In this article we wanted to talk to you about the best landscaping shrubs and bushes for your garden.
As you know gardens consists of more than just flowers. A well-designed garden space includes a variety of plants including annuals, perennials, maybe an ornamental tree or two, possibly hardscapes such as bird baths or water fountains, and finally, shrubs and bushes.
It's important to include shrubs in your Gardens because they fill out a space with large and decorative plants.
I'm sure this is no secret to you.
If you've seen the hundreds of landscape photos online, you've probably seen many creative ways to use bushes in your landscape.
They can be used as hedges, to provide color by flowering and give you a wide variety of textures and colors because of the sheer number of varieties of shrubs.
There is nothing better than seeing a garden space filled with varieties of landscaping shrubs and bushes that assault the senses. The right shrubs combined with other plants can do that.
Choosing The Best Landscaping Shrubs And Bushes To Use In Your Gardens
The best landscaping shrubs and bushes for your garden space is primarily determined by its location. In addition you have a say in the matter as well. Your choice depends on not only what you like, but how well each one blends in with the entire garden.
If you're new to gardening, it might be wise to start with shrubs that are commonly used and are easy to grow with little fuss.
We all have our favorites and you might have some in mind as well - so starting there is a good idea.
That being said, it's helpful to know there are different types of shrubs you can choose - each providing a different texture, color of foliage, and size ranges. Let's talk about some of those now.
Evergreen Vs Deciduous Shrubs
Two classifications of shrubs you should be looking at include evergreens and deciduous. Each have their place in the garden. Let's find out more.
Evergreen Shrubs - Your Answer To The Winter Doldrums:
Evergreen shrubs can be broadleaf or conifers. Although most (if not all) conifers are trees, some grow small and therefore, are the size of shrubs so they are definitely worth considering here. Read more about broadleaf and conifers and the differences by reading this article on ornamentals HERE.
We always like to include some evergreen shrubs in our installations for clients. This is because we like the idea of having the green foliage staying on the plants during the winter. It really helps a garden’s overall look during the off season when everything else has died or is brown.
Most evergreen bushes require full or partial sun. In these conditions they will grow healthy and tall.
However most will grow in less-than-ideal conditions too. They just might not grow as full, or bushes with colored foliage such as “gold thread cypress” or “barberries” might stay mostly green in partial or full shade instead of showing off their full colors.
We've even grown holly trees in a fully shaded wooded area and they still grow - although not as full or as tall - but survive they do none the less.
If you have a garden that's in full shade try some out. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Example Of Gold Thread Cypress
Example Of Rhododendron In Winter - Not Blooming
Deciduous Shrubs - Advantages You Can See:
If it's a good thing to include evergreen shrubs in your garden because you want the green color in the winter, then why would you choose deciduous shrubs?
Two reasons: variety and flowers.
Although there are evergreen shrubs that flower such as “rhododendrons,” there are probably more deciduous shrubs that flower.
Some flowering deciduous shrubs include “azaleas,” “hydrangeas,” “weigelia,” spirea,” and “forsythia.”
Shocking Pink Azalea Is A Pretty Garden Addition
The Absolutely Gorgeous Bridal Wreath Spirea. Isn't It Fantastic?!
Yes, deciduous shrubs lose their leaves but the flowers make them worth including. Plus if you also have some evergreen shrubs, then it won't matter that some will be losing their leaves. This is just more variety for your garden.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind that even the bark of deciduous shrubs makes a statement during the winter.
You can of course, also include deciduous shrubs that don't flower for even more variety. Two examples include the "burning bush" and "viburnum," which are two of the more common varieties.
Flowering Shrubs Will Give You Color
As we mentioned in the previous section, you should try to include some flowering shrubs as well. Even better, spring-flowering shrubs give a pop of color and make a statement that warmer weather has arrived and the cold winter season is finally over.
It's a great feeling when you see forsythia’s bright yellows pop-out or azaleas putting out their bright day-glo colors of bright purple!
The Best Shrubs For Hedges
The best shrubs for hedges are usually, but not always, evergreen. No surprise there.
What may surprise you though is that hedges are not plants that grow in a hedge shape. No, not at all. Hedges are made up of individual plants that when growing together form a mass that has been sheared into a hedge.
If you look underneath the hedge at at the ground, you'll see the individual plants and where they are planted.
The most common plant used for hedges is the boxwood (English boxwood). Have a look at photos of formal English gardens and you'll see the hedges that are a part of the landscape They are more than likely boxwoods.
Heck, even the movie The Shining had a hedge maze included in it. Remember the chase through the hedge maze? Those were probably boxwoods as well, although it's been awhile since I've seen that movie and I really don't remember for sure.
Other landscaping shrubs and bushes can be used for hedges as well, some evergreen and some not. Common examples include burning bushes. hollies and barberries, the later of which have thorns and because of that, are good for privacy and keeping out unwanted critters.
Planting Your Shrubs For Maximum Impact
Following the rule of odds, unless you're planting shrubs that will grow into a hedge, you should include odd numbers of shrubs, spacing them out so they have room to grow and will not crowd themselves out.
If the plant tag says a shrub grows to 3 ft wide then ideally you should plant them 6 feet apart. However there is an exception to this.
We do not usually follow this guideline perfectly because generally, the shrubs we are planting are fairly small and planting them at the proper distance would mean the garden would seem too empty at the beginning.
What we would do in this case is plant them three feet apart and keep them trimmed so they don't get too big. Another factor to consider is how fast they grow. The faster they are expected to grow the further apart can plant them because we know the garden will fill in quickly - likely in a few years.
Using this method, eventually they may grow together. However, it will be quite a while before this happens and in the interim the garden will seem full and planted out well. In our opinion it's worth the trade-off.
The above image shows the grouping and spacing of shrubs perfectly. You'll notice the green shrubs, the japanese hollies, only show 4. There are actually 5 in that garden too but the 5th one is blocked by a tree on the right and out of the frame. The light shrubs are goshiki hollies - a varigated and light colored leaf variety.
For details on how to actually plant the shrubs click here to read this article.
What Are The Best Landscaping Shrubs And Bushes For You?
If you want to know some of the best landscaping shrubs and bushes for you it's simply a matter of determining where they will be planted, the plant's light requirements, and how they will look in your garden when combined with other plants and elements.
Plus, you just need to go with something you like. That's the ultimate choice. You'll of course need to like what you choose for whatever reasons you have.
Go out, browse your local garden center, get ideas of the different types of shrubs, design your garden and get to planting.
To learn about other plants to use in your gardens, such as annuals, perennials, and ornamental trees, visit our PLANT GUIDE.
December 23, 2020
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May 21, 2021
It was quite interesting when you explained how shrubs work and how they can be turned into hedges. This low-maintenance source of greenery could work for our yard since we have a lot of unused open space and I’m not the kind of person who has enough time to take care of delicate flowers. I’ll start looking for any landscaping experts in the area that can help me start growing these lovely shrubs right away.
June 16, 2022
My friend is looking for a way to create a unique landscape that he could brag to his relatives when they visit. I never knew that creating a nice combination of plants and shrubs can give your garden a natural appeal boost. I’ll suggest that we look around for a landscape company that can help him with this someday.
September 30, 2022
Your explanation is organized very easy to understand!!! I understood at once. Could you please post about totosite ?? Please!!