Stucco and siding gap

DISCLAIMER: I’m currently in the training phase of inspection so please understand that I’m just trying to learn. Thank you for your help!

Am I correct that this stucco siding should have a gap between it and the ground? I’m guessing the damage is partially due to the lack of the gap and the stucco pulling up moisture?

In the second photo, am I correct that the same issue applies and this is a defect?

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Yes, ideally there should always be a gap with a weep screed, however, it is not always done this way, so you have to know the area and be carefully how you call it out. If the framing is wooden, it is extremely important to have a gap… if the wall is concrete/CMU, it is not as bad. This is as important, if not more, for any wood siding. By the way, stucco is usually cladding not siding.

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IMO, from what is shown in the photos, yes you are correct in your assumptions.
Photo #1 the gap is there, but mulch was added which eliminated the separation,
Photo #2 again, the separation was likely there until the brick pavers were added.
Damned DIY’ers have no clue just how much potential damage they are causing their homes for just a little ‘pretty’.

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Thank you. Yes, I actually did know that stucco is a cladding and not a siding, I just used the wrong term. Thanks for reminding me!