When you are thinking of landscaping your yard, you may immediately think of annual and perennial flowers. However, a great way to fill out your landscape is to choose a shrub. Shrubs and bushes come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes to meet the needs of every garden. By picking the right ones, you can ensure that your yard is as beautiful as you want it to be.
Think About Shrub Size
Choosing the right size for your landscaping shrubs will take a lot of thought. There are factors to consider such as placement in the garden, and proximity to other plants. You want to make sure to plant shrubs that you can handle, and one that will complement your other landscape flowers and trees.
Shrub Placement in the Yard
Shrubs can be planted for different functions, and size is important in placement. If you have a slope that you want to plant for aesthetics or for erosion control, then a low growing variety like juniper is a good idea. They will fill in the slope after a few years. Larger shrubs can be planted near the home for climate control in summer and winter. Use small to medium shrubs to accent pools, patios and walkways.
Shrub Proximity to Other Plants
Some shrubs can grow to ten feet or more, and depending on where they are planted, can shade other parts of the landscape that may require full sun. If putting in close to other plants, consider planting larger shrubs on the northeast side of the landscape. Smaller shrubs are a good bet if you are concerned about sun exposure.
Colors are one of the greatest benefits of shrubbery in the home landscape. There are so many colors and varieties that there is one for every season. These shrubs will add flair to your garden that may be longer lasting than flowers and trees. Evergreens even come in a variety of shades that will give interest to your yard. Beautiful flowering shrubs can add colors from white, to red, to blue, and every color in between. Think about seasonal color when planting. Shrubs that produce colorful berries in the winter, such as holly are available, and not only add color, but also feed birds and small animals in the garden. Azaleas and rhododendrons produce fabulous blooms in the spring, and are some of the first to produce color after a long winter.
Climate for Shrubs
Some shrubs are better suited to different growing conditions. In the south and southwest, heat and drought tolerant shrubs such as boxwood and spirea are good choices. In the north and east, it makes sense for you to plant cold tolerant bushes such as arborvitae and blueberry. Salinity is another climate precipitated problem that needs to be considered. In beach areas, and in cold climates where salt is applied for snow and ice control, it is important to consider shrubs that can tolerate these conditions. These include bayberry, snowberry and lilac.
Popular Shrub Choices
It can be hard to sort out the choices between the hundreds of landscaping shrubs available. Some popular choices are those that are fast growing, colorful, and long lasting. The forsythia has bright yellow flowers, and can grow to be up to ten feet high. It is a good choice for defining boundaries in the yard. The hydrangea is possibly one of the most beautiful shrubs in the yard. Flowers range anywhere in color from pink to blue depending upon the acidity in the soil. If you want to attract butterflies to your yard, try butterfly bushes, and create a natural fence with a line of arborvitae.
Whatever you choose, shrubbery should be considered in every landscape. They add interest because of their size and color, and will last for a long time in the yard. You will find yourself enjoying your shrubs year after year.
Want to learn more about how to choose landscaping shrubs?
Check out these helpful websites from university extension centers:
Fitting Trees and Shrubs into the Landscape from University of Minnesota Extension
Spreadsheet Tool for Selecting Shrubs for Your Home from University of Illinois Extension
Selecting Landscape Plants: Deciduous Shrubs from University of Missouri Extension