Shrubs provide landscape interest in a yard by enhancing an entrance or giving the dwelling a focus point. A grouping of shrubs at the front corner of a house ties it in, making the landscape and building one cohesive unit. Use tall shrubs at the sides of large entrances and at corners. Medium-size shrubs fill in under windows and low-growing shrubs give emphasis to walkways. Flowering shrubs add to the landscape's color. Plant shrubs in groups of three to five. Position taller ones in the back and low growing to the front.
Evergreen shrubs, such as pine, have long or short needles, hollies have prickly leaves and other evergreens have fanlike or individual green-to-yellow leaves that keep color all year. Arborvitae varieties start at 4 to 6 feet tall and go to 15 feet. They have gold-to-green foliage and prefer full sun to partial shade. Holly has green-, blue- or cream-variegated leaves, and produce red and white berries. Holly grows 3 to 5 feet tall with some types going more than two stories high. Holly prefers full sun with shade in the afternoon. Junipers have green or blue foliage and grow 8 to 10 feet high in full sun. Privet is used as a hedge because of its dense foliage, but they are attractive in the front yard when clipped as topiary. They grow up to 12 feet high with green foliage.
Flowering shrubs include the common rhododendron and azaleas, but there are many others. When planted near windows, the fragrance extends indoors. Camilla shrubs prefer full sun with shade in the afternoon. Its foliage is green with flowers ranging to red, pink and white, which bloom either spring or fall. Hydrangeas produce puffballs of white, pink or blue flowers with large, green leaves. Lilacs grow 9 feet tall at most with green leaves and cascading clusters of purple, pink or white flowers. Mock orange grows to 7 feet with spring blooming white flowers. Spirea likes full sun and grows to 7 feet with white, fragrant flowers. Some varieties have gold foliage. Viburnum also has white fragrant flowers and brightly colored berries.
Deciduous shrubs lose leaves in fall after they turn vibrant colors. Their branches add to the winter landscape. Red twig and yellow twig dogwood are shrubs growing 5 to 6 feet tall with branches that stay their vivid colors in winter. Euonymus shrubs have small, green-to-yellow leaves that leave a fan of twigs in winter after they fall.
Low Growing Shrubs
Boxwood, also an evergreen, grows 2 to 5 feet tall. When grown closely together and pruned as a hedge, boxwood makes good borders or walkway liners. Some hollies grow very low and work on sides of walkways. Evergreen creeping junipers and yews fill in areas, as they only grow a few feet high.