Protect Stucco Walls From Planter Box | What Should I Do?

Q and A

Landscaping and stucco can go together well, if planned out and certain precautionary measures are taken. I had a question regarding a planter box that would be located near the stucco wall and the question asked by Lisa was:

We are fixing up the garden area in the front yard. There is a flower bed that is up against the house and we have some concerns about the dirt being so close to the wall. We want to keep the garden, but what should we put to keep dirt and moisture from the wall?

Lisa Planter Box Stucco Wall 2
Lisa Planter Box Stucco Wall
Lisa Planter Box Stucco Wall 3

What Do I Notice Already?

When I look at the images, I can already see that there is staining on the stucco walls. The green color was likely due to the grass that was there before and when it was cut, the chlorophyll from the grass stained the wall. Just the grass being in contact with the wall and being watered would be enough to stain the wall too.

The other issue I notice is that the dirt is right up against the stucco and I don't see a barrier that is protecting the wall from the soil, which could deteriorate the stucco over time.

What Should I Do To Protect the Stucco Walls?

There are a couple of different options you have in this particular scenario and that would be to either make a dedicated area for the planter bed area or line the stucco wall with some sort of shield to prevent damage to the lower walls.

Making a Dedicated Area: Making the planter box area separate from the wall is probably the best option because it ensures that the stucco, planter and the soil and plants that will be planted in that bed will be completely separated and no contact will be made.

In this situation, another row of bricks could be used to make a matching back wall for the planter bed that would contain all of the soil in its own, separate area.

Installing a Barrier: The next best thing to do would be to dig the dirt away from the stucco and then installing a barrier of some sort to provide some protection from the soil and the moisture that will be the two main issues for the stucco.

This can be something as simple as a piece of rolled metal flashing, roofing felt, asphalt shingles or hydrostatic cloth. This will help to protect the stucco walls much better from the soil, but some water may get behind whatever barrier you decide to use because it will likely be at the level of the soil, in order to hide it.

Coating The Stucco Wall: You could also have another type of barrier that would be applied to the stucco wall itself, but only for the portion that would be in contact with the soil. There are many waterproofing compounds out there that would work well and most of them can be applied with a masonry brush, making it a quick and easy option.

You would have to pull the dirt away from the wall first though and make sure it was cleaned, to ensure that the product would stick to the wall, though.

About the author

The Stucco Guy

My name is Ryan and I have been a licensed stucco contractor for many years and I feel that there is a huge "knowledge gap" when it comes to stucco, in particular. I hope you find the information here useful, and if you have a question for me fill out this Q & A form, so I can answer those questions better. Thanks for stopping by!

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