Foundation Planting Ideas to Transform Your Home’s Curb Appeal

A variety of colorful plants create a beautiful foundation planting around a ranch style house.
My Garden Life
September 4, 2023
Table of Contents

Creating curb appeal around your house starts with an interesting and well-planned foundation planting.  From choosing the right plants to proper spacing, we’ve got foundation planting ideas to help you create an eye-catching design that can be enjoyed up close or from the road. 

What is Foundation Planting?

Foundation planting is the process of using trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals or groundcovers to enhance the base of a home or other structure with attractive plantings. Landscaping the foundation helps draw attention away from unattractive features such as siding, brickwork, or utility boxes while adding texture and color to your home’s exterior. Planting a garden around your foundation offers a multitude of advantages, such as:

  • Attractive landscaping increases property value.
  • Home energy efficiency is enhanced by protecting your home from direct sunlight and cold winds.
  • With the proper plants, foundation plantings can act as a natural insect repellent. 
  • Tall, dense plantings can help reduce noise levels. 
  • Many shrubs offer food sources and nesting space for birds and other wildlife.
  • Shrubs and plants can help prevent runoff during heavy rains (soil erosion control).
Pink flowering azaleas growing around the foundation of a house.

Key Considerations for Planting around your House’s Foundation

When choosing plants to border a home or building a foundation it’s important to make selections with an eye toward the future. Poor choices can overwhelm a structure and lead to problems down the road. To create a beautiful, functional space that won’t damage your house’s exterior consider all of the following tips: 

1. Proper plant selection

  • Choose plants that are suitable for the specific conditions around your house’s foundation. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil type, drainage, and moisture levels.
  • Select plants that are known for their non-invasive root systems to avoid potential damage to your foundation.
  • If security may be an issue, select lower-growing shrubs and plants so that potential intruders don’t have a space to hide.
  • Deer are a problem in many regions and they can quickly ruin a foundation planting if they decide to feed on plants in your landscape. Try to select plants that are known to be deer resistant.

2. Maintaining appropriate plant spacing

Be sure to leave enough space between the plants and your house’s foundation. Planting too close to the foundation can create moisture problems and increase the risk of damage. As a general rule, maintain a distance of at least 1 to 3 feet from the foundation, depending on the plant’s size when fully grown.

A new planting of hosta, begonias, and small shrubs are given optimum spacing so they don't crowd the foundation of a brick home.

3. Properly draining planting space

Ensure that the area around your house’s foundation has proper drainage to prevent excessive water accumulation. Excess moisture can lead to foundation damage over time. Consider the existing grading and slope of your landscape and make sure water is directed away from the foundation.

A slope around a house foundation is terraced to improve water drainage and create a raised planting bed for a pink hydrangea shrub and red begonias.

4. Regular plant maintenance 

Regularly inspect the plants and the area around your house’s foundation. Trim back any branches or foliage that may be in contact with the house, as they can trap moisture against the foundation or provide a pathway for pests. Remove any dead or decaying plant material promptly.

A young woman trims a juniper shrub in a home's foundation planting.

5. Allow access to the home foundation

Keep in mind that planting too close to the foundation can make it challenging to access and maintain your house for cleaning or painting, plumbing repairs, or for utility workers to access your lines and meters. Leave enough space around the perimeter of your house or other detached structures to allow for easy access and inspection, if needed.

Two air conditioning units by the foundation of a brick house are screened by shrubs.

6. Consider plant’s long-term growth

Keep in mind the potential size and growth rate of the plants you choose. Plan for the future, ensuring that the plants won’t overcrowd the area or encroach on other buildings or fences as they mature. Don’t be fooled by the size of the plant as you purchase it, and make sure to properly investigate how the plant will grow over the following years or even decades. 

A dense planting of ornamental grasses, perennial flowers, and shrubs are overwhelming the front of a stone house.

7. Consult with plant professionals

If you’re unsure about the specific needs or potential risks associated with planting around your house’s foundation, it’s always a good idea to consult with a local gardening professional or landscape architect. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific location and requirements.

By considering these factors and taking appropriate measures, you can create an attractive and well-maintained landscape around your house’s foundation while minimizing the risks to your home’s structure.

Choosing the Right Plants for Around Your Home’s Foundation

The front of your house is the first thing people will see when they come to visit or drive by, so it’s important to make sure this area looks great. You’ll want to choose plants that not only look good together but that will also complement the style of your home. 

