Looking for some interesting, low-maintenance plants to incorporate into a new landscape design? Or, to spice up your curb appeal? There’s no better place to start than with shrubs.
Shrubs can also protect the foundation of your home and other structures with their dense root systems. So, making the right choice is important.
I know, wading through all the options seems daunting. With everything from evergreen shrubs to deciduous ornamentals, how do you stay afloat?
Allow me to take you on a gentle cruise through the best shrubs for front yards and gardens.
- Evergreen Shrubs For Front of House
- Small Shrubs for The Front Of Your Home
- Low Growing Bushes For Front of House
- Front Yard Flowering Shrubs And Bushes
- Ornamental Front Yard Shrubs
- Hedges For Front of House
- Considerations When Landscaping With Bushes
- Best Shrubs For Front Yard Final Thoughts
Evergreen Shrubs For Front of House
Evergreens are essential components of effective landscape design. Offering year-round color and texture, while providing food and shelter for local wildlife.
Below, take a look at my top three picks for front-yard evergreen shrubs. Complete with low-maintenance features, unique characteristics, and growing habits.
To narrow down the best shrub option for your particular space, as you read through them, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of this shrub? (Functional or ornamental)
- What sort of shrub do I want? (Evergreen or Deciduous)
- How do I want it to look? (texture, color, etc.)
- Will it fit my space? (Maturity size)
Sunshine Ligustrum Shrub
These fast-growing mounds of sunshine mature to 4ft around and can grow 2ft, in one season. Filling in your borders and becoming cost-effective choices, with equal speed, in zones 6-10.
Partial sun and well-draining soil (with a pH of 6.0 – 8.0) will encourage vibrant color and robust growth.
These brightly-hued yellow bushes present sturdy, upright branches cloaked in small, golden-chartreuse leaves. In fertile soil, small, white flowers appear, in summer, that become purple, ornamental berries, in autumn.
Water when surface soil dries to 1- 3” down. Slow-release fertilizer granules can be applied, in spring, when needed. Pruning is only necessary to remove damaged branches.
Blue Star Juniper Shrub
(Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)
This glowing Juniper has a slow growth rate (1ft every 5 years), reaching only 2-3ft tall and wide, at maturity, in zones 4-8.
In full sun and sandy soil, with a 5.0-8.0 pH, this small, shimmering shrub will contribute color, exciting texture, and very low-maintenance form to any landscape style.
Sparkling blue pines on short, out-stretched arms, create striking contrast in borders and rock gardens. Blue Star Junipers also work well for erosion control or as foundation plantings.
Water your Blue Star Juniper when it’s dry down to 2”. Fertilize in late winter or early spring with a 10-10-10 NPK. Pruning is seldom needed.
Dwarf Hinoki Cypress Shrub
(Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’)
Despite its name, the dwarf Hinoki still matures to 6ft by 4ft, at a rate of 6”, per year. Making it an excellent choice for low-maintenance privacy hedges or foundation plantings, in zones 4-8.
Full-to-partial sun and well-draining soil, with a 5.0-6.0 pH, will cultivate healthy form and growth.
Mature, hunter-green spikes, with a braided appearance, blend beautifully with new, light-green ones. All grow in soft sprays along upright branches, providing color and appeal in any size spot.
Water when the soil feels dry down 2”. Fertilize in year two after planting, for robust growth and root formation. Pruning is only needed to maintain the desired form.
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Small Shrubs for The Front Of Your Home
Perhaps you have some empty planter boxes just begging for something pretty. Or an eye-sore AC unit that needs a make-over.
As we’ve seen, brilliant color doesn’t always come from flowers. But, with the next three shrub examples, it does. It was dazzling the imagination and provided food for thought.
Endless Summer Pop Star Bigleaf Hydrangea
(Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmacsix”)
Pop Star Hydrangeas grow 4’ tall and wide. Yet, it can be pruned to remain short. Old wood buds provide early-season color, with buds on new growth typically blooming six weeks later, in zones 4-9.
Pop Stars grow best in the dappled sunlight beneath large trees. Soil should be acidic, well-draining, and moist.
Given their versatility, these prolific bloomers can be planted under trees, in planter boxes and pots, or along walkways. If you like pink flowers, raise the soil pH. For blue or purple, just lower it.
