Foundation Planting Not Required

There are many design elements to consider for the landscape — color, simplicity, scale, balance, rhythm, focal points — but one landscape plan generally ignores all of these, yet continues to be the default choice for many new homes. I’m talking about foundation planting.

Planting around the foundation was originally intended to hide structures of pier and beam houses or houses with basements. But the vast majority of homes built today are slabs, making foundation planting an unnecessary task.

A better option is to choose a small group of plant species, with varying textures and heights to complement each other. Additionally, how much sun exposure a particular area receives will also guide you on what to plant.

Considering all the factors above, a typical shade front might consist of:

  • Spider lily
  • Sago palm
  • Purple oxalis
  • Dwarf plumbago
  • Beds – 5-10 feet in width and curved

Or a typical sun front might consist of:

Whether you opt for symmetry – equal heights and spacing — or asymmetry – varying heights and spacing – depends on the home’s architecture, and personal preference, of course.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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