If you’re trying to upgrade your yard, shrubs are an awesome addition. Before you start digging, though, think about the main features of your landscape, and find out which varieties will give you the effect you're going for!
What sort of upkeep and maintenance do you want? Do you like simplicity or something that grabs attention? Are flowering bushes or monotone evergreens more your style? Will it be decorative or have a specific purpose? Our list of popular shrubs can help you find something that checks all your boxes.
Wintercreeper is a nice beginner's shrub. It's compact, doesn't grow much, but provides a rainbow of whites, greens, and yellows all year long. If you're considering adding something unobtrusive yet ornamental to your landscape, wintercreeper is the route to take. This evergreen only grows to about two feet tall — though it can spread out a lot further — and is considered a very easy plant to keep.
A stunning and versatile shrub, mountain laurel is a fabulous addition to shady areas. Native to eastern Appalachian forests, it thrives in acidic, moist soil, though it'll survive in partial shade, too. Every spring, the plant produces small, hexagonal, white flower bunches that, if deadheaded, will last a few weeks.
Mountain laurel can grow anywhere from 5 to 15 feet tall depending on the environment, so make sure you have the room for this shrub before purchasing. If you decide it's right for you, it'll enhance your landscape year-round and require very minimal upkeep.
Photinia is a striking evergreen shrub for those who like a bit of variation. When planted in its required nutrient-rich soil, its leaves start out red in the spring and gradually turn green as they mature.
Not only are the many varieties of photinia attractive, but they grow several feet high and wide. Their thick enough to create solid privacy borders, and they're fairly easy to grow. But they're best for those with a little experience in plant maintenance since they'll occasionally need pruning and fertilization.
European box plants are the stereotypical shrub. They're a common bush for those who like to have some creative fun shaping hedges. You have your pick of diverse varieties and sizes; they come in dwarf form or can grow to over 30 feet tall.
These green or green-and-yellow box plants are great for all skill levels, as long as you're willing to try your hand at basic or more complex pruning.
The attractive butterfly bush is an excellent border marker that can reach up to ten feet tall and wide. But it's the majestic summer blossoms that make this shrub really stand out. Sometimes known as summer lilac, butterfly bush blooms all season long, attracting a wealth of pollinators with its scent and aesthetic allure.
You'll want at least a little gardening experience under your belt before tackling butterfly bush. In addition to full sun, this plant requires yearly pruning in the spring. However, watering and soil fertilization aren't necessary, so you don't have to be a professional horticulturist to keep this one in good health.
Yew is a classic addition to any yard. The dwarf varieties grow to around three or four feet tall and fit the iconic mold of unassuming curb appeal. They'll spice up the look of your exterior while requiring no maintenance whatsoever.
Hardy yews tolerate any soil condition, environment, and type of light.
Siberian carpet cypress is a low-growing shrub that does equally well in sun and shade. This is the perfect bush when you need a lot of horizontal coverage but don't want too much height.
Geared toward cold weather, this conifer requires no upkeep, making it a nice and simple starter shrub for anyone who's new to the landscaping game.
One of the best protective shrubs is multi-hued red Japanese barberry. Thorny with prickly, thick stems, it's a great bush to place under windows to deter break-ins. Just keep in mind that it's not the easiest growth to trim, so make sure you're protected before touching this shrub.
Japanese barberry is considered an invasive species in some areas: check with your state's regulations before purchasing a plant.
In an urban setting, you may be pressed for space. Dwarf blooming lilacs are a wonderful addition to a limited area and pack a powerful punch. These plants grow to only four or five feet tall. Low-spreading and compact, this round bush produces conical flowers amid dark green leaves.
Dwarf blooming lilacs are also great for areas with poor soil. They're low-maintenance and resistant to drought and heat, and they don't require special living conditions.
Rose bushes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. Winter-hardy and highly fragrant, they'll spruce up just about any yard. Plus, they bloom all summer long for an endless seasonal array of beauty.
Climbing roses are a fantastic option if you want fence covering or a shrub to coexist with a trellis, canopy, or bare wall. They grow up to 20 feet tall and, as perennials, do well in most environments. They do require a bit of maintenance, though, so this bush is best for someone with a bit of growing experience.