How Far Should Plants Be From Your House

Are you wondering how far should plants be from your house?

There’s no denying that houses with plants growing right around them are beautiful to look at. But, they are not ideal for various reasons.

You probably didn’t know this but plants growing around your place can be extremely dangerous for your home. Apart from that, they may not be healthy for your plants either. Trees, shrubs, bushes, and vines can overtake spaces at a fast pace and therefore ruin your property structure.

Trees that are planted too close to your home can seep into the foundation of your home and destroy it. In addition to that, they pose a risk of toppling over due to harsh weather. It is, therefore, in the best interest of your plants and house that you do not grow trees and plants too close and keep a safe distance.

Here is everything you need to know about how far your plants should be from your home.

How Much Space?

Planting next to house
Planting next to house

The distance between your home and plants is something to be mindful of and cannot be determined at random. When planting, it is important that you keep in mind the proper spacing between your place and plants.

What this essentially depends on is the distance between your plants and the foundation of your home. In addition, other factors that may influence your decision include the kind of plant that you want to grow and many more. It’s also important to remember that not all plants require the same amount of distance, so you should look into how much space that particular plant would need before you grow it.

Remember that the plant will not always be the size that it is when you are growing it. That’s why you must consider its full size. Leave ample space between plants as well so that they don’t collide with one another and there’s no overcrowding.

A good key fact is to remember that roots grow between one and three times the width of the canopy of the tree. Also, do not rely on the nursery tag while buying as it is not always accurate. Instead, do your research to see how tall and wide a plant is capable of becoming.

Why Is Spacing Important?

How Far Should Plants Be From House
How Far Should Plants Be From House

There are several different reasons why proper spacing of your plants from your home is important. First and foremost, it will allow your plants to fully grow and develop. Not to mention, it will also prevent overcrowding, which may affect the other plants.

Another reason is something that you may not realize while planting, but later on, as your plant develops, it will also grow in size and need adequate space. For example, small shrubs can turn into huge bushes.

Therefore, it is essential that you keep the height and width of the plant in mind before growing. Do some research and then make a map of your landscape to decide what is the ideal distance that you should plant them from your home.

Spacing will give your plants the proper air circulation that they need. Leave at least a foot from around the foundation of your house in order to stop moisture from building up. This is because as it could have many negative effects on your house, such as dampening and attracting insects, which can ruin your house and your plants.

Growing plants too close to your house can damage the foundation of your house and make maintenance extremely difficult. This includes it affecting plumbing as well as your driveway. Thus, not only is spacing your plants from your home important for the health and well-being of your plants but also your home!

Plants require lots of space and light in order to thrive, which is another major reason why spacing is crucial. If they are too close to your home or any building for that matter, this could hinder their growth as they may not be able to get the light that they need.

Be especially careful if your house is high as it could be an obstacle to it. Many plants, such as the evergreens, in particular, require air circulation as well as light on all sides to keep prospering, so be mindful of the requirements of your plant.

How To Plan

best plants for next to house
best plants for next to house

As mentioned earlier, it is important that you carefully plan before planting close to your house. Keep in mind the nature of your plant, as well as its size and needs. In addition to that, you need to measure your property to see how far to grow plants from it.

For example, if you live in a property that has a slope, you will have to measure the slope as well. Keep in mind, grading must be one inch per foot for the first 6 feet and then a continued slope for around 10 feet from the foundation.

Grading is also important when it comes to drainage. If the area surrounding your place is flat, it can lead to flooding during rains. Needless to say, this can damage your plants, so it is best to work on grading before planting.

Why Shrubs Should Not Be Planted Too Close To Your Home

It is a fact that plants hold excessive moisture. Hence, you shouldn’t be growing them too close to your home. After all, moisture can damage the surfaces around plants. In addition to that, you can expect bugs and termites to enter your place as they are attracted to moisture. It won’t be long before they cause damage to your home structure as well as your plants.

So, how far should shrubs be planted from your place? In the case of small shrubs, you can plant them at least two feet from your house foundation. On the other hand, medium shrubs can be grown around three feet from the foundation. You need to ensure a four to five-feet distance is kept between tall shrubs and your home.

If tall shrubs are grown close to the home foundation or they are as high as the roof, they can easily damage the gutters. Thus, it is ideal to grow them in the corners or further away from the property.

The general rule of thumb is to calculate at least half the distance of their mature spread from your house’s foundation. For example, if a shrub is expected to grow up to be 40 feet wide, you would want it at least 20 feet from your home.

What To Keep In Mind When Spacing

If you have windows around the exterior of your house, it is likely that they will require washing. It is therefore recommended that you leave approximately three feet distance from the front, side and back wall of your home. You should also keep enough space in mind for a ladder.

In case you will be washing the windows that are behind your foundational plantings, make sure to leave about three feet of space from the front, side, or back wall of your house. This space will leave enough room for using a ladder.

