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Foundation planting covers vents and utilities around a house. It is relatively uniform except on the north facing walls. Here little direct sunlight limits ordinary plants from surviving and these spaces tend to experience medium to dark shade. Too often the north facing foundations are treated as an afterthought or ignored altogether, but there are some outstanding plant solutions that your designer should not overlook.

Shade-Loving Shrubs

Acer palmatum 'Dissectum'

Laceleaf Japanese Maple

Azalea hybrids


Brugmansia suaveolens

Angels Trumpet

Camellia japonica

Camellia Hybrids

Fuchsia hybrids


Pieris japonica

Japanese Pieris

Ribes sanguineum

Flowering Currant

Rhododendron hybrids


Hamamelis virginiana

Witch Hazel

Hydrangea macrophylla

Big Leaf Hydrangea

Kalmia latifolia

Mountain Laurel

Prunus laurocerasus

English Laurel

Azaleas, rhododendrons and Japanese maples are perfectly matched to the shady acidic conditions beneath this grove of redwood trees.

Foundation planting is created with shrubs that are long lived, sizeable and produce masses of foliage to cover unattractive foundations. If they flower, all the better, particularly when the blooms are visible from interior windows. Very few flowering shrubs thrive in shade, but those that do are among our most beautiful bloomers.

The Big 3 for Acidic Shade

Soils on the forest floor become acidic over time. They are the home of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons, the three most important shade loving shrubs. Provided your soil is acidic enough, they are the most reliable and colorful foundation plants. However, where soils and or water are alkaline, these will not be your best choice.


Shade Tree Solutions
Create the Illusion of Sun Dappling
Add Excitement to Shade With Perennials

Landscaping Network

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