Foundation plantings are one of the most important elements of curb appeal. Foundation shrubs form the backbone of front yard gardens and are often the most long-lived part of the front landscape.
The photo above illustrates how landscape designer Robin Parsons creates a gorgeous foundation planting with hedge of blue-flowering hydrangea (this is 'Nikko Blue' but Seaside Serenade® Cape Cod Hydrangea is great, more compact option) that cools down the brilliant yellows of the surrounding shrubs and creates a focal point at the front door. The red-flowering Fanal Astilbe provides a fantastic contrast at the front of the bed, too. See more of this beautiful landscape here.
Foundation shrub planting tip: Remember to plant your foundation shrubs 3-4' away from the house and be sure to give them the appropriate amount of space between each other based on their mature size.
What is a foundation shrub?
A foundation shrub is one that is planted near the foundation of your home. Foundation shrubs soften and hide the foundation of your home. They also form the back layer of a garden bed against the house. They should be planted in massed groups of three or more to achieve a cohesive look. Foundations shrubs can be utilized on all four sides of your home, but are best known for their key role in the front bed of the house, near the entryway.
What makes a good foundation shrub?
Form (or habit), light and moisture needs, and mature size are the most fundamental details to be aware of when choosing your foundation shrub. And of course, it should be appropriate for your region and growing zone. Midsize shrubs with a nicely rounded or mounded growth habit typically make the best foundation shrubs. You want something that won't overwhelm your space or hide your windows (if there are any in the area) when it's fully grown.
Bloom size, color, and season can make a difference in your choice, as well. It's also helpful to consider your house color and style when choosing the flower and foliage color of the shrubs you'll be planting right in front of it.
There's a vast array of shrubs that could make for a beautiful foundation planting, but it's common to see hydrangea, boxwood, Viburnum, Indian hawthorn, Euonymus, and Pittosporum used as foundation shrubs across the country.