set rules regarding how far grass should be from a house. Recommendations depend on individual circumstances, such as the design or landscape of your home or the type of soil you have in your yard.
This section discusses some essential factors to consider when deciding how far you should grow your grass from your house. These factors include:
- Foot traffic
Let’s discuss them in more detail below.
The House Can Block Sunlight
Grass thrives best under full sun, and the parts of a lawn shaded by the house most of the day will likely dry up and die.
The eave of a roof will provide unwanted shade to the grass. Although the house can cast a shadow on your lawn during certain hours, the eaves of a roof will likely cover a portion of the yard most of the day.
Eaves can vary in width, but they’re functionally designed to provide shade to the windows underneath them. Wider eaves can cover the grass immediately next to the wall and prevent it from getting the amount of sunlight and the duration it requires.
Growing grass well away from the eaves of your roof will help provide it with enough sunlight. If the eaves are one foot (30 cm) wide, it should be okay to grow your grass 18 inches (45 cm) away from the wall of your house.
Frequent Watering of Grass Can Result in Moisture Buildup
Grass needs plenty of water for optimum growth, and regular deep watering is vital for its overall health. Soaking grass close to your wall can result in moisture buildup that can invite unwanted microbes and moisture-dependent pests into your home.
Molds and algae grow in steadily moist or damp areas. They are sensitive to strong wind, high temperatures, and bright sunlight. However, mold and algae are conveniently shielded from these elements by house walls and roof eaves, allowing them to thrive.
While it is beneficial to molds and algae, it can be troublesome for gardeners as these organisms can damage the appearance of the house and the garden.
Moreover, excess moisture can attract several pests into our homes, such as:
These pests can cause several problems, including:
- Damage to plants
- Health issues among the residents
- Damage to the walls
A one-foot (30-cm) distance between the house wall and the grass should be enough to prevent mold or algal growth on the walls. It also reduces the risk of pests invading your home.
You Need Space for Cleaning and Foot Traffic
Lawn grass can grow tall if left unattended for too long, so you will need to mow your lawn regularly. Grass growing too close to your walls will be difficult to reach with a lawnmower. You also risk damaging your lawnmower blades or getting injured if you push it too close to the wall.
Moreover, you will need space for foot traffic to collect debris or simply to get from one side of your house exterior to another. Stepping on the grass frequently can cause soil compaction.
Many grass lawns in public areas have signs telling people to “Keep Off the Grass.” The sign serves many purposes, including maintaining privacy and protection of turfgrass.
Stepping on the grass will not instantly kill it. The grass blades can bounce back in no time. The real danger is when the soil becomes too compact due to heavy foot traffic. As a result, the air and water spaces in the soil become blocked, suffocating the roots of your grass.
Grass often stepped on will eventually turn brown and die, leaving unattractive flat or brown patches on your lawn. Providing some space for foot traffic can help avoid this issue.
You can build a pavement wide enough for people to pass by and prevent the grass from growing too close to your walls.
Best Types of Grass To Grow Near Your House
If you have limited space in your garden, you can grow grass closer to your home. However, to avoid the problems mentioned above, you may want to select the type of grass most suitable for your home environment.
If you want to maximize your yard space and grow grass close to your wall, you can grow shade-tolerant grass species. Although most grasses prefer bright, direct sunlight for at least eight hours a day, a few can tolerate some shade.
One such example is the St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). This plant can thrive well even in partially shaded areas. So it wouldn’t mind the shadows cast by your house or the eaves of your roof.
However, it still helps to provide your St. Augustine with enough sunlight. An east-facing garden can provide the grass with sufficient morning sun, while a west-facing garden can give it afternoon sun. Either location is tolerable for St. Augustine.
If you have a south-facing lawn, this type of grass is even better as it will receive plenty of sunlight throughout the day.
Remember to avoid the north-facing wall. Although St. Augustine can thrive in partial shade, fully shaded areas will result in spindly growths, or the grass will die out entirely.
If you have wooden walls sensitive to moisture and pest damage, you can select drought-tolerant grass species that wouldn’t require frequent watering. It can significantly alleviate your concerns about moisture-related issues.
Here are some drought-tolerant grass species:
Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is a popular lawn grass variety widely used in many landscaping projects. It is one of the most drought-tolerant grass species and can survive a dry spell.
Since it requires less frequent watering, you can avoid worrying about excess moisture building up on your walls. When it’s time to water your lawn, the Bermudagrass can absorb the moisture quickly enough before pests, molds, or algae can get to it.
Another drought-tolerant species you can grow is Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum). It can thrive in low-moisture soil, just like Bermudagrass.
However, there are some downsides to growing Bahiagrass in your garden. For instance, its blades are paler than other common turfgrasses. So if you prefer a dark green lawn, you may need to use Bermudagrass or a darker Bahiagrass variety, such as Argentine.
Another downside to Bahiagrass is that they can grow unsightly seedheads during the warm season, requiring more frequent mowing. They also have poor tolerance for the cold.
Grass That Can Thrive in More Compact Soils
Many turfgrasses have poor tolerance to foot traffic. So if you have children or pets who often run around your lawn, selecting a grass species that can handle frequent and heavy traffic is best.
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) can survive heavy traffic and wet soils, making them suitable for busy lawns.
As discussed, heavy traffic can cause soil compaction, resulting in poor drainage that leaves the soil wet for longer. Since tall fescue can handle both issues, it can thrive well even when grown too close to your house.
Another good thing about this grass variety is that it is also highly drought-tolerant and can grow in partially shaded areas, making it one of the best options to address the issues mentioned in this article.
However, it is a cool-season grass that may not grow well in areas with sweltering summers. Extreme heat and high humidity may make tall fescue vulnerable to pests and fungal diseases.
It also helps to remember that this grass variety grows best in clay soil. So if you have loose, sandy soil, you may need to find other traffic-tolerant grass species.
It is acceptable to grow grass right next to your house walls. However, you need to address some issues before or when they arise. Some potential problems include the following:
- Some grass species may suffer from the shadows cast by the house.
- Moisture-loving grass species grown too close to the home may invite some pests and microbes.
- Not all grass species can tolerate heavy foot traffic and compact soils.
Recognizing some risks can help you carefully choose the right kind of grass to grow close to your home.