Annuals for a Foundation Planting

Annual flowers are great options when looking for seasonal color near your home’s foundation as they will bloom all season long with minimal maintenance. Because annuals only last one season, you can change color schemes and try new flowers every year.

Blue lobelia contrast with orange and yellow marigolds around a pink flowering tree growing win a foundation planting.

Popular Annuals for a Sunny Foundation Planting

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

This old-fashioned favorite is sure to attract attention. Snapdragons bring bright colors to cool season gardens. They bloom all summer and tolerate frost. Cut flowers are long-lasting in fresh bouquets. The perfect choice for beds and borders. Looks great in rock gardens. Perfect for all kinds of containers. Wonderful for combination plantings.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet alyssum is a ground-hugging plant with narrow leaves and lots of honey-scented flowers. It does well in dry areas. It’s perfect for brightening and softening rock garden plantings. Sweet alyssum is perfectly sized for rock gardens and border fronts. Superb for baskets, containers and window boxes. Charming when tucked into rock crevices or walls.
Hybrid Marigold (Tagetes hybrid)

Hybrid Marigold (Tagetes hybrid)

Marigolds bring a non-stop burst of sunny bright blooms to the garden all summer long. Their texture is the perfect compliment to broad leaf and trailing companion plants. Removing spent blooms will assure the most prolific flowering. A great choice for beds and borders. Also superb for baskets, containers and window boxes.
Common Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Common Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

A favorite of gardeners and butterflies alike, Zinnias bring long-lasting, bright color and rich texture to any planting. Removal of spent blooms will assure the most prolific and ongoing floral display. Use in beds, borders, containers and window boxes. Provides long lasting cut flowers.
Petunia (Petunia hybrid)

Petunia (Petunia hybrid)

Petunias are a classic choice among annuals for their bold, trumpet blooms in a range of single-hued, striped and white-rimmed colors. Plant them en masse for a dramatic burst of color or mix into combinations needing a bit of brightness. The perfect choice for beds and borders. Superb for baskets, containers and window boxes.
Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum)

Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum)

A classic choice for summer annual containers and window boxes, though the plants are evergreen perennials where hardy. The zonal part of their name comes from a zone or band of darker color near the perimeter of each leaf. Bright bloom clusters provide color all season. Geraniums can be grown in beds, borders, baskets, mixed containers and window boxes.

Annuals for Shady Foundation Planting

Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

Large, heart-shaped leaves in a variety of colors. Great accent plant that adds a tropical feel to any setting. This low-maintenance selection requires little attention. A good choice for beds, borders, and mixed container plantings. Pot up a single plant to grow on a deck, balcony, or patio table.
Wishbone Flower, Clown Flower (Torenia fournieri)

Wishbone Flower, Clown Flower (Torenia fournieri)

Single or bicolored velvety blooms, each with a stroke of yellow on its lower lip. A lush, loosely open growth habit makes Torenia a nice companion to stiffer or more upright growing selections. Grow in beds, borders, baskets, containers or window boxes.
New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hybrid)

New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hybrid)

New Guinea Impatiens offer the same wonderful range of bloom colors as their shade-loving cousins in the walleriana and balsamina species, but with the ability to grow in sunnier locations. They also have lush foliage, which is variegated with yellow in some varieties. A beautiful choice for beds, borders, baskets, and pots.
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

A tried and true garden favorite! Wax Begonia’s beauty and reliable performance make them a “must-have” for most gardeners. Begonias adapt to a wide range of conditions and can be grown in the garden, patio containers, or even indoors if given a bright location. With green and burgundy-red leaf forms available and a many flower-color options, the creative possibilities are huge.
Coleus, Painted Nettle (Solenostemon hybrid)

Coleus, Painted Nettle (Solenostemon hybrid)

Coleus has long been a go-to choice for shady plantings, and now many sun-loving varieties are readily available as well. A wide range of foliage hues and variegation patterns offer season-long color without the fuss of flowers. A versatile choice for beds, borders, baskets, and pots.
Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Impatiens have become one of the most popular plants for bringing instant color to shady sites. Varieties are available with flower colors from bright to pastel to striped. In the 1960s, plant breeder Claude Hope brought us the tremendous color scheme that we now expect. Double flowering and compact types are also available. Impatiens can be grown in beds, borders, hanging baskets, pots and window boxes. Mass plant impatiens for maximum color impact.

