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Flowery Foundation Garden

By: Sherri RibbeySherri Ribbey
A compact spot between the driveway and front door packs a punch with help from these easy-care, long-blooming plants.

Get more curb appeal with this flowery foundation planting

This small area between the driveway and the entry is only 11 feet long and 7 feet wide but can still look good. The long blooming shrubs and perennials here have a variety of shapes and habits that give visitors a great view as they approach the front door.

South-facing foundation planting

A border like this one that faces south is a challenge. The sun reflects off the house and the surrounding pavement making it really hot in summer. It can also fool plants into breaking dormancy too soon in late winter so they start growing and then get zapped by the cold. So besides providing a pretty view, whatever grows in this spot needs to be tough.

‘Little Lamb’ is a dwarf panicle hydrangea that blooms midsummer to fall and is big enough to make a statement but small enough to leave room for companions. Its cone-shaped blooms are easy to see from the street and make a good conrast to the other flowering plants nearby.

The big 5- to 6-inch flowers of ‘Mr. Goodbud’ tall sedum provide a colorful accent from late summer to fall then dry in place and last through winter. This variety has sturdy stems that won’t flop over on the sidewalk and become a walking hazard.

Tuck a small empty container in the corner to mark the transition from sidewalk to driveway. Its glazed surface adds an interesting textural contrast to the bed. A ruffle of ‘Little Penny’ coreopsis looks great at the base. Though plants won’t make it through winter in most places this variety blooms like crazy all summer without any deadheading.

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Maintenance tips

  • Apply a 1 to 2 inch layer of mulch in spring to help conserve moisture.
  • A soaker hose buried in the mulch and connected to a timer can make watering easier if you hvae a water source nearby.
  • You don’t have to prune ‘Little Lamb’, which blooms on new wood, but for larger flowers, cut the stems back by one-third to half their original size in late winter or early spring.
  • Cut back the ‘Karl Foerster’ grass to within a few inches of the ground in early spring to make room for new growth.
  • Make sure the coral bells haven’t heaved out of the ground. If you notice the crown sitting above the soil line, carefully step just next to the crown to push it back into place.
  • Deadhead the coneflowers or leave the spent blooms in place, it's up to you. If Leaving them alone will be a boon for goldfinches that love to eat the seeds.

gp area-btwn-driveway-Plan: This garden peaks in summer but fall is great, too, with the long-lasting flowers of tall sedum and panicle hydrangea that will even last into winter.

Meet the plants in this flowery foundation garden

Check out the lettered plan above and see the corresponding plant information in the slideshow below to find out more about the easy-care, long-blooming plants in this foundation planting!

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Published: Feb. 28, 2018
Updated: Aug. 6, 2021

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