The general wisdom you’re quoting is still the general wisdom here in Texas, keep the water away from the foundation. In fact, the soil around my house is graded in such a way that the water drains away from it and my pool decking also has drainage to get the water away from the foundation.
This is part of the “why” you want a drip line/soaker hose around the foundation. We have these nasty sandy clay soils here in Texas that expand and contract with water, but don’t do a good job of transmitting it. So the clay underneath the foundation is retaining a certain amount of water while the clay that is exposed to hot sun during the summer is not retaining any water at all. The net effect is that the soil will “pull away” from the house foundation and consequently the foundation loses the support of the soil on the outside of the foundation (or worse, some of the soil up underneath the foundation manages to dry out because a hole opened up from the outside, and suddenly you have cracks in your walls and maybe even your foundation).
By keeping the soil around the foundation at a consistent moisture level you keep this from happening. Where I live, city code requires that builders install drip lines around the foundation for this exact reason.
The nice thing here is that the Rachio is tracking the moisture levels, so it can maintain that moisture level around the foundation for me. That said, and why I started the thread, it would be nice to have a zone type that was explicitly called “Building Foundation” that maybe has some better foundation maintenance algorithms build in, especially since we’re not necessarily trying to keep any plants alive here.