Flowering Perennials for Foundation Planting

Perennial plants tend to require less care than their annual counterparts as they return year after year without having to replant them every season. Depending on the plant species they may bloom from two weeks to months. By planting different perennial plants that bloom in different seasons, you can enjoy an everchanging landscape as flowers come in and go out of bloom at different times.

A lush urban foundation planting created with shrubs, small trees and perennial flowers and grasses.

Sun-loving Perennials for Foundation Planting

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia hybrid)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia hybrid)

Hybrid Gaillardias offer the same rugged performance and long-lasting bloom season that have made this plant a garden favorite for generations. The difference is found in the beautiful array of unique flower forms and color blends that hybrids provide. Plants are low-maintenance and drought tolerant. Ideal choice for beds, borders, and cutting gardens.
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

This is the classic, cheerful daisy with white petals and a yellow center. Shasta daisies have a long bloom period to bring a long season of color to beds, borders, and cutting gardens. Shasta daisies can also be grown in containers. The cut flowers are long-lasting in fresh bouquets.
Daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid)

Daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid)

Daylilies are tough and adaptable, yet their form is elegant and refined. Each trumpet-like bloom of a daylily only lasts for one day. Most varieties offer up daily blooms for several weeks and some rebloom throughout the entire summer. Plant a mix of daylilies with different colors and bloom times to assure a colorful garden for months. Combines beautifully with ornamental grasses.
Coreopsis, Tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata)

Coreopsis, Tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata)

The longest blooming Coreopsis available! Yellow daisies are a real stand-out against lacy, dark green foliage. Coreopsis adds a soft, delicate quality to the garden and flowers heavily until frost. Combines beautifully with small ornamental grasses. Perfectly suited to informal, naturalized settings.
Stonecrop, Upright Sedum (Sedum spectabile)

Stonecrop, Upright Sedum (Sedum spectabile)

An upright growing sedum species with tight clusters of starry blooms appearing in mid to late summer. Sedum’s scallop-edged, succulent leaves look great throughout the season and the dense flower clusters brighten the autumn landscape. Sedum are classic plants for rock gardens and perennial borders. The flowers are a magnet for butterflies and beneficial insects.
Common Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Common Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple coneflower is a prairie native that makes a tough, self-reliant garden plant. The flowers attracts butterflies to the garden and if you don’t deadhead the blooms, birds will visit to feed on the seeds. Cut flowers are long-lasting in fresh bouquets. Perfectly suited to informal, naturalized settings.

Perennial Plants for a Shady Foundation Planting

Hybrid Coral Bells (Heuchera hybrid)

Hybrid Coral Bells (Heuchera hybrid)

Years of research by plant hybridizers has resulted in a dazzling array of Coral Bell hybrids. Perfect for gardeners who like to express their creativity through foliage color and texture. Heuchera are native to woodlands, prairies and mountains, so there are varieties suited to any garden. Airy clusters of little bell-shaped flowers add a blush of color in summer.
Foamflower (Tiarella hybrid)

Foamflower (Tiarella hybrid)

Tiarella are native to the woodlands of North America and a perfect choice for shady spaces. In recent years researchers have developed an array of beautiful hybrids with fascinating new leaf forms with even more lush flower clusters. The plants add great texture and interest to the garden, even when not in flower. Beautiful in shady borders and woodland gardens.
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Young fiddleheads are a wooly cinnamon color, beautifully contrasted by light green mature fronds. Dependable color and texture looks great all season. Ferns lend a peaceful feeling to any setting. Combines well with Hosta in woodland gardens or other shady spaces.
Hakone Grass, Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Hakone Grass, Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Hakonechloa’s unique, fluid form brings a relaxed elegance to the landscape. This plant originates in Japan, where it grows in woodland areas or in shaded niches among the mountain cliffs. A natural choice when the feel of a Japanese garden is desired. Mix Hakonechloa with other shade-loving foliage plants such as Hosta, Hellebore, and Polygonatum to create interesting textural contrast in areas where the light levels are too low for blooming plants to thrive.
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum)

Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum)

A real standout in heavily shaded locations! Produces a charming display of dainty blooms that dangle along the main stem. Flowers are followed by attractive fruit. Beautiful in shady borders and woodland gardens. Perfectly suited to informal, naturalized settings. Effective under trees where lawn has difficulty establishing.
Hosta, Plantain Lily ‘Assorted’ (Hosta hybrid)

Hosta, Plantain Lily ‘Assorted’ (Hosta hybrid)

Hosta are the go-to plant for many gardeners dealing with shade. They do well with morning sun in Northern zones, especially gold-leaved varieties, but are best in all day shade in areas such as the southern U.S. With thousands of named varieties available, you’ll find an abundance of options for plant sizes and colorful leaf combinations. Hosta are ideal for specimen, foundations, and mass plantings, and woodland gardens.

