The Q&A Archives: Foundation Plantings Affected By House Heat/dryer Vents

Question: We have a garden next to the foundation of our home that receives full afternoon sun. In this garden we currently have a mix of ground cover and day lilies, and last summer we planted two cap yews at the widest points of the garden. However, over the fall/winter/spring, the cap yew and the ground cover next to the vents for the hot water heater/dryer/furnace died. What could we plant that would tolerate the heat/moisture that is expelled from the house (keeping in mind that we like to keep our gardens looking more natural than ornamental), or what type of "gadgets" might be available that would redirect the heat upward instead of outward into our garden? Thank you!

Answer: In my experience, yews can be planted next to but not directly in front of a drier vent, so I am not certain that the vent was entirely the cause of the yews' death. Fall planted evergreens often have a difficult time becoming established, so a spring planting might have better results. Another plant to consider might be the ornamental grasses which could be cut down in the fall, and using a trellis covered with a vine to screen the view of the vent. If the trellis is mounted some distance away from the building, it will allow the air to circulate freely behind it and not directly on the plants. A vien to consider for an afternoon sun location would be the fall blooming sweet autumn clematis, trumpet vine, or one of the native honeysuckles, for instance.

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