Shrubs play an important part in your yard's landscape design. There are a few ways you can work them into your landscaping so they are both beautiful and useful.
1. Privacy Hedges
One of the most striking uses of shrubs is to grow them in a hedge along the property line. They can be used to create a stand-alone privacy hedge, or you can plant them against an existing wall or fence. Choose shrubs that are tolerant of heavy pruning if you want them to have a clipped, formal look. Arborvitae and boxwood are two possible choices. For informal, natural-looking hedges, flowering shrubs like rhododendrons and lilacs are lovely choices.
2. Flowering Borders
Planting shrubs in the border beds that butt up against the walls of your home can be quite striking. This can be as simple as a single flowering shrub on each side of the front entryway, or you can put in shrubs all along the border. For statement shrubs with an interesting architectural look to their forms, azaleas are quite striking. Hydrangeas are a favorite that works well when planted alone or in a group. Spirea and other dwarf or smaller shrubs make a tidy but attractive border when planted in a row.
3. Soften Features
Water features, benches, and even patios add beauty and usefulness to the landscape, but they can stand out harshly against the more organic garden and lawns around them. Planting shrubs around these features in the right spots can soften the transition from hardscaping to living landscape. The height and type of shrub depend on what will work best to soften the feature without overwhelming it.
4. Focal Points
Sometimes a lawn simply needs a focal point. This is especially true for "postage stamp" lawns, where they are relatively square and level without a lot of texture or varying heights to break them up. Putting in an island bed in the yard and planting it with a lovely large shrub, either something that flowers or an evergreen that can be trimmed into an ornamental shape, adds height and visual interest to the landscape design.
5. Mark Boundaries
Property lines aren't the only boundaries in the average landscape. You may want to put in low shrubs, no taller than knee high, to border flower beds or pathways. A dwarf variety that can be clipped into a nice formal shape, like dwarf holly, works well for this. Shrubs can also be used to create a screen boundary around unsightly areas, such as behind the garage, or to add privacy nooks, such as putting in hedges around a small seating area to seal it from view.
Contact a landscape design specialist to learn more.