Thursday, February 12, 2009

Foundation Beds Add Interest

I am a BIG proponent of foundation beds. Not only do they add value and comfort to your home, but they can also reduce energy bills and maintenance. The above picture shows a long view of the front of my home looking north. It was taken in early spring as you can see from the date. The driveway is behind me.
As you walk to my front door you will be greeted with this view in late spring. Reduce maintenance you say? How can foundation beds do that? Most folks around here seem to prefer nothing but grass all the way up to their house. That way, no mulching, weeding, or fertilizing is required of the homeowner. Just a simple mow and weedwhack and it is done. Truth be told, I don't think it is a big problem with the fertilizing, mulching and weeding as much as it is with the men around here who mow the yard. They do NOT like to have to avoid plants around a house when they are doing their bulldozing with their tractors-oops-I meant mowing of course. Anyone who has ever seen a professional lawn maintenance guy in service will know what I am talking about.
Here is the same foundation garden in the summer. Foundation beds are integral to creating a good first impression. They can reduce maintenance because you don't have to weed whack, mow, and trim right up to the house! All of which are maintenance in my book-much more maintenance than a garden requires.

Energy bills for the homeowner are reduced because shrubs can help protect the home in both the winter and summer. In the winter shrubs can block cold north winds. Shrubs can also reduce cooling bills in the summer when they are sited in a manner so as to block the hot summer sun.

Now we are walking around the house toward the north, looking at a different part of the foundation bed in the late summer. Here the ground slopes toward the north and most folks don't walk past this area. It is full of shrubs, bulbs and perennials to continue the interest and to enable me to get out of mowing this area! Again, reducing the maintenance of maintaining a lawn.
But really the best part of foundation gardens besides reducing maintenance and energy bills is the interest they provide to the homeowner and all visitors. Don't you honestly think flowers and ornamentals are so much more interesting than just plain old green grass? The above picture has been shown on here before. I like the long shots and this one truly shined back in October for Bloom day so I have used it again. This is the north side of my home and where the heat pump is located. Can you see the heat pump? It is there between the two hydrangeas, well camouflaged, another good aspect of foundation gardens.

There are considerations for planning a foundation garden, but we'll cover them in another post. For now I'm enjoying my home....


in the garden....

41 comments:

  1. You're literally surrounded in beauty. Our north side is nothing but shade and I so want to get plants over their. We're still doing the mowing thing and it's so tedious. Thanks for a great post.

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  2. What a beautiful garden. It is a great sight for me after enduring a grey, foggy & wet day today.

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  3. Great stuff Tina a new expression for me 'foundation bed' and it make good sense. Yours look so lovely Tina, very welcoming. I like the wild and romantic looking touch. Cut the bills! haha my Mr 'not gardening only sailing' will love that.

    xoxo Tyra

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  4. Another interesting post. I had no idea what you meant by foundation beds. I think perhaps it's more common to plant like that in England, because we have in general such smaller gardens. It's also relatively uncommon to pay someone to mow your lawn (though obviously many do).

    A bed like that by the door nearest to the kitchen is a good place for herbs - if it also happens to face the right way of course. My husband planted ours. With his care, and given that herbs have an abundance of foliage, I often find it more attractive than the "ornamental" beds!

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  5. Interesting post Tina, and your garden look very attractive. Sadly some people have no interest in gardening and think plants are an intrusion. They would rather mow grass which I personally find boring. I don't think that grass is viewed as living by some people - just a green carpet that has to be trimmed.
    BTW - not heard of foundation beds before so have learned something new!

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  6. That is very pretty. Good info.

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  7. Pretty pictures of some pretty foundation flowerbeds!

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  8. Hi Tina, Good Morning...the foundation bed has always been a problem for me! The design has been difficult to get together and is still not there! I do like the way you've combined textures, colors and bloom in your fbs...Have a good day? How was the storm yesterday? We got a a little rain; more gusting winds and when it rained it was sideways!

    Gail

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  9. Your beds are really pretty. I have been wanting to re-do mine as they are too full of shrubs, but too many problems are peventing that. Love the summer pictures!

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  10. Thanks for sharing your foundation beds with us, they're lovely! I've already done the beds in front two years ago, and last year we did the east and west sides. This year, we build our deck, then do the back/south beds around it and our foundation beds will be finished.

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  11. Hi Tina, I love looking at your plantings through the seasons. You have planned well to have something pretty all year. The blue salvias and white daisies are especially fetching. Of course I agree that the less grass the better!
    Frances

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  12. Good morning all! You guys are too kind. My little garden is a work in progress-but no grass to be found:) I wish everyone a very wonderful day. Looks like a good day here so I'll be outside.

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  13. This is a great proponent for interesting foundation plantings. I stress interesting because the beds that drive me crazy are the ones with boring evergreen shrubs (Emerald cedar, globe cedar, dark dreary yews and junipers); Interesting combinations of perennials, annuals and shrubs, on the other hand, are awesome.

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  14. Now those are great looking foundation beds Tina! I love the one filled with shrubs, the combination of colors & textures is wonderful.

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  15. I think those foundation beds are as pretty as any I've ever seen!

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  16. Good Morning All,
    Tina, those foundation beds are to die for. They are very lovely. All that color.
    My front garden consist of shrubbery {came with the house} & the little Front Door Garden I made last yr. so it is still a baby. The rest of the front yard is grass & a couple small trees that I planted.
    Have a good day all.

