Landscaping Along the House: 25 Inspiring Ideas

Whether you’ve just moved into a new house, or are simply tired of your current landscape design, here are lots of ideas for tying your home into its surroundings. You’ve got plenty of great options, ranging from foundation plantings to patios to raised beds- or any combination that tickles your fancy!

1. Flower Bed Border

Flower Bed along house Border idea

You can’t go wrong with a classic flower bed along the edges of your foundations. It’s a good way to add some colour and blend your house into the landscape. Consider planting a variety of flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips for early spring colour, followed by hardy perennial flowers such as peonies, hollyhocks, daisies, phlox, and chrysanthemums for a long season of blooms.

You can also opt for the simplicity of annual bedding plants. Favourites include petunias and portulaca in sunny locations, while shady beds are best planted with flowers such as impatiens and begonias. Then, you can simply clean the beds off after freezing weather arrives, and lay down a good layer of mulch until the spring when you can plant again.

2. Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses Along House idea

For a modern version of a foundation bed, consider planting ornamental grasses instead of flowers. It’s best to plant a whole row of the same variety for a clean, uncluttered look that still softens the edge of the building.

Many ornamental grasses can be left standing through the winter months after they turn gold or brown, providing valuable wildlife habitat and adding winter interest to your landscape. Then in early spring you simply cut the stems back to the ground to make way for fresh new growth.

3. Rock Mulch Garden

Rock Mulch Garden

A rock mulch garden is a low-maintenance alternative to a classic foundation bed, perfect for a modern design. It’s especially suited to arid regions where water is scarce. You can use different colours and sizes of pebbles, gravel, and rocks to create a design, and augment it with drought-tolerant plants such as cacti or sedum, depending on your growing zone.

Establishing a rock mulch garden entails a fair amount of work, from clearing the ground, to laying down a weed barrier, and then arranging the stones on top. Planting holes need to be mapped out in advance, as once the stone is in place adding more plants is difficult.

4. DIY Trellis Wall

DIY Trellis Wall idea

Whether you’re growing annuals or perennials, a trellis is a great way to cover up a boring wall with living plants. Trellises can be made out of wood or metal, or even just sturdy wire stretched taut to create a grid.

Woody perennials such as climbing roses or wisteria will cover the wall year-round, while herbaceous perennials such as hops or clematis will die back to the ground in the winter. Popular annual vines include morning glories, nasturtiums, and scarlet runner beans.

5. Ground Covers


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For a really low-maintenance landscaping option, one that you don’t even have to mow, look at ground covers. There are many evergreen creeping plants that will quickly fill in an empty space, and keep looking good for years. Creeping thyme is one of the fastest growers, and produces tiny white flowers that pollinators love. Low growing sedums such as hens and chicks are drought-tolerant and very hardy. Bugleweed and creeping phlox are a couple more good ground covers that will survive temperatures as low as -40F (-40C).

Read our related ground cover posts:

6. Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen Shrubs along house - boxwood bushes

For most people, when they hear “foundation planting” they think shrubs planted alongside the house, and there’s a reason that this is such a classic look. Shrubs, especially evergreen ones, will hide the exposed walls of the basement foundation for a more finished look, and there’s of different plants to choose from.

Holly is one of my favourite shrubs for planting along a foundation. Its glossy green leaves keep looking good all year, and in winter the bright red berries add some much-needed colour to the winter landscape. Boxwood is another broadleaf evergreen that stays a lovely green even through cold winters. Cedars, yews, and spruce also have low-growing varieties that will add winter interest and serve as a backdrop for seasonal blooms.

7. Tall Privacy Evergreens

Tall Privacy Evergreens Along House ideas

If your home is in a high-traffic area, you can screen your windows with evergreens that will keep prying eyes out. Set them a few feet back from your front wall to give the shrubs room to grow, and within a few years your front window won’t be in full view of passers-by! Arborvitae, mock orange, and juniper are all good choices.

Read our related post “19 Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy from Neighbours” here.

8. Wood Mulch

Wood Mulch Garden near house

Wood mulch, known as just “mulch”, is a relatively inexpensive way to cover areas near your house, but be careful not to get too near! It’s advised that you not spread wood mulch any closer than 6 inches (15 cm) to the foundation, as it’s an ideal habitat for insects that you really don’t want to get indoors, including termites. Consider laying a strip of gravel right next to the foundation.

Also, be sure to get good quality wood mulch, as cheap dyed mulch can throw off spores of shotgun fungus that then land on your siding, creating a mess that can take time and money to clean up. However, if you replenish the mulch every year, the fresh top layer should be able to prevent most of the spore activity.

Read our related post “Vigoro vs Scotts Mulch | What’s the Difference?” here.

9. Concrete Area

Concrete Along House

Sometimes a simple hard surface is the best landscaping solution. This could be a concrete pavement in a narrow walkway between two houses, or a patio tucked in by a back door.

Concrete can be stained and molded or stamped for a less utilitarian look, and you can always glam things up with container plants or outdoor decorative touches.

10. Get Creative with Pavers


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For a more custom look, consider pavers to create hardscaping next to your home. Even a narrow alleyway from the front to back of the house can look deluxe with the right materials. Concrete pavers are a relatively easy DIY job.

Read our related post where I create a DIY concrete paver patio all by myself here.

11. Raised Garden Bed


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If your foundation walls are fairly high, you can place a raised bed garden right against the house, but never place a bed directly against an exterior wall if there’s a chance that moisture could get into the walls. Unless you have a poured concrete foundation wall that rises at least as high as your bed, don’t try this landscaping option.

