While you may think of shrubs as "just green bushes," they are actually much more. Use shrubs for a number of different purposes in your gardening efforts.
Evergreen shrubs stay green all year long. Creeping shrubs can serve as evergreen ground covers. Low, bushy shrubs blend nicely into flower gardens or the front of a planting around the house. Larger, rounded shrubs can be grouped into clusters to define space or create privacy. More compact cultivars that mature when around 4 feet high can be used around a house without any pruning.
Taller shrubs are best kept at some distance from the house where they won't block the views. They make good screens for the property perimeter. Vertical shrubs that are shaped like an upright cone or pillar create formality or emphasis in the yard. They can be striking when placed on either side of a doorway or garden gate.
Plant a coniferous shrub garden for winter fun. Use evergreens with a variety of different shapes and leaf colors -- gold, blue, gray, and green. In northern climates where winter is long, this kind of planting brightens the garden. Before planting, check with your garden center to make sure that the evergreen shrubs you've selected will flourish in your locale.