In my last article on front yard landscaping I discussed laying out driveways and sidewalks as your starting point and how it could possibly help create the entire framework for your front yard design. So assuming that you’re to that point, we’ll move on to a few considerations of a major secondary element. Plants.
When choosing and setting out plants in the front yard or any landscaping for that matter, you need to consider more than just how things will look. You should also consider other factors such as sun or shade, duration of sun or shade, soil type, purpose, the elements, and what specific plants will require or do in the future. There are also a few other considerations such as how close to plant to the home and its foundation.
When setting out plants in the front yard, place small shrubs and bushes 4 to 6 feet away from the home. If set closer than this, they could be deprived of sunlight or rain because of a wide overhang from the roof. They could also get fried from intense heat reflecting off of the wall. Placed away from the home in a wider staggered row rather than a narrow row, they also add a 3d effect to the landscape that makes the home seem more substantial.
Another consideration that most folks don’t think of is the long term effects of planting around the foundation of the home.
Keep in mind the space that plants and their roots will occupy at maturity. Roots are a powerful force that can find their way through rock. They also don’t seem to have much trouble with foundations.
Most plants, of course, require water. Watering, and especially flooding plants and beds around foundations creates a potential for a damaged foundation. This doesn’t always happen but it does happen. If you’re going to have plants close to the home, spot watering individual plants, a drip system, or even a low profile spray is safer than flooding the entire area.
Lime leach from concrete is a problem that I see quite often. It’s such a common problem because it takes a long time to show up. Over time, lime leaches out of the concrete into the soil causing the soil to become alkaline. If the ph of the soil gets too high, plants will start to look sick and yellow. Usually, keeping the beds tilled with a lot of organic matter will buffer and prevent this problem. Adding sulfur and organics to beds that are already affected will help turn the problem around.
The main thing to keep in mind when setting out landscaping plants, along with how they’ll look, is what they will do in the future. Whether it’s front yard landscaping, backyard landscaping, or any other part of your landscape, keeping these main points in mind could possibly save you a lot of frustration and money in the future.