However, if you do have a high enough foundation, raised beds are an excellent way to hide that less-attractive feature. Use long-lasting materials such as bricks to build up the beds. Once they’re planted with annuals, perennials, and shrubs, you will have increased the curb appeal of your home!

Read our related raised garden bed articles here:

12. Build a Stone Path


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Stone is another excellent choice for adding hard surfaces to your landscape.  Flagstones are a classic look for landscape paths that lend themselves to winding shapes for a natural look. Take the time to dig out the soil and lay down a layer of gravel to ensure that your path will stay level and drained for years to come.!

13. Lay Artificial Turf

Lay Artificial Turf idea

New artificial turf products are so good that you may mistake them for the real thing! In a location that gets very little sun, or is in a hot, exposed location that will dry out quickly, artificial grass will stay green and good-looking no matter what.

Read our related artificial grass articles:

14. Rubber Mulch

rubber garden mulch idea

If you aren’t planning to install a garden alongside your house, but instead are interested in a multi-use space for children, consider using rubber mulch. While it’s not recommended for use around plants because of concerns about its toxicity, rubber mulch will look good and provide a safe surface for a children’s play area.

To install rubber mulch, start by digging out the soil to a depth of about 6 inches (15 cm), and then lay down a layer of gravel. Top that with good-quality landscaping fabric, and then spread the rubber mulch over top. That way, you are guaranteed good drainage, and will not have to worry about the rubber getting mixed up with your soil, which could contaminate it.

15. Lay Gravel


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A border of gravel or pebbles can make a statement all on its own. It’s also very practical, as a well-designed gravel border will direct rain away from the foundations, and discourage rodents and insects from getting into the house.

Start by digging down into the soil about 6 inches (15 cm). Slope the bottom away from the house so that water will run downhill instead of pooling next to the foundation. Lay down a few inches of crushed stone, and then top it off with decorative stones such as river rock for a clean, classic look.

16. Build a Modern Deck

Build a Modern Deck Along House

Who doesn’t like a deck for sitting out and enjoying sunny summer days? Installing a deck is a major undertaking, but is a great way to create outdoor living space and increase your home’s value. Once you’ve decided on the shape, size, and location for your deck, make the big decision: wood or composite? Cedar or treated pine costs less than composite plastic decking, but on the other hand composite will last for decades without any need to stain or paint.

17. Just Plant Grass!

Plant Grass Along House

If you really want to keep things simple, just run your lawn right up to the foundation. This creates a very simple, clean look. Your biggest job will be using your weed whacker to trim the grass right along the wall!

18. Build a Pergola


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If you’ve got a hot southern exposure, you’ve got an ideal location for installing a pergola-covered walkway or patio alongside your house. A pergola should look good on its own, and can be constructed from wood or metal, with lots of simple or ornate options.

The star of the show, though, should be the vining plants that will cover it to create a shady oasis. Consider such perennials as grapevines, wisteria, or hops for a leafy roof throughout the summer. Whether it’s a walkway from one end of the house to another, or covering a deck or patio, the cool shade of a pergola will always be appreciated.

19. Add a Water Feature


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A landscape water feature doesn’t have to be a big pond in the middle of the lawn; you can even mount a small fountain on the wall to add the refreshing sight and sound of water to your home’s exterior. Water safety with young children doesn’t have to be an issue, as many fountains are designed with a gravel base for the falling water to disappear into.

20. Create a Courtyard


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If you have a lackluster spot leading to an exterior door, why not turn it into a courtyard? Build tall walls from brick, stone, or wood, pave the ground with flagstones or pavers, and add decorative touches such as a fountain, potted plants, or statues.

If you have a small urban property where outdoor privacy is minimal, this is a way to create an intimate outdoor space that can be enjoyed for much of the year.

21. Add an Outdoor Stairway


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Does your property have a steep slope alongside the house? This is a common issue where the house has been built into a slope, with 2 stories exposed at the rear while there’s only one storey at the front. Building a flight of stairs alongside the house is a good way to make walking back and forth easier, as well as adding value to your property.

Stairs can be made from stone, brick, pavers, or wood. While you can DIY those options, you could also get poured concrete steps installed. I recommend designing steps that are wide enough for two people to walk down side-by-side, but narrower ones will be perfectly fine if you don’t have the room.

22. Grow Espaliered Trees Against a Wall

Grow Espaliered Trees Against a Wall

If you have limited garden space but really love the idea of growing your own fruit, why not try the espalier technique? In this ancient craft, trees are pruned and trained to grow flat against a wall. Young dwarf trees are the best to plant for this method. It’s best to plant against a brick or stone wall rather than painted siding.

23. Add an Outdoor Fireplace


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An outdoor fireplace is a luxurious addition to your outdoors space, and a definite upgrade from the simple firepit. While it’s a fairly substantial investment, it can extend the season for patio entertaining, and provide the perfect place for roasting hot dogs and s’mores!

24. Build a Boardwalk Path


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Your pathways can also be built out of wood, which can be a more affordable alternative to paving stones. You can even build one out of reclaimed pallets!

25. Add a Greenhouse


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You can make your greenhouse as simple or as fancy as your tastes and wallet can make it. A south-facing wall is perfect for a lean-to greenhouse, and if you have a window somewhere in there, you can even get some warmth from the winter sun to help heat your house!

Final Thoughts

Developing your landscape is an ongoing process; as your needs evolve you may want to try something new to add curb appeal or improve the functionality of your property. Whether you decide to DIY or hire professionals to carry out your vision, you have plenty of different ideas to play around with!

Read our related post “9 Cheap Ways to Landscape Your Backyard” here.

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