Foundation plants are the first thing people see when they come to your home. So it’s important to choose the ones that looks the best. In this post, I share a list of my favorite perennials and shrubs for landscaping around your house.
From evergreen bushes to flowering perennials, there are many landscaping ideas you can use to add visual interest to your home.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the choices. This guide will show you the best foundation shrubs and perennials, so you’ll be able to pick out your favorites without any stress.
What Are Foundation Plants?
Foundation plants started as a way to hide the unsightly cement or blocks around the base of newly constructed homes.
Now people add them around their house to enhance the beauty, and break up the monotonous look of a treeless yard, or siding that reaches to the ground.
Landscapers use a mixture of bushes, flowers, and shrubs as a way to create artistic visual interest.
With the right shape, size and color, you can draw someone’s eye around your yard, up the walk, and to the front door. It’s like interior design, but outdoors.
Related Post: How To Design A Front Yard Foundation Planting
When you are looking for foundation plants, these are the attributes that are the most important:
- Choose shorter varieties – If they are too tall, they could block windows, and cause problems for gutters or drainage.
- Add visual interest – Use a range of heights, textures, and colors to create your desired look.
- Keep sunlight needs in mind – If the front of your house receives constant sunlight or full shade, make sure you choose plants that will respond well to it.
- Go for symmetry – Whether you try to use mirror images on both sides of your house, or add visual interest with an asymmetrical design, this list will give you many options.
- Pick ones that look great year-round – Evergreen shrubs or perennials with winter interest will keep your front garden from looking bare during the colder seasons.
Related Post: 17 Best Ground Cover Plants That Grow Well In The Shade
21 Foundation Plants & Shrubs For Front Of House
I split up the list into two sections to make it easier for you to find what you need. First, we will look at the best shrubs for the front of your house.
Then, you will discover the most popular flowers and perennials that you can use to dress up your home landscaping quickly.
Best Shrubs To Plant In Front Of The House
Shrubs and bushes are the most popular foundation plants for the front of the house. They’re easy to care for, make the best base for corners, and anchor your landscaping. Below are some good options.
One of the most common foundation shrubs is the boxwood because it’s easy to shape with some hedge trimmers.
These evergreen bushes can reach 6-8’, and do well in partial to full sun. Most people use them as the base or backdrop for their landscaping, and place other colorful specimens around them.
This classic bush comes in a bunch of different shapes and sizes. You can find them in just about any hue from pink or red, to yellow, orange, and even shades of white, blue, or purple. Simply choose your favorite colors.
Roses also have a variety of heights. Find them in dwarf forms that only reach 1-3’, or larger shrubs and climbers that can get anywhere from 8-20’ tall.
Hydrangeas are another fantastic way to add pops of color to the front of your house.
Their showy flowers bloom in the late summer or early fall. They come in varieties with either pink, green, blue, purple, or even white blossoms.
They do best in zones 4-9, and can reach heights of either 4-6’ or 6-8’, depending on the type you own. Learn how to grow hydrangeas here.
4. Japanese Maple
A much taller option is the Japanese maple, which you can find either as a bush or in a small tree form.
Some of the bush varieties reach 12-15’, and the trees can be 15-20’. So make sure you give them plenty of space, and don’t put them too close to your house.
They are breathtaking in the fall when the leaves change from green to a vibrant red. This deciduous tree or shrub does best in zones 6-9 with full sun.
This common evergreen shrub is often used by the pros as the bones or an anchor in front yard landscape design.
The juniper is known for its unmistakable berries that grow in between the pines on some species.
It’s a conifer that prefers full sun, and can reach 4-6’. The ones that make the best foundation plants are those that stay closer to the ground, rather than the ones that look like tall trees.
In general there are two basic types of dogwoods, a tree and a shrub. While the trees look great, at 15-20’ they can be a bit too large to put right next to your house.
The bushes do best in full sun, and can reach 8-12’. Both are deciduous and thrive in zones 5-8.
Some will even bloom in mid-spring, with lovely pink or white flowers that are highly fragrant and attractive to pollinators.
The elderberry is a pretty specimen that bears edible fruit. The sweet berries can be used to make jams and deserts, and the birds love feasting on them too.
Though it prefers full sun, it can do well in partial shade as well. This beautiful bush is hardy in zones 3-9, where it can reach 8-10’.
In the late spring and early summer it blooms with white flowers, which are a delightful contrast to the dark maroon foliage.
8. Dwarf Lilac
The dwarf lilac is a fantastic way to line your sidewalks or add color to the front of your house.
Reaching 4-6’ tall, this shrub is easy to trim into stunning round shapes, and small enough to make the perfect foundation plant.
It does best in zones 3-7. In late spring it will come alive with pink or fuchsia blooms that smell heavenly.
If you’re looking for a bush that has good fall colors to brighten up your yard, try weigela. It does best in sun or partial shade in zones 5-9.
It reaches 36-48” tall, though dwarf varieties can be much smaller. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer with pink, red, or white petals.
Unfortunately, they aren’t fragrant when they bloom. But the brilliant colors are stunning, and really stand out against the light green foliage.
