The best plants for near a driveway should be low-growing, not spreading and hardy. Plants shouldn't be tall enough to interfere with parking or opening vehicle doors. Spreading plants can grow into the driveway, and plants beside driveways should also be hardy enough to handle low nutrients and occasional foot traffic.
Trees planted beside a driveway can be a great way to provide shade for vehicles and people. However, trees should be planted far enough away from the driveway that the root systems don't disturb the surface. When purchasing trees, ask at the nursery what the diameter of the root system will be in mature trees and plant at least half this distance from the edge of the driveway. If trees will border the driveway, choose trees that won't drop leaves, pollen or seed pods on cars.
In general, shrubs that will be planted bordering a drive should grow low to the ground and not grow outward in what is called a spreading growth habit. Spreading plants like vines or weeping shrubs will grow into the driveway and get damaged by car tires. Small herbaceous shrubs like rosemary are a good choice. Traditional shrubs such as boxwood or shrub roses can also be good plants to border a driveway.
Groundcover plants without a spreading growth habit can also be a good choice for planting beside a driveway. Some ground covers that work well near drives are sedum, sage and lamb's ear. Be careful to choose plants that don't have creeping or spreading in their name because these plants can take over a driveway. Ornamental grasses are generally hardy, low-growing and provide visual interest beside a driveway.
Low-growing annual flowers that don't require too much maintenance are a good choice for flower beds bordering a driveway. Flowers of this type include dahlias, zinnia, marigolds, geraniums and phlox. Flowering herbs such as lavender, flowering tobacco and sage can also be excellent choices.
Focal Point Plants
Homeowners can also choose two matching taller plants for placing at the end of a driveway to mark the entry to the house. These plants add a focal point to the landscape in front of a house and mark the end of the drive for visitors. Flowering shrubs, small evergreens or showy flowers can be excellent focal point plants, either in pots or planted in the ground.
As a writing tutor since 2007, Amanda Gaddis has experience in explaining complex subjects simply. She is excited to write articles on education and literature. Gaddis holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stephen F. Austin State University, and had her creative writing published in their literary magazine.