Landscaping ideas around mailbox

Plant Around a Mailbox

Annuals, perennials, tropicals and shrubbery are all candidates for mailbox plantings. You can mulch the planting bed, or create a more natural feel using stones and pebbles. Below are instructions for common mailbox plantings. Before you start planting, consider a few things:
1. Consider the mailbox area from the postal worker’s viewpoint. According to the US Postal Service:

  • Install a mailbox at a height of 41 inches to 45 inches from the ground.
  • Set the mailbox back 6 inches to 8 inches from the front face of the curb.
  • If there is no raised curb, or for placement questions, contact your local postmaster for instructions.

Also remember to avoid plants with flowers that have thorns or attract bees that can injure the postal worker or you. For any questions about mailbox placement, contact your local postmaster.

2. Consider the mailbox area from a driver’s or neighbor’s viewpoint. Make sure that plants don’t block the view of oncoming traffic when exiting a driveway. If the mailbox is adjacent to a neighbor’s box, discuss and cooperate with the neighbor.
3. Make sure the mailbox planting conforms to local ordinances or homeowners association restrictions. It’s easier to check now than to remove the plantings after a citation.
4. Verify that the mailbox planting area doesn’t have any underground sprinkler systems or utility lines. Call 811 to contact your utility company and have them identify any underground service lines.
5. Select plants that have similar light requirements — some prefer full sun and others do better in the shade. This helps to make sure your project consistently looks great all season. You can find this information on the plant tag. Popular plants include:

  • Dwarf hollies (Burford, Japanese, Chinese, Yaupon or other)
  • Clematis (aggressive climbing vine with large showy flowers that often change color)
  • Mandevilla (Brazilian Jasmine; post-climbing vine that thrives in full sun and blooms in clusters throughout spring and summer months)
  • Daylilies (large, colorful blooms with tall stocks)
  • Verbena (trailing plant that grows low to the ground with brightly colored blooms)
  • Dianthus (medium-size blooms, includes carnations and Sweet William)
  • Lantana (aromatic flower clusters with mixed colors)

6. Draw a simple plan of the mailbox area. Some things you may consider including in your plan are plant types, colors, sizes, heights and textures. This plan will guide you through the plant selection, installation and care.

Mailbox Garden Ideas: Tips For Gardening Around A Mailbox

There are many mailbox ideas drawing from specific garden schemes and personal likes. What is a mailbox garden? Mailbox garden design centers on the mailbox and the space around it. How extravagant you get is up to you but consider the size, maintenance and access to the space before you begin planting.

What is a Mailbox Garden?

Gardening around a mailbox adds curb appeal and gives your mailperson something nice to view along their route. Your personal taste will dictate if you are creating a Mediterranean, English country, desert or other themed space. Remember that plants in this location are often near the roadside and will have to contend with exhaust, chemicals, heat that radiates off the curb or sidewalk, and often dry conditions.

Mailbox gardens are more than just some plants around the box. They are an opportunity to brighten up a boring mailbox, but more than that they enhance the front yard and can be used to hide the box while tying the space into the rest of the landscaping.

Mailbox Garden Ideas

When planning the space, discard plants that have thorns, attract stinging insects or will grow rampantly over the box. Be considerate of your mail carrier. Then evaluate the space for soil type, exposure, your hardiness zone and any other pertinent factors. One of the simplest ways to brighten the mail space is with a vine, but remember to plant it behind the box and keep it pruned away from the door for easy access.

Once you have evaluated the space, the fun part comes in. Selecting your design. You may already have some perennials that need dividing or a plant that has grown too large and needs to be moved. Incorporate these with the rest of the mailbox garden design. Some ideas might be Mediterranean, desert scape, Asian garden, English flower garden, and many more.

Make sure the plants for your theme will survive and thrive in the space with minimal intervention. When installing the plants, use the tallest at the back as viewed from the front of the mailbox. This will ensure a nice view of all the plants and provide a backdrop to frame smaller flora.

Plants for Mailbox Gardens

Whether you have a small space or decide to remove some sod and make a larger area, the plants need to fit nicely. Small space plants might be ground covers, vertical plants, or annual bedding plants. In a larger garden you have more options. Some suggestions include:

You can also be very simple with some swooshy grasses or a profusion of fall and spring bulbs. If there are no power lines overhead, consider adding a lovely tree to provide shade to a weary postal carrier.