Ornamental Grasses for Foundation Planting

Ornamental grasses are easy to care for and create a casual, relaxed feeling in the landscape. They’re also a great filler between large shrubs or small trees. Because of their deep roots, grasses are a good choice where drought is common. Ornamental grasses are able to access moisture at a deeper level and will usually require less regular watering than more shallow-rooted plants. Stick with low to medium-sized grasses that won’t overwhelm the exterior of your home.

Shady foundation planting includes hosta, hydrangea, and Japanese forest grass.

Small to Medium-sized Ornamental Grasses for Foundation Planting

Hare’s Tail (Lagurus ovatus)

Hare’s Tail (Lagurus ovatus)

Ornamental grass grown for its furry soft, white oval “bunny tail” plumes atop light green, grass-like arching foliage. Also known as Rabbit Tail Grass and Bunny Tail Grass. It loves the sun and is heat and drought tolerant once established. Makes an excellent cut flower for fresh or dried arrangements. Most showy when planted in groups.
Blue Oat Grass ‘Sapphire’ (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

Blue Oat Grass ‘Sapphire’ (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

Attractive bright sapphire foliage resembles a tall Fescue. Blue Oat Grass grows in just about any type of soil and once established is very drought tolerant. Excellent for contrast with bright-flowered plants or create a cool look by planting with purple, white or pastel flowers. Very effective planted in masses, and makes a good groundcover for a large area.
Chinese Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Chinese Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Fountain grass is a splendid choice for adding soft texture to the landscape. The dense clump of gracefully arching foliage produces an abundance of showy, purplish-pink flower plumes in late summer. A fast-grower and carefree in almost any situation with well-drained soil. The flower heads make interesting additions to cut flower arrangements and can be dried for use in crafts.
Narrow-leaved Reed Grass (Calamagrostis stricta)

Narrow-leaved Reed Grass (Calamagrostis stricta)

A lovely ornamental grass that is easy to grow. Gracefully arching, bright green foliage spreads quickly in moist soil. Feathery wheat-colored flower plumes bloom over a long season. The graceful lines add interest to the winter landscape so don’t worry about cutting back until spring. Birds will appreciate the dry foliage for use as nesting material in the spring also.
Feather Grass ‘Pony Tails’ (Stipa tenuissima)

Feather Grass ‘Pony Tails’ (Stipa tenuissima)

Feather grass literally brings a landscape to life. The fine, almost hair-like foliage reacts to the slightest breeze, creating soft rustling sounds and adding movement to the landscape. Use it to create a textural balance planted among more rigid, coarse plants such as junipers and pines. A good choice for mixed borders or along a fence or foundation. Provides dramatic color and form to autumn and winter landscapes and the dry foliage will supply wonderful nesting material for birds and other wildlife in the spring.
Variegated Moor Grass ‘Variegata’ (Molinia caerulea)

Variegated Moor Grass ‘Variegata’ (Molinia caerulea)

Moor Grass is incredibly easy to grow and requires no maintenance other than cutting away the dead grass each spring to make way for the new growth. A beautiful plant in the winter landscape; the dry foliage and flower heads add interest and the sound of the wind in the crisp foliage provides a lingering memory of summer. Excellent for mixed border plantings.

Shrubs for Foundation Planting

Shrubs are a staple for traditional foundation plantings around homes. Most shrubs can be pruned to maintain a reasonable size around a house or other structure. Here are some popular options that are either slow-growing, easy to maintain, or remain naturally short.

A row of pink and blue hydrangea shrubs surround the foundation of a house.

