4 Foundation Planting Faux Pas

Ilona Erwin

Don’t Commit These Planting Blunders

ivy strand

  1. Size matters. Planting something that will outgrow its spot and crowd windows or entries is a no-no.
  2. Ho-hum fashion choices. why be like every other house on the block? You don’t have to choose the same plants and the same evergreens that everyone else in your neighborhood does. Create something that suits you and your house and sets it off from the rest.
  3. Polka Dots are never in style with garden plantings. Don’t be a spotty gardener with a bit of this and a bit of that. Too much distraction and not enough confidence is the message of that style in your foundation plants which often have a public face. Give your house partners that can hold their own visually while not upstaging the architecture.
  4. Forgetting that the roof overhang creates difficult conditions

More About These Four Mistakes

How many times have we seen arborvitaes planted close to a house or even under a window? Or junipers in spots that are quickly outgrown and crowding everything including entry to a house? Or something struggling a no-win battle with the shade and dryness of the overhang of the roof?

We have all seen them, I think, and that is because it is all too common. Why? impatience is to blame at times, or not knowing the mature sizes or growing requirements of the plants.

Sometimes we just inherit some else’s mistakes.

Pfitzer Juniper

Front foundation plants of Pfitzer Juniper will get even bigger than this!

The area between the house and the dripline of the roof is space best left unplanted and mulched. Your foundation plantings will eventually spread out and cover most sight of these areas. Trying to get roots to grow well in the dry and often compacted earth is not going to give you the results you desire, anyway.

Some of the mistakes in planting large sized shrubs can be rectified with judicious pruning, but many are best given over to a complete foundation makeover!

Take some or all of the old plants out if they are scruffy or overgrown. Some will respond to deep cutting back, like taxus bushes, but some will not (junipers are one of those).

Some may be pruned into a treelike shape (after all, some are genuinely trees by nature). If they are good examples of fine plants, give them new neighbors and revitalize them: a beautiful dogwood or azalea, a healthy weeping cherry… all those plants are of value and deserve some respect. Make a plan, or consult with a professional, be creative, but don’t make the four faux pas!

Cutting Down Too Large Shrubs

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.