How to Plant Next to a House Foundation

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Trees, shrubs, flowers and groundcovers are all common foundation plants that you can arrange to best complement your home and property. Well-designed foundation plantings tend to convey a symmetry and sense of permanence. Create a rough sketch of your home before you plant, noting existing plants, building heights and architectural features, such as Colonial columns or a two-story arched window. Fill in the sketch with notes about your proposed new plantings, such as color, height and spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Shovel or garden spade
  • Compost
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Mulch
  • Install your largest foundation plantings first. Choose ornamental trees, such as weeping cherry or dogwood, for seasonal color and visual interest. Plant them at least 7 feet away from the house to avoid any future confrontations with your foundation or underground pipes. Plant large, deciduous trees to provide shade at least 25 feet away from your house.

  • Select tall, thin shrubs or plantings to add height to a low-slung home or ranch home. For spring color and fragrance, choose a lilac bush for one corner and a cheery forsythia for the other end.

  • Prepare the soil. Dig deeply, excavating the soil completely. Mix the excavated soil with a shovelful of compost for each 12 inches of soil before returning it.

  • Moisten the soil well. Allow the water to seep at least 12 inches into the ground. Wait about 30 minutes before planting to be sure no water is pooling and that the site is draining well.

  • Accentuate your home's special design features. Frame a large picture window with a pair of dwarf Japanese maples on each side. Use the dark maple leaves as a backdrop for a stand of pale blue delphiniums or bright yellow chrysanthemums.

  • Disguise exposed concrete or cinder block foundation with ground-sweeping shrubs such as yew or holly. Interplant a spreading ground cover such as vinca or English ivy to give the appearance of variegated greenery.

  • Vary heights in tiers, with tallest plants closest to the house and smaller plants in front of the taller ones. Plant stands of flowers that you'll enjoy growing and tending. Let your home garden reflect your personal taste and style.

  • Mulch your plants well, to a depth of at least 6 inches, to help retain moisture. Foundation soil often dries out more quickly as it absorbs the heat from the structure. Keep your foundation plantings well-watered during the summer months.

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