Skip to Main Content
Planting Guide

Virginia Planting Guide: Where & What to Plant in Your Yard

Planting guide for Virginia and Maryland homeowners to help you choose trees and shrubs and where to plant them in your yard to avoid root damage to your home’s foundation.

Schedule Free Inspection

Improve Curb Appeal With the Right Trees and Bushes for Yards in Virginia and Maryland

Whether you live in Baltimore, Richmond, or Virginia Beach, one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the “sellability” of your home is by enhancing its curb appeal. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Making improvements to your home’s exterior helps add value and attracts buyers. 

Landscaping is a quick way to improve curb appeal. But before you run to the store to buy trees and bushes for your yard, do your research and choose the varieties that grow best in your area. To provide further insight, we’ve also prepared helpful advice on the plants and trees to avoid in Maryland and in Virginia

Planting Guide JES

Choose These Common Trees When Planting in Maryland and Virginia

You’ve heard “eat local” before. Well, it’s time to plant local. If you live in Maryland or Virginia, you will see some of these common trees for purchase at local nurseries and home improvement stores. They are smaller tree varieties, ranging from 12 to 35 feet tall when fully grown. Some of the trees that grow best in the area are crabapple, flowering dogwood, white fringe tree, hawthorn, American holly, and the pawpaw.

Crabapples are flowering trees that can be planted in many types of yards, including urban landscapes. The flowering dogwood is a good food source for songbirds like cardinals and robins and should be planted in well-drained soil. The hawthorn grows dense and thorny, so it is best used for borders around a yard. It also offers a good place for birds to build their nests. The American holly attracts birds and small mammals. It is best planted in small groups.

The pawpaw is a small tree that grows well in shady conditions and produces fruit that attracts a variety of wildlife. Its leaves turn deep red in the fall. If you’re looking for new landscaping that does not attract wildlife to your yard, the white fringe tree is a good option. It is best planted in groups or near, but not too close to, large buildings in moist soil conditions.

Protect Your Home’s Foundation

While you’re improving your home’s curb appeal, you don’t want to cause new problems. That’s why it’s important to research the type of trees, shrubs, and plants offered in your area before you add them to your lawn.

Roots from trees with invasive root structures can damage a home’s foundation over time or crack driveways and concrete walkways. Some of the types of trees to stay away from are hardwoods, including oaks and elm trees, willows, honey locusts, and silver maples. While it can take a long time for trees to grow, their roots are growing unseen underground. To protect your home from root damage, make sure you choose wisely.

Picking the Right Bushes To Plant in Virginia and Maryland

If you’re looking to improve curb appeal with new bushes and shrubs, check out several common varieties that grow well in both states. Each of these plants is known for its disease- and insect-free qualities: William Penn barberry, buttonbush, sweet pepperbush, Tatarian dogwood, border forsythia, dwarf fothergilla, smooth hydrangea, and Chinese holly. These bushes provide different types of flowers along with changing leaf colors throughout the year. This adds color and variety to your yard and improves curb appeal.

How Far Apart Should I Plant My Trees and Bushes?

Once you’ve chosen the right trees and bushes to plant in your yard, make sure you do the necessary research before planting to determine where they’ll grow best. Each type of tree and bush will grow to a different height and width during its lifetime. To protect the long-term health of your new trees and bushes, you’ll need to plant them far enough apart to grow and flourish.

Sun vs. Shade: What’s Best?

If you’ve ever killed a plant by giving it too much or too little sun or water, you know that different plants need different conditions to thrive. It’s the same for the trees and bushes you’ve selected for your yard. Some grow best in full sun, some in shady conditions, and some are robust enough to thrive just about anywhere.

The pawpaw tree grows best in shady conditions, so you’ll want to plant it close to other trees or in a portion of your yard that doesn’t get full, direct sunlight for most of the day. The trees that do best in sunnier conditions are crabapple, flowering dogwood, white fringe tree, hawthorn, American holly, and border forsythia.

Seek Help With Foundation Issues

Even if you’ve been careful in choosing your landscaping options or you suspect an old tree’s roots could be impacting your foundation, it’s important to address any issues that could affect the structure of your home. The experts at JES can complete a thorough evaluation of your foundation and recommend customized repair solutions. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate.

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

JES Foundation Repair service area map of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Our Locations


8361 Town Center Ct
Nottingham, MD 21236


311 Central Rd.
Suite 2-02
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Hampton Roads & NE NC

2569 Quality Ct
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

Northern VA & DC

7940 Gainsford Ct.
Bristow, VA 20136


309 Quarles Rd
Ashland, VA 23005

Southwest Virginia / Roanoke

2033 Cook Dr.
Salem, VA 24153

Western Virginia

456 Old Courthouse Rd
Appomattox, VA 24522


45 W Boscawen St,
Winchester, VA 22601