Landscaping the back yard in our new house, the landscaper brought up the dirt level. But now the dirt level is so high soil is up against our fence covering 6-8" of it vertically all around the yard. I'm worried about moisture damage over time. The fence is redwood, and while it's pre-treated, that's a lot of dirt sitting up against it.

Should I pull the dirt away from the fence and either put plastic or river/pebble rocks in the gap so the soil touches one of these instead of the fence directly?


  • Why did they raise the dirt that high to begin with? Where did this dirt come from?
    – DA01
    Sep 11 '15 at 6:16
  • What was your solution to this?
    – eaglei22
    Oct 5 '17 at 18:32

Having dirt touching the fence will increase the chance that the bottoms of your rails/pickets will rot. This doesn't necessarily mean your whole fence will rot; only the parts exposed to heavy moisture are at risk. Maybe you're OK with having a bit of rot on the hard-to-see part of the fence after a few years; how bad it is really depends on the wood, how wet the climate is where you are, how much sun that area gets, etc.

If you want to protect the fence, I see three options:

  1. Cut the bottom end of the pickets so it's no longer touching the dirt. If needed, treat the cut to improve rot resistance (may not be needed on natural redwood cedar, but you said it was pre-treated, so any cut surfaces should be treated in the same way).

  2. Add stone/gravel to provide free-draining surroundings as you suggest. (I wouldn't recommend plastic as it's likely to just trap moisture against the fence and accelerate rot.)

  3. Remove some dirt near the fence (may be too much work, or against your landscape design goals).


I have an apple tree in the back yard and the dirt around it is raised. This was causing rot and too much pressure on the fence so I am currently placing a stone border a partial inch away from the fence. This will help keep my fence dry and my tree's dirt at the hight it needs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.