Make sure each plant selected is hardy in your zone and will get enough light and water to suit its needs. Finally, add creative touches like bird baths, yard art, wind chimes, mulches, paths, and other stamps of individuality. Gardening around a mailbox is a project that reveals your personality while also enchanting passersby.

Landscaping Around Your Mailbox

Article: Landscaping Your Mailbox

June 29, 2010

Planting around your mailbox isn’t a necessity, but if done well, it can visually change the overall look of your landscaping for the better. It can also serve as a way of getting out of mowing and weed-whacking around the post. If you have been considering landscaping around your mailbox, here are some tips for integrating the design into your existing landscape, while keeping the safety and comfort of your mail carrier in mind.

General Design Considerations

Before moving forward with landscaping plans for your mailbox, keep the following design considerations in mind:

Mail and Paper Carrier Safety: The most important element to consider when planning to landscape around your mailbox is the safety and comfort of your mail carriers. Make sure the area in front of your mailbox provides a clear path for delivery personnel and DO NOT use plants that:


  1. have thorns
  2. attract a lot of bees and other stinging insects, or
  3. obstruct the view of cars and children on bikes pulling out of nearby driveways.

Cold Climate Hazards: If you live in a cold climate and your mailbox is located near a road, leave room in your design for passing snow plows. If road salt applied near your mailbox has created a hostile environment for plants to grow in, seasonal containers or a plant box attached to the rear of your mailbox post are good alternatives.

Box and Post Design

New Mailboxes: When installing a new mailbox, shop for a color and style that matches the style and color of your house: a log post for a rustic log house; a cedar mailbox for a house with cedar siding; an ornate mailbox and post to complement a stately Victorian. From the traditional, to the contemporary, to the whimsical, there are hundreds of different styles and designs available for both wall mounted and post mounted mailboxes.


Existing Mailboxes: An easy way to spruce up an existing mailbox and post is to give them a fresh coat of paint. You might also consider adding images of animals or flowers with stencils or, for the more artistic, painting them on freehand. Another simple way to add a design element to is to attach an address plaque to the top or side of the mailbox or from the bottom of the support.

Customizing Your Own Design: If matching your mailbox to your house isn’t your thing, consider infusing your personality and style into your design by customizing it to reflect your interests. Whether you’re into dogs, birds, sports, gardening, or classic cars, a quick search of “novelty mailboxes” on the web will turn up hundreds of great ideas. Customized mailboxes are a great way to express your unique personality and interests, just remember to remain sensitive to your neighbors and stay within the limits of local postal regulations.


Construction Materials: The sturdiest mailboxes available are made of galvanized sheet-metal. If not repainted, they will begin to rust after a four or five years. Plastic mailboxes will never rust, but over time, constant exposure to the sun will eventually cause the plastic to break down and crack. Wood mailboxes will need to be repainted or re-stained every few years to keep them looking good and slow down the rate of decay. For the budget minded do-it-yourselfer, dozens of free woodworking plans are available on the Internet.

Choosing Plants

Unless you’re willing to commit a significant amount of time to maintaining your plants, the plants you choose should be based on their ability to withstand foot traffic (or car tires); dry conditions, and possibly repeated exposure to dog urine.


Plants that are too floppy might not have the right aesthetic for urban boulevards. Choose compact, upright or mounding plants that have sturdy stems. They will be well-suited to remaining upright in the wind without the need for staking.

Perennial flowers, grasses, and low-growing shrubs are best around mailboxes. They establish permanent roots that help prevent erosion by holding the soil in place year round. For pops of color mix in a few annuals, or plant them in containers or flowers boxes attached to the back of your mailbox.

Use several layers of mulch or decorative stone over landscaping fabric several or layers of wet newspaper to help conserve water and suppress weeds. Even drought-tolerant plants need to establish their roots. Water your plants regularly for the first two years.


Examples of Plants

Shrubs: Bluebeard spirea (sun/partial shade), dwarf burning bush(sun), junipers (sun/partial shade), and St. John’s wort (sun).

