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Plant Around a Mailbox

mailbox post with flowers

Improve your home’s curb appeal by enhancing the area around your mailbox. It’s a great way to accentuate your landscape.

Tools & Materials

Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.

Preparation for Your Mailbox Planting

Mailbox blocking the view on traffic

Popular mailbox plants include annuals, perennials, tropicals and shrubbery. 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 US Postal Service regulations (usps.gov, Domestic Mail Manual 508.3.2), mailboxes must be:

  • Installed at a height of 41inches to 45 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox door
  • Set back 6 inches to 8 inches from the front face of the curb or road edge to the mailbox door
  • Avoid plants with flowers that have thorns or attract bees that can injure the postal worker or you

2. Consider the mailbox area from a driver’s or neighbor’s viewpoint. Make sure that plants don't block the view of on-coming 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. Most authorities have few or no restrictions, but it is 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.

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.

Before beginning any excavation, check for underground utilities. Call the North America One Call Referral Service at 1-888-258-0808 (or just dial 811) for a national directory of utility companies.

Add Plants to Your Mailbox

Plant lay out

Step 1

Lay out an outline of your bed with a garden hose or rope.

Step 2

Use a shovel to cut the outline of the mailbox planting area from the grass. Remove the grass sod.

Step 3

Break up the soil in the mailbox planting area with a spade (pointed) shovel or small tiller / cultivator.

Step 4

Test the soil pH and add proper amendments for the types of plants you are planting. For any type of soil, mixing in some compost rich in nutrients will give plants a healthier start.

Step 5

Cut and install landscape fabric over the mailbox planting area to help control weeds.

Secure the landscape fabric at overlapping seams by using landscape fabric staples to connect the pieces. This will prevent the fabric from shifting while you work in the area.

Step 6

Place the selected plants at their approximate location per the plans and make any needed adjustments.

Step 7

If you’re installing a trellis or other decorative feature, it’s typically best to do so before planting, in case you have to make adjustments.

Step 8

Cut a hole in the fabric where you want each plant to be and dig a hole 2 -3 inches deeper and wider than the pots they are in.

You can either cut and dig holes for all plants at once or individually as you work around the bed. Start with the plants closest to the mailbox post and work toward the edge for easier planting.

Step 9

Add a layer of enriched soil in the bottom of each hole.

Step 10

Hold the plant by the stem and tap around the outside of the pot to loosen the soil.

Step 11

Gently remove the plant from the pot, loosen the roots to allow them to grow apart and place the plant in the hole.

Step 12

Fill the hole in with enriched soil.

Step 13

If the plant is a climbing vine, carefully tie the plant to the mailbox post or trellis. Some plants can be woven through the trellis to help direct their growth pattern.

Step 14

Continue planting all plants and flowers in the mailbox area. 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)

Step 15

Cover the mailbox planting area with mulch, gravel or rock. Mulch helps retain moisture and keep the weeds down. Gravel and rock are popular in drier climates.

Step 16

Water all plants daily for the first week.

Step 17

Once established, water the plants a few times a week as recommended by the plant tag.

Two Bags or Three?