The Q&A Archives: Raised flower gardems

Question: My husband made a raised garden box to plant roses in. The outside borders are made of keystone blocks. The inside border is the front of our house, which has wood siding. He used plastic sheeting as a barrier between the house and the garden soil.

Since then, I have been told that we need to put a barrer with spacers behind it against the house, so there is air flow between the house and barrier (and plants & soil). I was told that it won't pass an appraisal/inspection the way it is and we may be selling our home in the near future.

What material is recommended for a barrier and how do you install it in an existing planter. Also, if we were to leave it as is, how long would it take for the siding to start having wood rot isses?

Answer: When moisture is trapped against wood, it will eventually cause rot. Lining the space between the soil and the siding was a good idea; it keeps moisture from the soil from penetrating the siding, but it will also trap moisture between it and the siding. Without good air circulation, the moisture can compromise the siding. I don't think there's any easy way to remedy the problem. You only need an inch or two of space between the siding and the raised bed to encourage good air circulation. Depending upon the construction of the bed, this may mean that you simply need to dig out the back six inches and set bricks or concrete blocks along the back. Or, you could set planks along the back; as long as there is no wood-earth contact that directly touches the siding of your house, everything should pass inspection. Best wishes with your renovation project!

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