Ornamental grasses and Ferns: For sunny areas, grasses are a great way to provide summer and winter interest as well as movement. Make sure to set them far enough back to avoid obstructing views. For shady areas, consider ostrich ferns, which are long-lived and seldom troubled by insects of disease.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 14 June 29, 20100 found this helpful

I was all up in arms about this as we have all had to take down landscaped mailboxes due to carriers getting bitten by spiders and bees and all kinds of things. They have asked us to keep our postal boxes free of plant matter.
but then I saw your note about mail carrier safety and I felt better. We can only put low to the ground plants like mini marigolds or impatiens or periwinkles and things like that. There has to be 2 foot clearance of the box itself or they won’t deliver mail!

Reply Was this helpful? June 30, 20100 found this helpful

The other thing to think about is how careful the mail carrier is when delivering the mail. Some are busy or just in a hurry and won’t necessarily want to work around your plants.

Reply Was this helpful?

Dress up your front yard with a mailbox garden. With some hardy plants and mulch, your mailbox garden will deliver colorful blooms, perhaps even some flowers you can cut and bring inside.

Creating a mailbox garden can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.

To carve out space, you can outline with pavers or other edging material. For added appeal, pick out a new mailbox that suits your taste or perhaps one with a planter attached. Or, give your existing mailbox a fresh coat of paint to keep it looking new.

Your mailbox garden can be as simple as placing planters underneath the mailbox, which takes less than an hour. Try lightweight planters with different depths, such as the Bombe planters, above, made of a blend of natural stone, resin and fiberglass. They are watertight, weatherproof and resist damage.

Be sure to plant annuals and perennials that can take harsh conditions by the street, including the heat in summer and salt in winter. See below for suggestions.

When you visit a The Home Depot Garden Center, you’ll find many containers filled with color coordinated blooms and foliage, which will take the guesswork out of creating something from scratch. In the case of Drop-N-Blooms, just pop them into your favorite container, water regularly and enjoy.

For a fall mailbox garden, read about end of season flower superstars that could easily work in one.

For a mailbox garden with pizazz, check out these options:


Plant these low-maintenance perennials. They’re heat-tolerant and resist drought.

  • Clematis (vine shown above)
  • Sedum
  • Tickseed
  • Coneflower
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Rosemary
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Daylily
  • Hosta


Switch out these annuals for seasonal interest and color. If your mailbox garden is in a shady area, choose annuals that do well in partial or full shade. Underneath this mailbox, you can use hardy petunias in spring and summer, then switch them out for mums and pansies in fall.

  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Calibrachoa
  • Marigolds
  • Mums (find these at your local The Home Depot Garden Center)


  • 8 Hardy Plants You Can’t Kill
  • Toughen Up Your Landscape with 5 Drought Tolerant Shrubs
  • Garden Smarter When You Plant These 5 Low-Maintenance Perennials

This post may contain affiliate links. This won’t change your price, but may share some commission. Read my full disclosure here.

It figures… just as I’m contemplating moving out of my house this year, I’ve finally found flowers for the mailbox that would work for me every single year and require so little maintenance that I’ve had to do zero upkeep on them. ALL SUMMER. And they look even better now than when I first planted them.

A few months ago, I mentioned that yellow flowers are a great idea if you’re trying to sell a house. According to experts, they draw the eye better than other colors – which is, of course, a great idea if you’re wanting everyone to notice that your house is for sale. The initial idea was to see how they did around the mailbox, and then to buy more for the rest of the front of the house to tie things together.

So, I went out and bought some bright yellow marigolds, thinking that even though they aren’t at all my favorite yellow flower, they love the sun and would bloom all summer. I also noted how tall the marigolds would probably grow (12-16 inches), and decided to buy some white vinca to surround them as a way to get some varying height (shorter flowers at the perimeter, taller flowers closer to the base of the mailbox).

Or so the label said. If I remember correctly, they were supposed to grow somewhere between 8 to 12 inches tall. I wound up getting distracted with the dining room project and forgot to plant more flowers, but they seemed to be doing well enough on their own for a while. And then, seemingly overnight, this happened:

Ha. Once again, I’m a gardening idiot. Over the course of the last few months, the vinca went all Frankenstein on me and grew far beyond the height promised. Which, normally, wouldn’t be much of an issue, since they did it all by themselves for the entire summer, endured the heat, and required almost no effort on my part (aside from a little weed maintenance). Except that they dwarfed the marigolds in the middle and basically smothered them. So, I’m on par with my fourth year of planting flowers, expecting different results, and looking like a fool in front of my neighbors.

