Is it time to add or replace the shrubs around your house?
Does your house need better curb appeal? Sometimes the older shrubs and trees have just gotten too large, or they have been pruned so many times that the plants are no longer attractive. Or perhaps you have a blank slate because the house is new or you’ve had things removed. In all of these cases, if it’s time to put in new plants around your house, here are 5 tips for creating beautiful foundation plantings.
Home landscapers now have access to shrubs that have been bred or selected to stay shorter. There are many dwarf or short evergreens and flowering shrubs available, so look at the tags to find things that won’t grow too large. Do keep in mind, however, that the sizes printed on many tags are an estimate for the plant’s size when it’s five to ten years old. So if it’s important to keep plants from covering a window, mentally add about a foot to the mature size that’s listed on a plant label.
Know how much direct sun the sides of your house receives and choose plants accordingly. For example, if you place blue-flowering Hydrangeas in a sunny western or southern facing location those flowers will brown out quickly in the summer. And should you plant roses in a shady bed on a north side of the house, they won’t grow or flower well.
Choose some plants that keep their foliage all year, and some that might lose their leaves but flower in the summer.
Pick a variety of foliage colors and textures. If you plan for leaf color and size first, your foundation planting will always be attractive whether there are flowers or not. Shoppers have never had such a wonderful selection of plants with dark green, yellow, blue, red, lime or variegated foliage. Place plants with small leaves next to others with large leaves, and use a variety of colors and textures.
Space plants far enough apart so that they have room to grow in the future, and you don’t have to prune them to try and control their size. If the area looks too sparse to you at first, use perennials or annuals to fill in while the shrubs are growing. A good general rule of thumb is to have the very center of any shrubs you’re putting into a foundation bed be at least 4 feet from the house. This will look like it’s too far away when you first plant, but in three or four years once the shrubs have grown, you’ll be happy that you placed them this way.