You will want to mulch your foundation plants to cut down on irrigation needs and weed growth. A well-chosen mulch placed around your foundation plants also adds to the overall visual impact of your landscape design. For instance, you may be able to find a mulch that picks up a color in your home. But there are some special considerations when mulching close to a house. For more information on the latter, see "Termite Control and Mulching." For an overview about mulching, see "Garden Mulch."
Foundation Plants: Varying Color, Even With "Evergreen" Foundation Shrubs
Speaking of color, your foundation plants themselves can, in some cases, pick up colors in your home, especially if you'll be incorporating some flowering shrubs or trees (see picture). But despite their name, remember that "evergreen" foundation shrubs aren't all green and therefore do present some options for varying the colors in your landscape design color scheme. There are bushes with gold colors, for instance.
The use of annuals and perennials in front of the taller foundation plants offers further opportunity to build a color scheme.
Foundation Plants: Texture
As much as color is worth considering, so is texture. Try varying plant textures to increase visual interest. Needled evergreen foundation shrubs, such as yews offer quite a different texture from broadleaf specimens, such as rhododendron shrubs.
Foundation Plants: Shape of the Planting Bed
In the traditional foundation plantings mentioned on Page 1, foundation plants were often arranged in linear beds -- that is, in more or less straight lines paralleling the house wall. In cases where such foundation plantings consisted largely of hedges of evergreen shrubs, this made sense from a maintenance standpoint: straight hedges are easier to trim than those with irregular shapes. Also, in urban landscaping, where homes may sit just a few feet back from the street, linear beds may be more practical.
Many people, however, now prefer curved foundation plantings. Indeed, by curving foundation plantings out away from the house, extra room is provided for the incorporation of additional landscape design elements, such as water features. There's another benefit from curved beds: by bringing foundation plants out further away from the house, you have more opportunity to vary plant height.
Foundation Plants and the Overall Landscape Design
Finally, remember that foundation plants work best visually when chosen with the bigger picture in mind. What plants already exist (or will later exist) in your landscape design? By echoing those plants in your foundation planting, you can achieve a sense of unity in the yard.