When planting shrubs around a foundation of your house, it’s smart to think of three things: foliage, flowers and the future. We focus on foliage because in most such beds it’s good to have a mix of some plants that keep their leaves all year (evergreens) and some (deciduous) that drop leaves in the winter. It’s also smart to have a variety of leaf colors and textures because flowers are fleeting, but the leaves are there before and after bloom.
After choosing plants with contrasting leaves, we next consider if a plant flowers, and when the bloom period might be. By choosing plants with different flowering times, you can have color in your foundation beds from spring into fall, and sometimes even in the winter months.
Because most people want their landscapes to be as low-maintenance as possible, it’s also desirable to think about the future growth of a plant. Shrubs that grow large will take more maintenance if you don’t want them to cover the windows. There are many low-growing varieties available now, however, that are less likely to need annual trimming to keep them from overwhelming the house. When shopping for foundation shrubs, it’s smart to pay more attention to the ultimate size of the plants than how they look in the garden center.
Foundation beds look good when they are planted with some single shrubs, and other groups of three of the same plant. Larger growing varieties can be planted singly, usually between the windows, and smaller, dwarf shrubs placed in triangles, in groups of three. Place plants with the center stem between 3 and 4 feet from the house; this might initially look like it’s too far, but you’ll be happy in a few years when the plants have grown but aren’t pressing against the siding. New foundation shrubs often look small and as if they are too far apart from each other, but don’t be tempted to crowd them. Planting perennials or annuals between the shrubbery will make the bed look fuller while allowing for the future growth of the bushes.
Here are 14 plants that bring color, texture, and appropriate size to foundation plantings.