Foundation beds are functional, acting to break up the stark transition between yard and house, but they are also an opportunity for the homeowner to personalize this outdoor space. Options are available that add to the overall appearance of your home and property, while increasing safety and decreasing maintenance. Other options allow you to show off your creativity, building showy beds of color that are the envy of passers-by.
Use shrubs alone for a low-maintenance solution to hide your home's foundation. Choose shrubs of moderate height to preserve access to areas of your house that may require attention, such as windows. Larger, thicker bushes can become a safety issue, allowing burglars to hide among the branches while they attempt to gain access to your home. Smaller shrubs allow you to enjoy the line of sight from your windows and offer no room for thieves to conceal themselves. As a bonus, they often hold their compact shape with little need for pruning.
Choose flowers for colorful and decorative foundation landscaping. Flower beds are a popular choice, in part because of their versatility. Change the look and color of the beds each year, or choose perennial favorites that can stand up to harsh conditions and return without the need to replant the space.
Choose a mix of annuals in a single color for a bold statement or try a selection of traditional favorites like marigolds, impatiens, pansies and petunias. The use of annuals allows you to rearrange the bed over time, as your tastes change or as you discover which plants work best under the conditions present in your area.
Try perennials such as lily of the valley to offer foliage and flowers, bleeding heart to add height and iris to provide stately flower heads over spiky leaves in areas of deep shade.
Consider a rock garden for a space where the soil is poor. Feature interesting, large single stones mixed with mounds of smaller stones. Their shape will act in a fashion similar to shrubs, blunting the rough edges where the house meets the yard.
There are many variations on this theme. Those in a desert location may choose to add a special cactus, while those near the beach may include unusual pieces of driftwood. A minimalist approach may appear more in the fashion of a Zen garden, where a few dramatic pieces are paired with a groomed open space of pea gravel or sand. Such landscaping can serve as a point of interest year-around.