While you may think of shrubs as "just green bushes," they are actually much more. Landscape shrubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, producing many different types of foliage, berries, and fragrances. No matter what effect you are trying to achieve, there is undoubtedly a shrub that will fit the bill.
Creeping shrubs, like junipers, can serve as evergreen ground covers. Low, bushy shrubs like spirea and potentilla 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, like 'Newport' viburnum, can be used around a house without any pruning.
Taller shrubs, like Allegheny viburnum, 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, such as 'Skyrocket' juniper, create formality or emphasis in the yard. They can be striking when placed on either side of a doorway or garden gate. Suitable shrubs include dwarf firs, pines, hemlocks, spruces, heathers, junipers, arborvitaes, and false cypresses.
Specialty nurseries and catalogs abound with other, less common conifers as well. Interplant cone-shape and vertical evergreens with low and mounded forms. Add some spectacular weeping conifers for excitement, and contrast blue and gray foliage against green and gold. In summer, add some annuals, perennials, and ornamental grasses for variety.
On this page, we've included links to shrubs suitable for landscaping. Before planting, check with your garden center to make sure that the shrubs you've selected will flourish in your locale.