Planting Near Your Home: Foundation Plants For The Front Yard

Shrubs And Plants In A Front Yard Of A House
foundation plants
(Image credit: BostonREP)

Choosing a good foundation plant is an important aspect of landscape design. The right foundation plant can add to the value of your home, whereas the wrong one can take away from it. You should always select plants that are well adapted to your area. Read on for tips on what to plant near your home.

Choosing Foundation Plants for the Front Yard

Foundation plants for the front yard should be attractive year round. While many people prefer evergreens as foundation plants, you shouldn't overlook the potential of deciduous plantings, as their leaf and twig color can be equally interesting. Use bright colors sparingly when located near the house, as these can be considered an eyesore up close and are better viewed at a distance. Plants located within 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 meters) of the foundation should also be drought tolerant. You should also avoid planting under the eaves whenever possible.

Foundation Hedge Plant Info

Not all foundation plants are the same size at maturity; therefore, it's important to choose those that meet your needs. Low-growing shrubs, like yew, juniper, boxwood, and holly, are good choices for foundation plantings. Shorter shrubs should have at least a 3-foot (.91 m.) clearance between them and the house for optimum air circulation. Allow adequate spacing between plants to prevent overcrowding. Tree-form evergreen shrubs such as wax myrtle, ligustrum, or cherry laurel can also be used in small areas. However, these larger shrubs should be located at least 5 feet (1.5 m.) from the home. Finding a good foundation hedge plant may include choosing one that does well in shade too. Each of the aforementioned evergreen foundation plants is suitable for areas with partial to light shade. Foliage perennials, such as hostas and ferns, are also excellent choices for shady areas around the foundation.

Trees Planted Near a Foundation

Except for small flowering trees, large plants should not be used as foundation plantings. In fact, small ornamental trees may be more appropriate near the corner of the home instead. Good choices are:

Trees often have roots that may spread under the home's foundation, which can lead to serious problems. Tall plants can also obstruct the views around windows, which may lead to safety issues.

Ground Cover Plants for Foundations

There are many ground cover plants used in foundation plantings. Ground covers can be used extensively in foundation plantings and are flattering to most gardening styles. While ground cover foundation plants that are low and spreading can be used, these should be kept at least 12 inches (30 cm.) away from the house's foundation. A continuous planting of one kind of ground cover can actually tie other foundation plantings together, creating unity among groups of shrubs or perennials. Ground covers can be used to provide a natural and attractive edging for the lawn as well. Some popular choices include:

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.