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Considerations for Landscaping on Top of Your Home's Septic Tank

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If you just built a custom home that utilizes a septic system, then it is important that you know how to properly landscape on top of its tank. Proper landscaping is vital to prevent damage to the tank below. To this end, here are some tips for landscaping on top of your new home's septic tank:

The Need for Access to Pump and Service

The first thing you need to take into consideration when it comes to landscaping on top of your septic tank is that the tank will need to be dug out for pumping and servicing from time to time. For this reason, you do not want to landscape the area with plants that cannot tolerate being dug up and then replanted when the work is complete. For example, you cannot dig up a rose bush every other year to pump out your septic tank because the plant will die from the shock. However, you can dig up a patch of native grasses periodically, and they will easily regrow.

In addition to the above, you also do not want to ever place a cement or asphalt patio over your septic tank's location. These hardscape surfaces are too heavy to be on top of your septic system and can't be dug out when it needs to be serviced.

You Don't Want to Damage the Tank Below with Excessive Weight

Since your home's septic tank is sitting below a few feet of dirt, its top is always under pressure from the weight of the soil. To prevent damaging your septic tank, you do not want to add more weight to the top of the tank. For this reason, you should not place large rocks on top of the tank's area. Additionally, you should not repeatedly mow over the top of it, park cars on top of it, or do anything else that repeatedly adds more weight to the top of your tank.

You Need to Prevent Plant Root Intrusion Into the Septic Tank's Inlet

Finally, while you may be tempted to plant some large bushes around your septic tank's location for low maintenance, this is actually one of the worst things you can do. Large bushes, hedges, and trees have long roots that seek out water underground when they sense that it is near. Planting any of this type of foliage near your septic tank can be a disaster because their roots will push their way into your septic tank and damage it.