Plants have the amazing ability to make any part of your home look more inviting to others, and planting a few around your foundation is no different. Originally, plants were placed along the foundations of homes to help conceal them. Although modern construction methods make them unnecessary, plants still serve a more aesthetic purpose. In addition to softening the built elements of your property, plants around your foundation can also help tie your landscape together with your home’s exterior. Boost the look and feel of your home with the right plants for your zone.
What to Consider Before Planting Around Your Foundation
Before you head to the local nursery to pick up a few perennials and shrubs, be sure to keep the following things in mind.
How much space do you have? Although you may be able to prune your shrubs and plants back to fit better within that space, you should always be taking the mature height and width of the plants you select into account. You wouldn’t want a shrub growing so high that it cut into the view from your window, for example. For that reason, you'll find it helpful to not only measure the size of your planting space and bring the measurements with you, but also to bring a photo of the space along when you go shopping. That way, when you go to review the specifications on each plant tag, you'll be able decide if you’d like to place it in a corner of your garden or front and center.
How much sun and water does your planting space receive? Observe the spot and the amount of sunlight receives each day — especially during the sunniest part of the day. You'll also want to check the soil to note the amount of water the area receives as well. While you can put in sprinklers, planting varieties that are drought-tolerant will go much farther towards helping you reduce your water bill.
Are there are utility lines that run through the planting area? Call your local utilities before breaking ground. They’ll come out and mark your property to let you know which areas are off-limits to your shovel.
Finally, you'll want to avoid planting right up against the house. In addition to crowding the plant as it grows, planting too close to the house prevents air from circulating and may encourage rot. It also makes it difficult for other people to work on your home should an issue arise.
Great Low-Maintenance Varieties to Plant Around Your Foundation
Witch hazel is an underappreciated shrub that blooms in early to mid-winter (depending on the variety) in zones 3 through 9. It provides that winter touch of color that's sure to get you excited for spring. Additionally, it’s drought-tolerant and thrives in full to partial sun. Above all else, it adds visual interest to the garden.
Burning bush is another shrub that adds color throughout the winter months and thrives in zones 4 through 8. In addition to sprouting vivid red and orange leaves, it also sets out similarly-colored berries. Be warned though: this plant can get pretty tall, so if space is an issue, you'll want to be on the lookout for dwarf varieties instead. Overall, this shrub is hardy and low-maintenance, aside from the occasional bit of pruning you'll have to do.
Welcome spring with forsythia. Featuring bright yellow flowers, these fast-growing shrubs can add cheer to any entryway or corner garden. Perfect for zones 4 through 9, forsythias can grow up to 10 feet tall, but they can always be pruned and shaped. They’ll thrive in both full and partial sun. The best part? You can easily clip their pretty flowers and bring them in your home for a bit of spring cheer.
Boxwoods are typically seen as a staple in an entryway or corner foundation garden. Ideal for zones 4 to 8, they give homes a more formal feel. They do well in sun and shade and tend to grow fairly quick. The downside is you’ll have to prune them annually to help them maintain their shape.
Roses add color and a classic feel to a foundation garden. Choose from a host of varieties that thrive in your zone, whether you want roses that bloom continuously or you're just looking to grow a single showstopping display. An occasional pruning will make your rose bushes looking great all year long.
Rhododendrons offer structure to an entryway or corner garden in zones 4 to 8, though some varieties can grow in zone 9. Choose a variety that adds color to your garden and complements your home. Dwarf and compact varieties are also available if space is an issue.
Ornamental grasses like blue oat grass can add texture and visual interest to any area. They’re becoming more popular with homeowners as of late, and they do a great job of tying the garden together.
Don’t Forget Bulbs and Annual Flowers for Pops of Color
Bulbs and annuals add bursts of color during the months when your garden is transitioning between seasons. Choose low growing varieties that get no more than two feet tall to create some depth in the garden.