Water with an inch of water each week, including rainfall. Fertilize once in mid-summer and prune in spring to remove browned branch tips.
Variegated Boxwood Shrub
(Buxus sempervirens ‘Aureo-variegata’)
The sparkling variegation on each tiny leaf gives this boxwood variety a stunning presence in front yard landscapes. Its dense, rounded growth habit won’t extend beyond 5’ in any direction and is usually sculpted to remain small. Fluid patterns are most prominent when planted in filtered sunlight and well-draining soil with a 5.5-7.2 pH, in zones 6-8.
The evergreen Aureo-Variegata presents small, dark-to-medium green leaves with eye-catching patterns of white, cream, and yellow that enhance dimension and visual effect.
Water to maintain moist (but not soggy) soil. Fertilize with a 10-10-10 NPK, in spring. Prune to your desired shape before new growth in spring.
New Love Clematis Shrub
Have you ever seen a shrubby clematis? The fledgling New Love slowly matures to 3ft by 2ft, in zones 3-9.
In full/partial sun and cool, moist soil, with a 6.0-7.0 pH, this plant will erupt with clusters of curly flowers.
This remarkable Clematis has a mounded growing habit that adds rich color and form to perennial borders. Star-shaped, indigo blossoms have slender, curled petals with a subtle fragrance and bloom from summer through early fall.
Water when the soil is dry down 2 to 3”. Well-aged compost can be added to the planting hole, for nutrients. Prune after blooming for shaping and fuller blooming the next season.
Low Growing Bushes For Front of House
The category of “low-growing bushes” encompasses those with fragrant flowers and deciduous foliage to cold-hardy, vibrant evergreens.
These next three can be placed to function as lovely foundation plantings or pruned a bit to act as creeping, ground covers. They can even be added to container combinations as the “thriller” component.
Some display their versatility by cascading down over rock gardens and window boxes. Others are slow-growing and very low-maintenance. Yet, still provide stunning visual interest.
Snow-N-Summer Asiatic Jasmine Shrub
(Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘HOSNS’)
This spectacular ground cover reaches 18” tall by 3’ wide. Typically growing 12” per year, in zones 7-9.
The Snow-n-Summer jasmine produces vibrant color and robust growth in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-draining soils with a 5.5 pH.
This unique Jasmine cultivar sprouts pink leaves that fade to pure white, before maturing with variegated patterns of cream and green. Summer brings the addition of fragrant, white flowers.
Water when the soil is dry down 3”. Fertilize with a slow-release, triple 10 NPK in spring. Pruning is only needed to remove damaged vines and branches.
Purple Daydream Dwarf Loropetalum
(Loropetalum chinense ‘PIILC-III’ PP25471)
This dwarf, weeping shrub matures to a petite 1- 2’ tall by 4-5’ wide, at a moderate rate of 6-12”, per year, in zones 7-10.
The color is deeper and more vibrant when planted in full sun/light shade and loamy, acidic soil with a 4.5-6.5 pH.
This petite bloomer shines the color of a dark, moonlit night. Purple foliage releases pink fringe flowers, in spring. Drought-tolerant and deer resistant, these are appealing additions to pots and borders.
Water Loropetalum thoroughly, once or twice a week, until maturity. Fertilize after blooming with an 8-8-8 NPK. Pruning is only necessary to maintain the desired shape, after flowering.
Green Mound Juniper
(Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’)
The cutest, little evergreen you’ll ever see is Nana Juniper. Growing to just 8-12” tall, this can spread to 4.5ft, making it a wonderful ground cover, in zones 4-9.
A lovely, mounding growth habit develops when planted in full sun and moist, well-draining soil with a 5.0-7.0 pH.
The green mound juniper radiates clustered plumes of spiky, blue-green needles around long, trailing branches. Color holds firm, year-round, taking on a purple hue in sub-zero temperatures.
Fairly drought-tolerant, the Green Mound Juniper requires regular watering for healthy growth. Fertilize in early spring and mid-fall with a granular shrub fertilizer. Pruning isn’t necessary due to its slow growth rate.
