Foundation Planting Tips: Learn About Foundation Plant Spacing

Garden Tools In Front Yard Of A House With Plant Garden
foundation planting
(Image credit: ozgurcoskun)

Landscape design, like all design, is ever evolving. At one time, foundation plantings were used to hide the base of homes with no regard to the distance between foundation plants. Today, plantings are used to complement the design of the home, to create an inviting “curb appeal” and to blend the harsher elements into the surroundings.

To get your feng shui on with your landscape design, you must consider some foundation planting tips, especially those regarding foundation plant spacing. Read on to learn how to space foundation plantings.

Foundation Planting Tips

Foundation planting originated during the Victorian Age to hide the high foundations that were in favor at the time. Today’s homes generally lack this unattractive feature, so the nature of foundation planting has changed.

Foundation planting is often limited to lining the foundation of the house with rows of shrubs, often evergreens with larger shrubs planted at the corners of the house to camouflage the sharp lines of the building. Often, an ornamental tree or two is incorporated somewhere in the front lawn.

The problem with this type of landscaping, or any type, is ignoring the rules regarding distance between foundation plants. Many times, annuals or perennial flowers can be just as attractive as the larger shrubs or small trees.

Foundation Plant Spacing

A common issue in a landscape happens when the plants are plunked in without regard to their growth five or even ten years later. Always consider the height and breadth of a mature plant before deciding to implement it in the landscape.

Also, considering distance between foundation plants is important, but don’t forget to consider the distance from the planting to your house. Do not plant too close to the house. It invites termites and other creepy crawlies into the home. Additionally, when plants are too close to the house, home maintenance becomes impossible.

Growing plant roots are more likely to damage your house foundation if you situate them against the house. They can interfere with plumbing, not to mention paths, sidewalks, and driveways. Allow trees a foundation planting of 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 m.) from the home.

How much distance should you keep between other foundation plants? Well, again, consider the plant at its mature size. Leave enough space between plantings to allow for growth. Don’t just look at the nursery tag. Do some research online and find out exactly how tall and wide a plant or tree is going to get. Don’t crowd plants. Over-planting looks just as bad as under-planting.

Make a schematic of your landscape that is to scale and experiment by plugging in different sized plants at their mature height. Without breaking the bank or planting the wrong thing, you can change the design to your heart’s content until you find just the right look.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.