Evergreen Shrubs for Foundation Planting

Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)

Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)

Catawba Rhododendron are particularly hardy compared to other Rhododendrons and are often referred to as “Iron Clad Rhododendron.” This species is named after the Catawba River in North Carolina because it is native to the eastern U.S. and grows mainly in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The handsome, leathery leaves provide beauty all year long and the springtime blooms provide a welcome splash of color to the early season landscape. A classic favorite for landscape focal points. Excellent for planting along fences and walls. A great choice for foundation plantings or hedges.
Dwarf Mugo Pine ‘Slowmound’ (Pinus mugo)

Dwarf Mugo Pine ‘Slowmound’ (Pinus mugo)

This slow-growing, dwarf evergreen is perfect for small space gardens or large patio planters. Forms a tidy mound of deep green foliage that requires very little maintenance. Displays good drought tolerance and resistance to salt and urban air pollution. This is a great selection for smaller yards and rock gardens. Also makes an excellent specimen, foundation, or border plant.
Tam Juniper, Tamarix Juniper ‘Tamariscifolia’ (Juniperus sabina)

Tam Juniper, Tamarix Juniper ‘Tamariscifolia’ (Juniperus sabina)

Low-growing evergreen with dense horizontal tiers of blue-green foliage. Spreads evenly making this variety an excellent groundcover. Tam juniper is a tough selection that can withstand city conditions. Makes a lovely groundcover for slopes or in the foreground of a foundation planting. Useful in small gardens where season long interest is needed. Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border.
Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Japanese holly has a dense growth habit and dark, glossy leaves with softly scalloped edges. Female varieties have dainty red berries in autumn, nestled amongst their leaves. A wonderful evergreen for screening or dividing in the landscape and giving structure throughout the seasons. Great for adding evergreen color to borders. Very popular for hedging or using in foundation plantings. Cut boughs are superb for holiday arrangements, and shrubs are striking in snow-scapes.
Hicks Yew ‘Hicksii’ (Taxus x media)

Hicks Yew ‘Hicksii’ (Taxus x media)

A columnar yew with fine needles showing dark green above and light green beneath. Excellent for bringing vertical interest, height and texture to the garden in every season. Fits into both formal and informal settings and is easily pruned. A great choice for foundation plantings or hedges. Also a good choice for planting along fences and walls. Provides dramatic color and form to autumn and winter landscapes.
Globe Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Globe Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

The multiple varieties of Globe Cedar all have feathery, evergreen foliage, but come in a wide range of mature sizes. Foliage color varies amongst varieties from the deepest green to bright gold. Also known as Globe Arborvitae. Perfect for hedges or narrow spaces. Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border. Useful in small gardens where season long interest is needed.

Flowering Shrubs for Foundation Planting

Shrubby Cinquefoil ‘Jackmanii’ (Potentilla fruticosa)

Shrubby Cinquefoil ‘Jackmanii’ (Potentilla fruticosa)

A charming display of colorful, dainty yellow blooms. Extremely hardy, versatile and low maintenance shrub. One of the best plants for adding lasting color to hot, dry situations. Wonderful for mixed borders and rock gardens. Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border or foundation planting.
Japanese Spirea, Japanese Meadowsweet ‘Anthony Waterer’ (Spiraea japonica)

Japanese Spirea, Japanese Meadowsweet ‘Anthony Waterer’ (Spiraea japonica)

Clusters of pink flowers bloom from mid-to-late summer. Brilliant autumn foliage is an added feature. This is an extremely hardy, versatile and low maintenance shrub. Ideal for borders, hedges or as a specimen plant. Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border or foundation planting.
Weigela ‘Red Prince’ (Weigela florida)

Weigela ‘Red Prince’ (Weigela florida)

Deciduous shrub is upright in youth aging to a dense spreading form. A charming display of non-fading, red blooms. Reblooms in late summer. Flowers are loved by hummingbirds! Ideal for borders, hedges or foundation planting. Excellent for planting along fences and walls. Beautiful mixed with flowering annuals and perennials in a mixed border. 
Japanese Snowball Viburnum, Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum)

Japanese Snowball Viburnum, Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum)

As the common name suggests, this shrub is a native of Japan. “Snowball” describes the vivid white flower clusters that cover the shrub in spring. Deeply veined leaves add rich texture to the landscape and fall brings a spectacular display of burgundy and orange foliage. A great choice for foundation plantings or hedges. The dense foliage makes a nice screen.
Japanese Pieris, Lily Of The Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica)

Japanese Pieris, Lily Of The Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica)

This broad-leaved evergreen offers multi-season beauty with its dangling flower clusters in early spring. Pieris is sometimes called lily-of-the-valley shrub, as its clusters of bell-like blooms look similar. All varieties offer nice autumn hues and some produce vibrant red new growth. Makes a breathtaking specimen plant. Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border or foundation planting.
Hardy Hydrangea, Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Hardy Hydrangea, Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Hydrangea macrophylla all have large, attractive leaves but vary in flower clusters. Some varieties have their blooms grouped in flat, lace-like arrangements earning them the alternate common name of Lacecap Hydrangea. Others of the macrophylla species are known as Mopheads for their more rounded flower clusters. Ideal for borders, hedges or foundation planting. Excellent for planting along fences and walls.

