What Is an Evergreen Foundation Shrub?


Evergreen shrubs are plants that don't shed leaves with the advent of the cool winter weather. Both needle and coarse leaf plants fall into the evergreen category that offers homeowners a variety of plants for use in the landscape. Foundation shrubs include any plant used around the perimeter of the home structure to hide or enhance the building. This practice has graduated from hiding unsightly "foundation" bricks or cement blocks to simply beautifying the exterior of the home.


Evergreen foundation shrubs serve as the major decorative aspect in the landscape. Homeowners place foundation shrubs around the base of the home to accent the structure. The choice of evergreen provides a lower maintenance plant than deciduous shrubs although some evergreen shrubs require regular pruning.


Evergreens don't drop leaves with the onset of winter. These plants retain vibrant green color throughout the year. For this reason, evergreens work extremely well as a decorative tool in all four seasons. The mental image of an evergreen provokes the vision of pine needles and a perfectly shaped plant. In truth, evergreens come in a wide away of foliage styles and types to add interest to the home landscape. Some common narrow-leaf evergreen foundation plants include mugo pine and dwarf Alberta spruce. Popular foundation broad-leaf evergreen plants include azaleas, boxwood, inkberry and holly.


Foundation planting requires the homeowner to perform some extremely careful planning. The addition of a foundation evergreen to the landscape requires analysis of the soil, amendment of the soil if necessary and the consideration of the mature size of the plant. Foundation evergreens require plenty of space to reach full height and width. Foundation plants fail when inadequate room exists for optimum plant health.


The historical trend of foundation planting featured a line of evergreen shrubs along the entire front of a home. This blocked the view of the lower portion of the house to hide ugly support beams and cement. Homes today have brick or siding reaching right to the ground level and as a result, have limited the need for a solid wall of evergreen shrubs. Despite the change in thought, homeowners still overplant the foundation area of the home. A wider spacing and in fact, an asymmetrical spacing of foundation evergreens draws attention to the aesthetic aspects of the landscape design. The home should blend with the foundation plants and conversely, the evergreens shouldn't hide the home.


Needle-leaf evergreen foundation plants require minimal maintenance. Broad leaf plants need a little more attention from the homeowner. All evergreens need regular watering throughout the entire year. Keep an eye on the weather and assist the plants with extra water. Broadleaf evergreens must be pruned to maintain a pleasing shape and promote healthy growth from top to bottom.

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About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.