First Step: Planting
If you determine that foundation planting is right for your style, your first step should be to study your home. The plants you choose will need to fit your house, its style, shape, and height. The plants also need to suit the environment and you must follow their growing conditions.
Your doorway entrance is the most important part of your house. Begin your foundation planting here. If you have a balanced front, you will need balance planting, meaning your plants should stretch out from both sides of the entrance.
Setting two low round planters at both sides of your door is the best place to start. If your home has steps, set plants so they will cover the edge of the steps, and they will grow out from there. Select slower growing evergreens, like Mugho pine or Japanese yew.
If you have a very formal door, setting a tall planter that catches the eye will create a wonderful focal point, giving the door a wonderful introduction. This entrance should be distinct from the rest of the façade, remember the more simple the planting the better.
Many modern homes do not contain a balance front as the colonial and Cape Cod homes do. The entrance is often off center or in a different location than the front of the home. Sometimes the façade of the house is even composed of different materials, with part of the housing being a stone or brick and the other frame. It may have an L shape with a garage or bedroom spanning out ten feet or more.
A ranch house also has many interpretations. Some feature an exaggerated window that is so large it will occupy a great portion of the façade. So each of these variations require a different plan for foundation planting. Even with the modern homes, you can usually break them down to a few simple lines, and work out a plan that is safe.
Approach your plan this way:
If the entrance to the home is centered, you will want to frame the door, if it is off centered, with more building on one side then another, extend your planting beyond the corner of the short end to make it look more centered. If a driveway interfered, plant a tall upright evergreen at the corner, or place a trellis with a vine or rose plant climbing up it. If the house projects out, there is no need to balance your planting, as the house itself is not symmetrical.
If your homes projection is no more than three feet, and the entrance is at the angle, with a step or platform of considerable width, , it will look wonderful to set a low plant at the edge of the projection, and a tall plant at the open side of the platform. A plant with a square form will work best for the tall plant. If your path goes right to the platform, the low plant will be balanced with the other.