Shrubs with Colorful or Variegated Leaves for Foundation Planting

Japanese Spirea, Japanese Meadowsweet ‘Goldmound’ (Spiraea japonica)

Japanese Spirea, Japanese Meadowsweet ‘Goldmound’ (Spiraea japonica)

A charming dwarf mounded shrub with stunning golden foliage, and a summer display of purplish pink flowers. Display improves with each passing year. This is a favorite for creating a landscape focal point. Ideal for borders, hedges or foundation planting.
Red Japanese Barberry ‘Atropurpurea’ (Berberis thunbergii)

Red Japanese Barberry ‘Atropurpurea’ (Berberis thunbergii)

A popular shrub, which features red-purple foliage throughout the season. Provide full sun for best leaf coloration. A classic favorite for creating a landscape focal point. Plant in groups for maximum color impact. Perfect for foundation planting and shrub borders. Useful in small gardens where season long color and interest is needed.
Snowbush (Breynia disticha)

Snowbush (Breynia disticha)

A fantastic all-season source of color. The dappled foliage is evergreen in frost-free climates. Produces inconspicuous flowers followed by small berries. This is a host plant for the Snowbush Caterpillar which evolves into the White-tipped Black Moth. This shrub’s compact habit is ideal for container growing as well as in the garden. It’s a great choice for foundation plantings, hedges or in a shrub border.
Nishiki Willow ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (Salix integra)

Nishiki Willow ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (Salix integra)

A combination of green, white and pink dappled foliage that glows in the landscape in contrast to darker foliage plants. This is a hardy, fast-growing plant that supplies a mature-looking shrub in just a few short years. Prune freely to maintain the desired size and to encourage lush, colorful new growth. Great for borders, hedging or foundations. Makes a beautiful specimen plant.
Dwarf Japanese Euonymus ‘Aureovariegatus’ (Euonymus japonicus microphyllus)

Dwarf Japanese Euonymus ‘Aureovariegatus’ (Euonymus japonicus microphyllus)

Extremely hardy, versatile and low maintenance shrub. Small, waxy, evergreen leaves with white margins. Display improves with each passing year. An excellent specimen, foundation, or border plant. Provides dramatic color and form to autumn and winter landscapes.
Redtwig Dogwood, Slilverleaf Dogwood ‘Elegantissima’ (Cornus alba)

Redtwig Dogwood, Slilverleaf Dogwood ‘Elegantissima’ (Cornus alba)

A deciduous shrub with multi-season interest. The variegated leaves are gray-green with irregular creamy-white margins. White flowers in late spring and early summer are followed by decorative fruit. The vibrant red stems bring dramatic color and form to autumn and winter landscapes after the leaves drop. Ideal for borders, foundations, mass plantings or small spaces.

Best Trees to Plant near a House Foundation

When choosing trees near the house’s foundation it’s important not only pick ones that look good but also those that won’t cause any structural damage over time due their roots growing too close or spreading out wide underneath the soil surface. Look for trees that are small but still offer interest in different seasons. Small trees mean less potential for extensive root systems that can intrude on a structure’s foundation and cause problems down the line.

A vibrant red Japanese maple creates a focal point for a mixed foundation planting around a modern home.

Small Trees for Foundation Planting

Japanese Maple ‘Atropurpureum’ (Acer palmatum)

Japanese Maple ‘Atropurpureum’ (Acer palmatum)

Japanese Maples are grown for their exquisite leaf shapes and colors. This selection is a small, deciduous tree with deeply lobed, red-purple foliage that turns brilliant red in autumn. A classic favorite for use as a landscape focal in a border or near a foundation. Makes a beautiful specimen plant. Provides shade when planted near a deck or patio.
Weeping Cherry ‘Pendula’ (Prunus subhirtella)

Weeping Cherry ‘Pendula’ (Prunus subhirtella)