They still have my halfway finished trim to gawk at too, so the flowers may even be something they were pleased with.

The good news is, of course, that I now know which flowers really work for full sun. I’ve tried other full-sun plants and haven’t been nearly as impressed. I think part of it is the shade of the waxy vinca leaves; they always look so healthy, no matter what.

This house seems to have only two kinds of options for flowers: either the kind that love full sun, or the kind that need full shade. There aren’t many in-betweens thanks to the massive pine trees covering the back yard (and the front is basically all sun). So I’ve had to experiment, mostly with brown and scraggly results (and a handful of successes).

So now that I’ve learned at least one flower in four years for what works for this house… I dunno. Yay?

The weather is expected to start cooling off within the next month or so (and to be fair, “cooling off” here is still only about a ten degrees difference from summer), so I’ll need a new game plan for the front of the house and the overgrown area off to the side of the garage. Dad recently came over and tackled some of the taller spots, so it’s only slightly less ugly than it was about a month ago (let’s just say all of these terrible photos of my yard will make for one hell of a before and after).

The next steps will be on me to come up with a gardening scheme. And I may have found it. Last year’s makeover project for fall went really well, so I’m hoping that in the next month, I’ll have one of those gloriously overcast weekends that lets me do a lot of yard work without passing out.

Any ideas on what I should plant? I’m all ears.

(P.S. For those wondering about moving plans and such, I gave a quick update on this post, so hopefully that will answer a few questions for now.)

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy & effectiveness of the information displayed on this website, The Ugly Duckling House is for entertainment purposes only. All tutorials and demonstrations are not intended to be professional advice (nor substitute as such), and I make no guarantees as to the procedures and information here. Creating with my suggested methods, materials, and tools is under your own risk. Please ensure you are following proper guidelines with anything used, and seek professional advice if you don’t know how to do something! Read my complete disclosure here.

Looking for ways to spruce up your curb appeal? Adding a few flowers and plants is a great way to enhance the landscaping of your home with minimal effort. Since most mailboxes are mounted on a post next to the street, whatever you choose to plant needs to be extra tough. You’ll need something that can withstand the different elements each season brings as well as the harsh conditions from dust, traffic fumes, foot traffic, pets and other hindrances.

So what flowers and plants make great companions for mailbox landscaping? Here is a few top choices:

Best Annual Flowers for Around the Mailbox

There are several annual flowers that work well for around the mailbox. Some of the best choices can tolerate dry conditions, offer low maintenance and have a high tolerance for harsh road contaminants. A few good options for annuals include:

  • Petunia
  • Geranium
  • Snapdragon
  • Kalanchoe
  • Zinnia
  • Columbine
  • Dianthus
  • Portulaca
  • Impatiens
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Hardy Mum
  • Annual Salvia

Best Perennials for Around the Mailbox

Some of the best perennial flowers to place around your mailbox are ones that are long-lived and won’t need to be replaced after a few years. The perennials you plant should also grow in a way that will block out weeds and tolerate various roadside conditions such as salt, pollution and other debris.


This is one of the best roadside plants since they last nearly forever and fill in nicely.


The coneflower is a prairie native that thrives in dry conditions. They attract butterflies and although this individual plant isn’t long-lived, it may self-seed and carry on forever.


This dependable perennial is blooming in late summer with shade ranging from beet-red to dark pink.


These are exceptional plants that are tolerant of roadside salts and harsh conditions.


Ferns are a great perennial if your mailbox is in a shaded area.


These are available in both perennial and annual types and thrive in dry, sunny conditions.


Hostas are great for shady areas, but do require watering.


This is a short-lived plant, but it does self-seed so it can virtually last an eternity.


Phlox are very easy to care for and come in both upright and creeping varieties.

Good Shrubs for Around the Mailbox

Shrubs are great for planting around the mailbox and share many of the same characteristics as perennial flowers do. They are very tolerant to tough road conditions. When planting shrubs, be sure to choose varieties that are shorter in size and won’t encroach on the mailbox. A few good choices include:

  • Viburnum
  • English Yew
  • Creeping Juniper
  • Blue Star Juniper
  • Rugosa Roses
  • Potentilla
  • Dwarf Korean Lilac

Reach Up High with Vines

In addition to the ground surrounding your mailbox, the post of your mailbox is also the perfect place to grow plants such as vines. Clematis is a popular vine many homeowners choose, but if you want to stick to annuals, a morning glory will be your best option.