10. Mock Orange
Don’t let the name fool you. The mock orange has white flowers that look and smell like those on an orange tree, but it doesn’t produce any fruit.
Also known as English dogwood, this large bush towers at 8-10’, and prefers partial shade in zones 4-8.
The highly fragrant blooms appear in late spring and early summer. Place them near a window so you can enjoy the heavenly aroma inside your home when they’re in full bloom.
11. Azalea / Rhododendron
There are lots of types of azalea and rhododendron that you can choose from. All of them are dazzling.
Growing anywhere from 36-48” for the dwarf varieties, or as large as 10-12’ for larger ones, they prefer shade and acidic soil.
They are the epitome of spring in zones 3-8, blooming in late spring with showy flowers and bright colors.
From whites to pinks and shades of purple, to red, orange, and even yellow, they dress up a home’s front landscape.
With tons of different varieties to choose from, spirea is a popular foundation shrub because it stays fairly small. Most will only reach 24-36” tall.
It’s also a favorite because it’s resistant to deer, and does well in a wide range of zones, from 4 to 9.
The foliage is pretty, and the pink or white blossoms appear in mid-spring.
13. Japanese Yew
Another great anchor, the Japanese yew is a low-maintenance coniferous bush that looks captivating in the winter.
The shortest ones, which are 8-10’, make the best foundation shrubs. The taller ones can reach 15-20’, and are better to use farther away from your house.
This is a popular choice for evergreen privacy, and a nice addition to any front garden bed.
Best Foundation Perennials
When it comes to picking out foundation perennial plants, you have a ton to choose from.
The best ones will depend on the color, size, and shape of your home and the existing landscaping. Here are some of my favorites.
Lilies add artistic beauty to the front of your home, and there are so many varieties that you can pick from.
The sizes range from 1-3’ for the shorter ones, all the way up to an impressive 8’ for the tallest. Though the hardiness varies depending on the species, you can find them for just about any zone.
Most will bloom in late spring or early summer and have stunning, often fragrant, flowers that come in an array of patterns and colors.
With solid or multicolored leaves that look like they came straight out of a painting, hostas add visual interest to your landscaping.
They only reach 18-28” tall and wide, and do best in shady spots in zones 3-8.
The trumpet-shaped blossoms appear in late summer, and can be anywhere from pale or light purple to white.
Also called false goat’s beard, astilbe has bold red, white, or pink flowers that bloom in mid-spring and early summer.
The colors are electric, and really command attention. They are also fantastic for cutting and adding to your indoor bouquet.
This excellent foundation plant will reach 18-24” and, depending on the variety, can thrive in anywhere from partial shade to full sun in zones 4-9.
There are hundreds of species of this romantic flower that you can choose from. The most popular is the bearded iris.
Depending on the type you choose, they can reach anywhere from 24-36”. The spiky foliage makes a great backdrop, and the blossoms open in the spring.
They come in a variety of colors, from lavender or blue, to yellow, white, pink, salmon, and dark purple. Some smell wonderful too.
18. Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Also called coral bells, Heucheras add vibrance and texture, and are a classic addition to any landscape.
When the pink or white flowers bloom in early summer, they can reach 18”. But the foliage is the star of the show, and you can find them in just about any color of the rainbow.
They can thrive anywhere from shade to full sun in zones 4-9, and can tolerate drought conditions.
Very broadly, there are two popular kinds of phlox: tall and creeping. Both require full sun, and are hardy in zones 4-8.
Tall varieties do well in partial shade to full sun, and get to be 36-48”. They have fragrant white, pink, purple, or magenta blooms that appear around the middle of summer.
The creeping ones have a sprawling habit, and barely reach 6” tall. They bloom in early spring, and also come in various colors.
The yucca is an effortless choice for beginners. These tough evergreen perennials are perfect for drier soils that are typical around a house foundation.
It’s rounded shape with lots of sharp-pointed leaves is easy to spot. Though most commonly used as a desert perennial in zones 9-11, there are cold-hardy varieties that can survive down to zone 3.
When it blooms in late spring, the tall flower spikes stick straight out of the center. They’re usually either pale yellow, pink, or a shade of white, and smell amazing.
The bloom spikes stay short on some types, only reaching 18-36″, while others can get up to 30′ tall. When not in bloom, the foliage is only 18-24”.
There are a bunch of varieties of peonies you can choose from, with a range of different sizes and colors.
The most common one for people to use as foundation perennials is the Chinese peony. It grows 24-36”, and thrives in full exposure.
The showy flowers are well known for their intoxicating fragrance, and bloom in late spring and early summer in zones 2-8. Learn how to care for peonies here.
With this list of the best foundation plants for the front of your house, you’re sure to find tons of options. Add some visual interest and beauty to your home with any of these stunning bushes, shrubs, and perennials.
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More About Flower Gardening
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- 17 Pink Flowers For Your Garden (Annuals & Perennials)
- 19 Long Blooming Perennials For A More Beautiful Flower Garden
Share you favorite types of foundation plants in the comment section below.