Weeping cherry trees add an instant touch of artistry to the landscape. In spring the tree produces a cascade of fragrant pink blooms. The soft form adds a relaxing, fluid shape in the summer garden. In winter, the weeping branches become sculpture-like when covered with a layer of snow. Weeping cherry produces small, edible fruits but they are not sweet and flavorful like other cherries. The fruits do provide a welcome treat for birds. Popular for planting near entranceways, foundations, and patios.
Japanese Tree Lilac ‘Ivory Silk’ (Syringa reticulata)

Japanese Tree Lilac ‘Ivory Silk’ (Syringa reticulata)

A versatile selection that can be grown as a small tree or large shrub. Wonderfully fragrant blooms provide a treat for the senses. A very hardy species that requires little pruning. Attractive, reddish brown bark adds winter interest. Sometimes grown in shrub form. An excellent specimen, foundation, or border plant. Plant near walkways, decks and patios where the scent can be enjoyed.
Flowering Dogwood ‘var. rubra’ (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood ‘var. rubra’ (Cornus florida)

A pink version of the classic flowering dogwood. This is a small tree with spreading horizontal branches. Pinkish-red flowers appear before the leaves emerge in spring. Blooms are followed by bright red berries that may persist into winter. A favorite for creating a landscape focal point. An excellent specimen, foundation, or border plant. Outstanding for planting near walkways, decks, patios and in small space gardens.
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

A magnificent display of lovely star-shaped, fragrant white flowers appear in early spring even before the leaves emerge. The scented blooms are a treat for the senses after the dull days of winter. An excellent specimen, foundation, or border plant. Plant near walkways, decks and patios where the scent can be enjoyed!
Cherry Laurel, English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry Laurel, English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Also known as English Laurel, this broad-leaved evergreen is s classic choice for creating beautiful, low care hedging. In spring, foamy clusters of dainty white blooms appear against the backdrop of glossy foliage. These are followed by bright red berries that ripen to black. The fruits are favored by birds, but poisonous to humans and livestock.

Mix Different Types of Plants

Planting different colored flowers together creates contrast that draws attention while still being aesthetically pleasing. You can also mix foliage types such as ornamental grasses or evergreen shrubs into these colorful plant combinations, which adds depth and texture to any garden bed. Just make sure you select plants with similar sun and water requirements, so they all thrive together.

A colorful foundation planting that includes flowering annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs and small trees.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Planting a Garden Around Your Home’s Exterior

When designing a garden for the exterior of your home, certain pitfalls should be avoided to ensure success. Consider all of the following when choosing and placing plants around your foundation.

1. Overplanting or Crowded Spaces

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to foundation planting is overplanting or crowding plants too close together. This can create an unappealing look and make it difficult for individual plants to receive adequate light, water, and nutrients. 

Many novice gardeners plant too close to a house because the plant looks smaller initially; always keep future growth into account. 

Choose plants with shallow root systems to minimize the risk of root intrusion into your foundation. Deep-rooted trees or plants with aggressive root systems can potentially damage the foundation or underground utilities. Consult with local gardening experts or nursery professionals to determine which plants have shallow root systems.

2. Not Considering Sunlight Requirements

It’s important to pay attention to how much sunlight each type of plant needs in order for it to survive and flourish in its environment. Knowing what types of sun exposure different varieties need will help you choose the right plants for your landscape design while avoiding any potential issues down the road due to lack of proper lighting conditions. Observe how much sunlight different areas of your landscape receive during the day and make plant selections accordingly.

3. Ignoring Soil Conditions

Another mistake many people make when designing their gardens is not taking into account soil conditions before planting. Different types of soil have varying levels of moisture retention capacity which can affect root growth and overall health of the plant if not taken into consideration beforehand. 

Before adding any new plants into your garden bed, test out the pH level as well as nutrient content so you know exactly what kind of soil you’re working with before getting started on your project.

4. Choosing Wrong Size or Type of Plants

Lastly, choosing the wrong size or type of plants could lead to disaster when trying to establish a beautiful garden around your house exterior. Make sure that whatever variety you select fits within its intended space without overcrowding other nearby flora and without damaging the house’s structure.

A colorful home foundation planting planted with layers of different plants starting small in the foreground transitioning to tall shrubs at the back.

Planting in “layers” using smaller plants in the foreground and taller plants in the background is a great way to give depth to a garden bordering a home’s foundation. Learn more about this planting technique in our article, Layered Landscaping: Garden Planning from Tall to Small.

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