A Great Place for a Small Garden

The area surrounding your mailbox is an excellent place for a small garden. Having a small mailbox garden is a great way to add curb appeal and is quite easy to maintain. When creating your small mailbox garden, you’ll want to choose the right plants. If your mailbox post isn’t close to a hose or access to sprinklers, you’ll want to consider drought-tolerant plants.

When you start to create your small garden, you’ll want to consider the style of your home:

A Formal Mailbox Garden

If your home has a more formal or traditional style with columns, symmetrical windows or other architectural statement elements you’ll want a more formal mailbox garden. Consider repeating plant colors, shapes and sizes like mounded mums or roses in your small garden. A thick layer of mulch also provides a fresh, cleaner look and will help keep the soil in place whenever you water your plants.

An Informal Mailbox Garden

For a more informal mailbox garden, you’ll want to go with plants that add personality with pops of color. Consider a combination of hot pink petunias, orange and yellow kalanchoes and sunny marigolds.

If you have taller flowers, plant them next to the mailbox post and the shorter ones along the border so they aren’t overshadowed. If your mailbox is in the shade, consider planting coleus, impatiens, lobelia, balsam or hostas. If your mailbox is in a sunny location, consider vincas, celosia, begonias and dwarf zinnias.

Go All Out

As with any garden, you want to be sure the flowers and plants you decide to plant around your mailbox reflect your unique style and personality. Don’t be afraid to go all out and pack in the plants that you love the most or that boast a variety of colors.

A front yard full of flowers can actually take less time to maintain opposed to a larger yard which needs weekly mowing. Select a variety of plants that are suited to your climate and can withstand the roadside conditions.

While you’re at it, take a look at your mailbox and see if it needs a little updating. Could it use a fresh coat of paint? How does the post look? What about a new set of numbers? You honestly can’t go wrong by adding beautiful flowers and plants around your mailbox. You most likely visit your mailbox more times than any other area of your yard, so take good care of it and make it a beautiful destination site you can enjoy all year around.

If you’ve read our article on beautifying your curb with a mailbox garden, you’re probably already sorting out your style. The next step is to decide what to grow.

Factors to keep in mind when choosing a mailbox garden:

A good mailbox garden is one that adds curb appeal, without making life hard on your friendly neighborhood postal worker. Plants located directly around your mailbox need to be compact enough that they don’t get in the way of mail deliveries, or altogether obscure the box. While you can use shrubs as a backdrop to your box, most are too bulky to place directly next to — or in front of — the post. Even some flowers may grow so tall as to interfere with the box.

Using our plant guide, look for plants plants that grow mostly up, rather than out, and that stand no more than 2 feet tall at adulthood. If you decide to hide an unattractive post by training a climbing vine, be ready to trim it back any time it threatens to overtake your box. A slow-growing variety may take longer to train, but will require less maintenance in the long run.


Size is not the only factor that may be of concern to your friendly postal worker. You may be tempted to beautify your mailbox with some less than friendly plants. If you plant roses or vines, look for the variety with the least thorns. Be sure to also avoid plants with sharp edges — like palmetto — or cactus-like spines. Finally, some plants are so closely linked to common allergies that it’s best to avoid growing them on surfaces that people are likely to touch on a daily basis.


Chances are, any plant you situate by the curb is going to receive a lot of sunlight. But maybe you live on one of those prosaic tree-lined avenues that keep the sidewalk cool and shady. Before you plant anything, maybe you should make a note to keep an eye on your mailbox for a few days to see just how much shade or sun it gets.

Once you’ve worked that out, you can choose plants that best suit your environment. For shady streets, try impatiens or a splashy coleus. For full sun, petunias or a bright verbena will do better.


If you’re blessed with a big tract of land, a long lawn may stand between your mailbox and the nearest garden hose. Rather than lug a watering can down the walk every time your mailbox garden looks a little peaked, the smart thing to do is plant drought-tolerant varieties that can stick it out until the next rain.

Sedum is a stalwart sort with many attractive varieties. To add a vibrant tuft of color, include lantana or amaranth.

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