Another thing to keep in mind is drainage. When it rains, water will slide off the edge of your roof down below. It is, therefore, important that you make sure there are no bushes and plants directly under as it could destroy them and erode your soil. However, if you have gutters, then you may still be able to plant them closer to the house.


Just like it is with plants, trees too should not be planted too close to the house. This can cause major disasters. One of the biggest reasons is because of the structural damage that they can cause to your property.

Tree roots are known to cause damage, depending on the type of tree and how close it is. Some trees, such as the ficus tree, are known to have aggressive roots that can damage your foundation. Others, even though they may have huge roots can cause less damage as their roots do not come in the way of a property but they simply go around them.

Another major factor is plumbing. Trees can greatly cause plumbing issues. Roots that are more aggressive can tear through and destroy older plumbing parts that are underneath your home structure. Larger ones can even crush these components.      

In addition to that, tall trees can even damage the roof of your house. No matter how upright a tree is, it can easily wear away the roof covering by colliding with other branches and debris.

Tree roots can also weaken the foundation of a building, especially during a drought, as it can dry the soil even further. This can be dangerous so be careful.

Roof sliding is another factor for your consideration. When trees are planted too close to your home, twigs, and leaves can start to accumulate on your roof overtime, which can cause roof sliding. In addition to that, it can also seep into the gutters, leading to blocked and non-functional gutters.

Harsh weather conditions, such as wind, snow, or ice, can enable the tree branches to fall through a window or even onto your roof. Imagine if these are worsened and end up toppling on or close to your home, how dangerous would that be? Not only would it be majorly destructive but it could also be extremely deadly. It is advisable that you keep a safe distance when planting trees near your home.

You must keep 15-20 feet distance from your home while planting. Every tree has different kinds of roots, so you need to learn about them before planting. Ask someone at your local nursery or read up on it online. If you are planting hardwood trees, make sure that they are not closer than 20 feet from your house. Softwood, on the other hand,  should be planted even further.

Mature trees require a distance of 50 feet, while the smaller ones should not be planted closer than eight feet from the foundation of the house.

If however, you find that your already planted tree is too close to your house, there’s no need to panic. There are ways that you can deal with it. One of these ways is pruning.

Possible Effects Of Planting Too Close To The House

Soil moisture levels

The moisture in the soil can vary. This is because of the levels of water in the soil that are vital for keeping the tree alive. If a tree happens to be very close to your house, it can cause major problems as the contraction and expansion of the soil could put major pressure on the foundation of your house that will cause cracks or cracks.

Settling concrete

Over time, concrete settles and thus becomes prone to cracking or shifting. If your root system is large, it can worsen the condition and state of a sidewalk or other cement foundation.

If major shifting occurs because of the roots of the tree, it can cause destabilization and ruin that area of your home or sidewalk.

Water and pests

shrubs you can plant close to your house

Tree branches, bushes and vines all carry water and pests. If they touch the sides of your house, water can leach between it and cause mold and mildew in the walls of your home.

Apart from that, pests can easily slide underneath slats and thus can create nests in your walls or ruin the house from the inside out. Thus, make sure that the bushes and trees do not touch the corners of your house. In case they are, prune them away from the house at least 6 to 12 inches.


Drainage is another essential factor when it comes to planting near your home. If you have an efficient drainage system, you will still be able to plant near your home. Good drainage will ensure zero to minimal structural deterioration and will keep your home dry and intact. There are several plants that enable water to be soaked up, so take a look at those.

Which Plants Should You Grow Near The House?

Plants that are situated within 5 to 10 feet to the base of your home should be tolerant to drought. Also, keep in mind not to plant under the eaves. Shrubs that aren’t very high when grown, such as juniper, boxwood, holly, and yew, are ideal selections for foundation plantings. These shrubs should have at least a 3-foot space in the middle of them and the house for ample air circulation.

Evergreen shrubs like cherry laurel, ligustrum,or wax myrtle can be grown in small areas. However, because they are bigger in size, they should be placed at a minimum of5 feet from the house. Part of finding an up-to-the-mark foundation plant includes choosing one that will thrive in shade too.

The evergreen foundation plants mentioned above are allequipped for areas that have little shade. Another brilliant choice is foliage perennials, like ferns and hostas. Generally, plants that are huge in size are not the appropriate choice for foundation plantings and hence should not be used for it.

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Follow these tips and they will lead you to happy plants and a happy house. You can still have them near your home if you wish to add greenery.

However, make sure that it’s not too close as you don’t want to deal with the damaging effects later. Keeping a safe distance will prevent it from hazards as well as insects and termites, which can slowly eat up your home.

Study the nature of your plants/trees before you plant them, this will guide you better about the approximate distance that you should plant them. Also important is that your plants get the required space and sunlight that they need to thrive.

If they are too close to your house, it could prevent them from getting that. Before planting, plan spacing from your home based on the foundation of your house, the type of plant/tree that you are growing, the size of the plant once it has matured or fully grown, and, of course, the landscape.