Foundation plantings make for the basis of landscape design, not only in looks but also in purpose. Good planning results in foundation plantings that compliment, balance, take up excess water keeping it off of the foundation, screen, and block the home from sun and wind. The curb appeal that good foundation planting provides increases the home’s value and desirability when selling. In some neighborhoods, they are required by covenant bylaws to not only exist around the home, but to look kept and beautiful. If you’re installing, adding to, or completely redoing your foundation and are looking for plant choices that are going to be absolutely low maintenance, look no further.
Here are some suggestions for you that will require little work and provide beauty, all while adding function and purpose.
Evergreen plants are absolutely vital in a beautiful foundation design. They are functional and are beautiful year round. They also offer native songbirds and other animals respite, all while they do what foundation plantings should be doing and being absolutely simple to maintain. Not all evergreens are suitable. Here are some of our favorite low maintenance evergreens for foundation plantings:
Junipers come in many sizes and shapes and textures. Many cultivars have been specifically developed to be well suited to foundation plantings. For example, Irish Juniper is a medium sized juniper at maturity, but its slender profile makes it a great anchor planting, or a plant used to balance the shape of the home and the landscape. It would also make a good screen, and in the fall when Junipers develop their blue waxy berries, they become cover and forage for many types of bird species. Once established, Irish Juniper needs no extra watering and minimal yearly pruning.
Arborvitae are bred and crafted in the same numbers (if not more) by nursery breeders to suit landscapes and foundation plantings as Junipers. There’s literally an arborvitae cultivar for every nook and cranny in the garden! They come in fantastic colors too – from bluish grey to bright yellow chartreuse, and textures from appearing coarse to soft. They are all hardy, virtually work-free once established, and essential in the garden and foundation plantings. One of our favorite is Anna’s Magic Ball. Not growing more than 2 feet in height and spread, this tiny little cutie is green with bright yellow tips. It really stands out! Planted below a blue-cast spruce, or among grey and blue broad leaved hosta, Anna’s Magic Ball brightens up the foundation beautifully. Techny Gold is an older cultivar that grows up to 15 feet in height and has similar chartreuse foliage as Anna’s Magic Ball. All Techny arborvitae have a naturally growing pleasant triangle or pyramid shape and make excellent screens and anchors in the foundation design.
Boxwood is a broad leaved evergreen shrub that has been used for hundreds of years (especially in Europe) as a formal hedge. It takes shearing nicely and forms a very dense shape based on how it’s sheared. Sprinter Is a tested performer that is healthy and beautiful as well as easy to care for. It’s pleasant emerald green color and forgiving nature makes it a staple in the landscape. Once established, it’s also carefree. Yearly shearing encourages it to keep shape.
These are all wonderful, easy to care for evergreen shrubs well suited to foundation plantings. There are plenty of choices and mixed with deciduous selections and perennials, they will make the foundation of your low maintenance foundation planting plan that’s as beautiful as it is functional.
Cheryl D. Jones, shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery’s website. Visit GreenwoodNursery.com for a full line of plants including trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers. Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive Greenwood Nursery’s weekly newsletter, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.
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