I have flood vents in-front and behind my raised house, which sits on a crawl space. I would like to put a raised garden in the front of my house. Is it acceptable to do this if I create an opening for the water to flow through the vent? I could just make an opening using the paver bricks around the hole opening. Is this legal/to code? I really can't find anything, or any examples of people doing this.

Thank you

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    Yes, a raised bed is gardening/landscaping, but your question is more about altering your building structure than building/maintaining a raised bed. – J. Musser Aug 18 '14 at 17:09

As long as you don't block off the vent at all, you should be fine. I'd get a picture if I could, but I had one customer who had a very similar problem to yours, and because the raised bed was higher than the top of the vents, he built a slanted box, about 55 degrees, from the bottom of the vent up over the soil line. It was basically a 2x4 box covered in plywood, but it looked great.

As long as you don't block off the vent, I don't think you'll need a permit or anything for a project this size, but I am not the expert on that area. If you build something, make it sturdy enough that if it does flood, your structure will remain intact and usable.

  • Mussar - if you could post a picture, that would be awesome. I haven't been able to find really any examples of what I wanted to do. – code base 5000 Aug 19 '14 at 10:10

In the US, flood zone regulations are typically established at the local government level under the National Flood Insurance Program [essentially, they completely bypass state government], so you'll need to check with your local government to determine which if any regulatory requirements apply.

That said, understand that purpose of flood vents is to keep your house from washing away in the event of flood, by reducing hydrostatic pressure against the foundation walls. Anything that blocks or reduces the flow of water, or that potentially becomes debris that can clog the openings will increase the risk of more substantial damage in a flood event.

On one hand, you have to be able to live in your house despite the possibility of flooding, but on the other, there may be an alternative design layout that has substantially little risk of impact. Keep in mind that "built to code" is synonymous with "the worst building legally allowed.

  • I'll check with my town and see what is on the books. Thank you for the suggestion. – code base 5000 Aug 19 '14 at 10:11

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