Front Yard Flowering Shrubs And Bushes
Flowering shrubs support a gentle flow from season to season. Especially when you choose ones for your front yard that flower in different seasons. For example:
Arnold Promise Witch hazel – blooms early spring to mid-summer
August Beauty Gardenia – bloom mid-spring to mid-summer
Peaches & Cream Honeysuckle Vine – bloom mid-summer to fall
Yuletide Camellia – late fall to early spring
Of course, there are many flowering shrubs that you can choose from that will create a continuous, seasonal show. Let’s take a look at three that fit that bill, perfectly.
August Beauty Gardenia Shrub
(Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’)
This mid-spring bloomer works well as a privacy shrub, maturing to a substantial 5’ tall by 3’ wide, at a moderate growth rate of 1-2’ per year, in zones 8-11.
Prolific blooming and vigorous growth occur in full sun/light shade and fertile, acidic soil with a 5.0-6.0 pH.
The August Beauty Gardenia produces highly perfumed, double-petaled, white blooms amid densely growing, tear-drop leaves in a contrasting dark green.
Water weekly or when the soil is dry to 2” down. Fertilize from April-November with a high-nitrogen gardenia NPK. Prune after blooming to dead-head spent flowers, improve air circulation, and remove any damaged branches.
(Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’)
At a rate of 6-12” per year, this hardy camellia matures to 8-10’ tall and wide. Its upright growing habit makes a fine privacy barrier for foundation planting, in zones 7-10.
The Yuletide Camellia prefers partial shade, to avoid leaf and flower scorch, and loamy, well-draining soil with a 5.5-6.5 pH.
Dark, glossy, evergreen foliage supports energetic red blooms, with contrasting yellow centers, that light up the winter landscape in temperate climates. Sending a vintage rose fragrance on the breeze.
Water weekly or when the soil is dry to 3” down. Fertilize in spring, after blooming, with a slow-release NPK for acid-loving plants. Prune to remove spent blooms and any damaged branches.
Peaches & Cream Honeysuckle Vine
Also known as Woodbine or European honeysuckle, this unique bloomer can vine out 12ft, in all directions, at a rate of 1-2’ per year, in zones 4-8.
Blooms abound in dappled sunlight and fertile, moist, yet well-draining soil with a 6.0-8.0 pH.
Long, oval leaves in mid-green hues create the backdrop for striking, highly-fragrant flowers that open to individual cream, peach, and pink petals from soft burgundy buds. In late summer, red and purple berries develop, offering food for wildlife.
Limit watering in humid conditions and water only when the soil is dry. A low-nitrogen NPK, in spring, will encourage lush blooming. Pruning is only necessary to remove over-wandering vines.
Ornamental Front Yard Shrubs
By definition, an ornamental is grown for purely aesthetic purposes, rather than for food or sale.
Evergreen and deciduous ornamentals offer unique features, such as flowers and fruit, variegated foliage, and shrubs that put on a great autumn show.
Even with such a high, visual impact, these can also be low-maintenance and functional. Ornate shrubs can help filter out air pollutants in urban areas. When planted near your home, these will also keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter.
Mohave Pyracantha (Firethorn) Shrub
(Pyracantha x ‘Mohave’)
This fiery Pyracantha is a beautiful privacy shrub that will add warmth to gardens in zones 4-8. Growing to a mature size of 9ft tall and wide, the Pyracantha thrives when planted in full sun and moist, well-draining soil with a pH range of 5.0-8.0.
The Mohave Firethorn is an upright, evergreen presenting glossy, green leaves on thorny stems. In late spring, white flowers cover the shrub before developing into abundant orange-red berries in autumn.
One inch of water per week will maintain sufficient moisture. A slow-release, 10-10-10 NPK will increase flower and berry production, when applied in late winter. Prune to maintain shape and remove any damaged branches.
Obsession Nandina Shrub
(Nandina domestica ‘SEIKA’)
The warm glow of the Nandina Domestica contributes color and attention-grabbing interest in warmer zones 8-10.
Growing to 8ft tall and 4ft wide, at maturity, this stunning ornamental prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-draining soil with a 3.7-6.4 pH.
Evergreen in warm climates and deciduous in colder ones, this “heavenly bamboo” sprouts peachy-pink, arrow-shaped leaves that mature to dark red, then dark green. Creating a vivid, multi-hued feature that’s covered with small white flowers, in summer.
Water weekly or when soil is dry to 3” down. Fertilize in spring and early fall, with a slow-release 10-10-10 NPK. Prune only to maintain a tidy appearance.
