Gutter and Rain Water diversion
Gutter is typically installed to prevent drip-line erosion around the foundation. The problem a gutter can cause is that water collected on the roof are drained from limited number of downpour sprouts. With gutters, there is a potential that large amount of water might accumulate at certain areas.
In the following picture, the neighbor's fence is low area where water can accumulate when water is drained directly from the downspout. To prevent this from happening a drain extension was installed to divert the rain water to driveway.
During hot and dry summer, sprinkling the yard is one way to keep the soil around the foundation moisturized. Last summer, our yard had brown patches here and there despite regular water sprinkling. Initially I thought that it was due to the health of grass. One neighbor commented that the brown patches were due to malfunction of some sprinkler heads. Upon examination, I noticed that a 360 deg sprinkler head in fact only spray water in 180 degree range. This problem can be fixed by replacing the sprinkler heads. Replacing sprinkler head is not difficult but not trivial either.
Trees provide shade, add beauty to a yard. It also absorb a lot of water out of
ground. According to literature, a large tree can absorb over 100 gallon of water out of ground a day!! So a big tree can pose serious problems to foundation especially when there is drought. Many neighbors around us cut down big trees around their houses to reduce the threats from big trees to their foundations. We are not ready to cut trees yet, so we try to mitigate the big tree's threat to foundation in several ways. One is to aggressively trim big trees, which also help to prevent wind/storm damage to the trees. I also cut exposed roots - hoping to reduce the amount of water a tree can take. This should also stun the tree from growing - which may not be a bad thing for a tree too big for a yard. The third thing we do is to water trees additionally during hot dry summer to reduce amount of water the trees suck directly out of ground.