Keep in mind the fact that foundation plantings “wear out” much as do the clothes we wear. Do not be disappointed at the looks of some plants after 10 or 15 years.
Instead of trying to shear them down into so many inverted ice cream cones or spheres or flat topped cylinders, you should be willing to tear them out and put in a new planting that will last another 10 or 15 years.
In plants, as in everything else, there is good and inferior quality material, and the latter will not save you money in the long run. It grows quickly and you pay less for it in the beginning; but it requires a lot of care over the years, and it never really becomes attractive. Moreover, because it overgrows the place quickly, an inferior quality planting cannot be expected to last much more than 6 to 8 years.
On the other hand, plants of good quality look more attractive as long as they are in place and often such a planting will last for 20 or even 30 years. So take your choice. It is your money and your landscape.
Front Elevation Sketch
It is a good idea to make a front elevation sketch of your foundation planting ideas before you decide on a final plan. You do not have to be an artist to do this; it is simply a question of drawing straight lines that will represent solid masses. This shows how this can be done without knowing about the plant which you will eventually decide to use. Here, as in our discussion on how to purchase trees, it is important to figure out first the areas to be filled with plants. Later on you can decide what plants to use. The sooner you acquire skill in using your imagination to picture masses of foliage, the sooner your landscape designing efforts will take on professional tone.