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Making attractive landscape beds around a house foundation should be done with planning and care. Poorly designed or overgrown landscape beds around a house can make a house unattractive, create drainage problems and attract termites and roaches. The role of foundation planting is to not only disguise unattractive foundations, but to soften the structure's sharp angles and bring attention to the front entrance. New landscape beds should reflect the character of the owners of the home, and complement the home as well as the neighborhood, creating curb appeal.
Draw an aerial view of the home where the foundation planting is to occur on a piece of paper. Include all water faucets, as well as where above-ground and underground utility lines are located in the plan. Draw existing plants that you would like to keep in the landscape plan, such as trees or shrubs.
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Lay down a rope to designate new landscape bed boundaries. A flowing line is more attractive than a straight line with sharp corners and looks more natural. Keep in mind there will be a 12-inch space filled with gravel for drainage and maintenance against the foundation, and you will need to enter beds wider than 2 feet for weeding or pruning. The lines and bed width on each side of the focal point should be similar to create balance. Once you have decided the boundaries of the new beds, spray the new landscape bed lines with landscaper's spray paint. Remove the rope so it does not become a tripping hazard while working.
Draw the new bed designs into the plan. After the beds are designated, draw in the height and size of the desired plants into the landscape plan. As a rule of thumb, shrubs should be planted the same distance from the walls as their mature height. For example, a shrub that is 5 feet tall at maturity should not be planted closer than 5 feet from a wall.
Strive for balance and unity when choosing plant sizes, using the focal point as the center. For example, don't plant large shrubs on one side of the focal point and smaller plants on the other. Other things to consider in the design are continuity and unity. While variety creates interest, too much creates a messy or cluttered look in the foundation landscape bed design. Remember to use low-growing plants or containers for visual interest around the doorway. Incorporate a transition from the higher plants softening the corner of the home, to the low plants around the entryway. This helps frame the home and draws attention to the focal point.
Choose native plants to fulfill your landscape design requirements. Native plants adapted to your region are longer lived and use less water that attracts damaging termites and other insects. Choose native plants based on their mature size. Don't base your plan on the current size of small plants in a nursery.
Remove all undesirable vegetation from the designated new landscaping beds. All undesirable plants, including grasses, should be removed by their roots so they cannot regrow in the same location.
Add topsoil to the planting bed as needed to create drainage away from the home. Do not cover the "weep holes," which are small holes between the bricks just above the foundation that prevent moisture buildup in the space between the brick and the inside walls.
Cover a 12-inch wide space closest to the foundation with rough gravel. This space is for maintenance and to deter insects, such as termites, that are attracted to damp, moist soil.
Plant new landscaping plants according to the landscape plan. Plants should be planted no deeper than they are planted in their containers. Water the plants to settle the soil around the roots and prevent the formation of air pockets.
Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the soil between all the plants to create a finished and attractive look.
If ordering topsoil from an outside source, order topsoil that is screened for nutgrass to prevent a nutgrass infestation beginning the next growing season.