Let’s face it, a house without a foundation garden simply looks naked, sort of like a picture without a frame. The right plants in front of a house not only hide the foundation, but if planned properly, enhance the beauty and value of a home dramatically. But where to start?
A Layered Approach
This may seem like common sense but, the larger plants should go in the back and the smaller plants in the front. It is often best to use dense evergreen shrubs along the back row. These will provide a backdrop to the detail plants in front. Some good plants to consider for this are Otto Luyken Cherrylaurel, Boxwood and Densiform Yew. Remember to keep the plants far enough away from the actual foundation to allow for future growth, space to work and air flow. This is a good time to remind you to make sure the soil grade is sloping away from your house for good drainage.
Lead Them To The Front Door
Now that you have the base of your foundation plantings down, it is time to work on getting the eyes of passer byers, and your guests for that matter, to the front door. This is done in two parts. First, choose a plant with some height to go on the corners. This can be an upright evergreen (Arborvitae, Spartan Juniper), a multi stem small tree (Kousa Dogwood, Crape Myrtle), or a large deciduous shrub (Nandina, Viburnum). In order to make room for this, it will probably be necessary to push the bed out in this area. Doing this will also give the garden shape a nice serpentine form. The second part is to plant something eye catching at either side of the front door so that the entrance is clearly noticeable. This can be a plant with interesting foliage color (Pieris, Dwarf Nandina) or a plant with a different form than the foundation shrubs (American Boxwood, Sky Pencil Holly).
Now For Some Fun
Now that you have the backbone of the foundation plantings in, it is time to add some detail. This is when you get to add flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, ground covers, rocks, gravels and annuals. Be creative. Find color combinations and textures that you like. Give the garden bed some curves to break up the squareness of your house. As with all plantings, choose plants that will thrive in the light that is available and that you have time to properly care for.
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