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  17. Good tips Tina and a beautiful garden! I like looking back at those blooming photos, especially when nothing else is going on outside.

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  18. Tina, your beds look really nice. You are certainly right about the fact that flowers and shrubs are much more ecologically friendly than lawns. Looking forward to your next posts about successful foundation planting.
    Marnie

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  19. I forgot to ask, what is the pink blooming shrub with the dark leaves? I'm looking for something similar for the north side of my house (a pretty shady area).
    Marnie

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  20. Beautiful gardens Tina! We dont have much up against the house for fear of attracting bugs into the home and squirrels upon the roof! I am now thinking about herb gardens on the sides though. Hum, what do you think? Sides are East and West. Which would be best for herbs?

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  21. Your lovely garden pics are making me miss spring! I can't wait till it warms up!

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  22. Tina, I am going to have to agree with you. Foundation bedding really frame in a house, rather than having just a lawn. Can't agree more with you.

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  23. Your foundation plantings are beautiful, Tina, and I love the fountain in the center--that has been on my wish list for a long time! I agree they are much more interesting than plain old grass or boring evergreens. Another advantage to them is that my own Mr. Mower/Bulldozer man is less likely to mow these flowers down:)

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  24. Gorgeous Tina. I am also a fan of foundation beds/planting but it sends my realtor friends over the edge. When I first looked at my house, the realtor told me I would want to remove everything next to the foundation and replace it with rock. ugh. His reasoning was moisture issues and wanting to keep water away from the basement. No way could I do that (and I do not have the lovely variety of plantings you do), I will take my chances and hope I don't have that problem. The alternative (rock) is way too ugly for me so not even an option.

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  25. Very nice beds. So full and colorful. Who needs grass!

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  26. So pretty Tina, and so much more interesting than lawn or the same tired old evergreen foundation plantings.

    I'm still working on the Lawn Man trying to convince him to let me rip out the boring, overgrown yews and burning bushes in this house's original (40-year-old) foundation landscape.

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  27. So pretty Tina, and so much more interesting than lawn or the same tired old evergreen foundation plantings.

    I'm still working on the Lawn Man trying to convince him to let me rip out the boring, overgrown yews and burning bushes in this house's original (40-year-old) foundation landscape.

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  28. YES...I am number 30 on the comments! An even number, Adrian Monk would be proud...Sorry I am a Monk geek.... anywho, the flowers I forced did okay, I was constantly buged by these little black flies...Thanks for the good luck on the midterm...I need all the luck I can get.

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  29. Kathleen, Tina's mother talking now. Your realtor friends are full of, well, you know what. We had an old large stone (acually 2 of them) put at our front door 26 years ago when we built the house for steps to make an old fashioned look. Now the one next to the house is out about a quarter of an inch from the house to let water drain. Well guess what? Come spring we will be tearing it out as the door sill, frame and hall entrance floor is all rotten from water damage off the stone. We can put our fingers to the outside by the sill from the hallway. We did not know it was happening as we rarely go down in the basement and with rugs on the floor it, went unnoticed till there was major damage. I have never had any damage from plants.

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  30. What beautiful beds. I agree, I'd much rather look at flowers and interesting shrubs than just plain old grass. I'm trying to get rid of more grass in our front just for the reasons you mention.

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  31. Tina I love your foundation beds. They are gorgeous. What is the camellia in the last picture? It's so beautiful it looks like a dream...

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  32. Hi all, Busy day in the garden.

    Marnie and Sweet Bay, The camelia is I believe 'Jean May' (Camelia sasanqua). It is a STELLAR performer in my garden on the north side of the house on the edge of its zone. I think I have some posts on it under camelias. Plus it is the same name as my mother. It blooms like this every winter and is the reason I have about 1/2 more camelias-all sasanquas except one. I planted 'Jean as a one gallon pot 7 years ago AND moved her in 2003 and still she rewards me all year. She blooms more than a month in December or so. Varies depending on weather. Drought tolerant-never water or do anything but lightly prune after flowering.

    Lola, There is something to be said for shrubs-they fit in.

    Skeeter, Definitely the west side as most all herbs need tons of sun.

    Rose, When you get a fountain, make sure it does not splash too much. I don't like filling this one up everyday-grrrrrr!

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  33. Forgot to say, Mom, I am glad you are getting that fixed!

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  34. Thank you for the lovely tour! You have beautiful foundation plantings! I am fixing to have more larger growing shrubs added to the west side of my house to hopefully reduce traffic noise. Wonderfully sound advice.
    Brenda

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  35. Tina,
    Your foundation beds work because they are flower gardens and have style, grace and design!

    Just beautiful!
    Cameron
    PS Thanks for checking on me today. I'm just about worn out mentally and my eyes are blurring badly!

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  36. Beauty surrounds you, Tina!!
    You are fortunate to have such a sunny area right there so close to the house. I love seeing the perennials you've planted. Can't wait to see more this year as they sprout up again!!

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  37. Lovely beds Ms. Tina. Speakin of beds....goodness! look at the time! I have to work tomorrow! I'm goin to bed. And will conjure up a foundation bed garden to dream about!

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  38. I love the diversity of color and texture in your beds, Tina. You've given me some good ideas and I'm even wondering if I can expand some of my front beds now.

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  39. Thank you Tina's Mom for the advice. I'm sorry about the water damage. I'm glad I have refused to remove my foundation plantings!

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