Golden Dew Tufted Hair Grass
(Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’)
Native to the North American prairies, this hardy hair grass grows in dense clumps, 2-3ft tall and wide, in zones 3-8.
Evergreen foliage stands tall and resilient when planted in partial sun and fertile, moist soil with a 3.7-8.3 pH.
A dramatic fountain of grass releases tall sprays of silvery-purple, summer blooms that change color with age. Maturing to a reddish-brown then a buttery yellow. Seedheads remain for winter interest, taking on a bronze tint.
Water weekly or when soil is dry to 2” down. Fertilize with a slow-release 10-10-10 NPK. Pruned down to the soil in late winter for healthy, spring growth
Hedges For Front of House
Making the right shrub choices for your front yard is key to increasing your home’s curb appeal and its property value, from an exterior perspective. Not to mention, pride of ownership.
We’ve seen some fantastic evergreen and deciduous examples that will add beauty and visual interest to your garden, as features or foundation plantings.
Yet, there are shrubs that take garden interest into the realm of architectural form, such as hedges. These final picks for best front yard shrubs do just that, in the most stunning and low-maintenance way.
Wintergreen Boxwood Shrub
(Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’)
The Wintergreen Boxwood shines in its ability to hold its color in the bleakest of winters, in zones 4-9. Gradually maturing to 2-4’ tall by 3-5ft wide, it will thrive in full morning/afternoon sun and loamy, well-draining soil with a 6.5-7.5 pH.
The Wintergreen boxwood is a broadleaf evergreen with small, densely-growing leaves in varying shades of green. This cultivar is widely used for framing flower borders, beds, and entry pathways.
Water twice per week during the growing season. Apply a slow-release shrub fertilizer, in spring, when necessary. Prune only to maintain the desired shape or to remove damaged branches.
Autumn Fire Encore Azalea Shrub
(Rhododendron ‘Autumn Fire’)
For a more colorful hedge, the dwarf Autumn Fire delivers. Maturing 2.5ft tall by 3ft wide, reaching maximum size within 5 years, this shrub creates a beautiful garden partition, in zones 6-10.
Blooms will be plentiful when planted in full/partial sun and well-drained soil with a 5.5-6.0 pH.
This dwarf azalea packs a full-sized punch, producing masses of velvety, crimson blooms in spring and fall. Glossy, dark green foliage creates an attractive hedge that takes on purple and bronze hues, in winter.
Water when the soil is dry, 2-3” down. Fertilize with slow-release, Azalea granules. Prune only if needed, after the second flowering.
Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo
(Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’)
The cold-hardy ‘Gulf Stream’ Nandina adds a tropical touch to hedges, in zones 6-11. Maturing to 2.5-3ft tall and wide, at a rate of 12” per year, this prefers partial sun and fertile soil, with a 3.7-6.4 pH.
New leaves on this fuss-free shrub emerge scarlet red and mature to blue-green by summer, as small white flowers appear. Vibrant, red foliage develops as autumn temperatures cool.
Water well when soil is dry, down 2”. Fertilize in early spring and mid-summer with an NPK for acid-loving plants. Prune to remove dead and spindly stems, in warm climates and down by half, in colder ones.
Considerations When Landscaping With Bushes
Shrubs with interesting features, such as those above, have become increasingly popular over the years and are now widely used in landscape design.
Dazzling florals and evergreens soothe the senses while increasing the wow factor with steadfast structure and color, with little maintenance or effort.
When considering each of these examples, and imagining one or two of them in your garden, keep in mind the following factors:
- Hardiness Zone
- Maturity Size
- Sunlight Requirements
- Maintenance Requirements
When each of these ticks the right boxes for your proposed planting space, you’ll know you’ve found the perfect one.
Best Shrubs For Front Yard Final Thoughts
The positive impact shrubs can have on your front yard is boundless. With the vast number to choose from, many are versatile enough to complement any landscape design style.
Evergreens like the Sunshine Ligustrum or the Blue Star Juniper comfortably flourish in lush cottage gardens and xeriscape terrains. The Purple Daydream® Dwarf Loropetalum can be seen coloring walkways of both modern and vintage homes.
But, the easiest ones to care for, with the biggest visual impact, are just above, right at your fingertips.