The way the ground slopes around your home can have an impact on the humidity in your basement. Too much slope and you can even experience water intrusion, this was the case with a home I used to live in. The basement was often musty and the dehumidifier just couldn't keep up, the fix: adding a french drain to the section of the yard that sloped toward the house.
This was the easiest and cheapest option, and if you have confidence in yourself it can be an easy weekend DIY, dig a trench, install drain pipe (often called drain tile), cover with crushed stone and landscape fabric and that's really all it takes.
We also sealed the foundation on the inside with a thick layer of masonry paint. This was helpful with reducing the humidity but wouldn't have done anything at all, had we not installed the French drain first.
Swales are often dug around homes to help manage the water flow, they're the most effective solution but might be challenging to implement after the house is already built, swales are often dug long before the house or even whole subdivision is finished.
It's important to note the way the land slopes around your home before considering buying; don't let it stop you from putting in an offer as it can be managed with a simple French drain after the fact.
Brent Whelan has been in the construction industry for over a decade and has worked for one of Halifax's top renovation companies and Canadas largest restoration firm. He's a Certified Professional Inspector and holds a Red Seal Endorsement in carpentry.