Do I need to demo a big planter to keep water out of my house????

I have a big brick planter, approximately 10 feet long by 2.5 feet tall by 2.5 feet front to back, built up against the front of my house. I have noted that it is tipping forward away from the house. The back, left corner is about five inches away from the house at the top of the planter. So, I can see behind the planter and am somewhat alarmed that there is only what appears to be cement board between all that wet dirt and the side of the house. The cement board is attached to the house, and there is thick, black caulking along the vertical edge of the board, apparently to seal it and keep out water. The caulking has failed and cracked. The house was built in 1953 and sits on a slab. No basement. I think the planter is a later addition, and my guess is that it's at least 20 years old. So, I have some questions.
1. How should this planter have been build? Should the back of it have been brick also? 2. Is this big box of dirt acting like a funnel, channeling water down to the the slab of my house? I'm trying to seal water out of the slab because I have a problem with water getting into the furnace ducts that are down in the slab. 3. Is this likely to allow water to get inside the wall and cause all sorts of damage?
I'm thinking it would be best to demo the planter. I've found some people who want the dirt. Is it safest to demo the thing? Here is a link to a pic of my house. The planter is the big yellow thing on the left side.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m157/camdavis/0205041098Davis001.jpg
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I think you probably already know the answer to most of your questions. IMO, the planter should not have been built at all. Aside from the obvious issues you've identified, it doesn't even look good. If it were to be built, IMO, it should have been built with an airspace of several inches away from the house, not attaced to it.

To some extent, yes.
>I'm trying to seal water out of the slab

Doh!
Yes
Yes
Did you have a home inspection before you bought this place? Any home inspector would have red flagged this in a minute.

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The planter should not touch the side of your house. It should have been built with a brick back wall a few inches from the house. _Nothing_ should touch the siding. Code around here requires at least six inches of bare concrete showing below any siding, even if the siding is brick, to discourage termites.
I had a similar situation at my last house, created by a previous owner. They even buried the water shut-off valve. I dug out all the dirt and put in potted plants. Since yours is already falling over, I would demolish the whole thing, then plant some nice shrubs. Keep the shrubs short so burglars can't hide behind them, and away from the house to protect the siding.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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I agree with the others to an extent. If it's ugly to you, tear it out. It's really no big job. You could fix the side of the house, add proper drainage to the planter and save the thing if you want. The reality I would be worried about is the water in the duct. I had a planter like that under an overhang (not against the siding though) with gutters like yours. We could'nt keep enough water there to grow decent plants anyway. There is no way it is contributing in any large fashion to flooding the sub-slab HVAC system. I would look for that cause, or remedy with site drainage immediately before you develop a serious mold problem and catch Legionarre's disease or some such. Maybe the gutters are feeding under the house due to clogged strom drainage?

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