Extend your beautiful summer garden by adding plants and shrubs that give you year-long greenery and color.  Bring on the evergreen shrubs that blossom in the spring and keep their leaves no matter the season.

Summer doesn’t have to steal the show for your beautiful yard.  Planning ahead for the colder seasons with plants and shrubs that are green year-round will add interest to an otherwise dismal display of naked trees and dead-looking foliage.  Let winter have its share of the limelight too!

Plant for seasonal interest, year-round

Planning years ahead for a stunning year-round yard may sound daunting, but it’s easier than you think.

Planting evergreen trees and shrubs near the perimeter of your yard in varying heights and sizes will ensure garden interest no matter the season.  

With their showy year-round color and texture, they’re more than just a bush. Evergreens are essential to any good landscape plan as the foundation for your garden. They also provide shelter for birds and other wildlife. Save the birds, one shrubbery at a time!


Shrubs or bushes?


A shrub can be pruned, shaped, and groomed.  It grows taller than a bush, yet not as tall as a tree.  Shrubs can be evergreen (keeping their greenery through more than one season) or deciduous (losing their leaves with the onset of winter)


Similar to a shrub, but in general they are left to grow wild, trimming only as needed. Bush is also used to describe the shape of a plant.


Most shrubs are easy to grow and low maintenance. Shrubs have one full set of roots at the base of the plant, so they can’t be split or divided. Understand your growing zone in order to plant the best species for your area.  

Plan for size

Before buying, do some research.  Plan your garden layout based on full growth and growing time.  The small cute plant you bought at your local garden center could end up 10 feet tall!

natural beauty

Plant for year-round green foliage.  Even after the last of your summer flowers have shriveled and dropped away, the loyal shrub will still be there for you!


Perfect for hedges or for trimming into spherical shapes.  Boxwoods work well in both formal and informal gardens.  Grown mostly for its foliage, but it will produce small green flowers in the spring. There are over 140 types of boxwoods available,  making it easy to find one you’ll love.


Intoxicating white fragrant flowers in the summer and shiny dark green leaves all year.  Gardenias are hardy and do well in full sun to partial shade and need regular watering. They can grow from 3-5 feet tall and wide. Prune in early fall to keep to a manageable size.

Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense)

Chinese Fringe Flower

Perfect shrub for warmer climates.  Needs very little water, once established, and at least 6 hours of sun each day. Deep purple, burgundy, and green leaves with pink spidery-looking flowers in the spring.  This plant is almost maintenance-free with year-round visual appeal. Great for first-time gardeners!

purple rhododendron


This shade-loving (and dappled sun desiring) shrub will produce large showy flowers come spring and give you beautiful greenery for the rest of the year. Although a little picky to start, and more cold-hardy than azaleas, once established, they are pretty much maintenance-free.  No need to prune for next year’s beautiful cut flowers. Warning: plan ahead for the best location, Rhodies can grow up to 25′ wide!

Mock Orange

Not related to the orange, yet producing incredible fragrant white blossoms resembling an orange blossom. Enjoy their short-lived blooms in late Spring. The rest of the year you’ll have a full green-leaved shrub that can grow to heights of 12′ tall in some species!  Annual pruning will most likely be required.

Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense)

Sacred Bamboo

This evergreen shrub shows off its bright-red fall foliage in the cool months with attractive new foliage growth in spring.  It will grow quickly and withstand the extreme cold to summer heat well over 100°.  Despite the name, it is not bamboo.  In certain areas, it can be invasive as it sends shoots out underground as it grows.  It’s a perfect backdrop to disguise fencing.  

Daphne Shrub

The Daphne may be my all-time favorite shrub. More compact at 2-3′ tall and wide, but with a huge impact.  The blossoms are heavenly and when planted near an open window, you can enjoy the sweet scent of the blossoms each time the wind blows.  Planted anywhere in your garden and a soft breeze will perfume the entire area. Green all year, with not only one full set of blooms in the Spring, but a second show in the Fall.  With its compact size, it’s perfect for smaller yards and for borders.  They grow well in a partially shady area, with plenty of moisture and well-drained soil. Plant them with other acid-loving plants like Rhododendrons, to get an even bigger impact in your yard.  They don’t like to be moved and will most likely die when trying to transplant an established plant, so choose your location wisely, sit back, have patience… and enjoy the show!


Green backdrops

Plant evergreen shrubs when you want to hide a fence, create a walkway, or as a backdrop to the colorful flowers of summer. When the leaves fall off in autumn, the bulbs die down, and the flowers shrivel away, you don’t want to be left with only dirt, twigs, and bare trees.  Planning ahead for plants that keep their leaves will create a lovely winter backdrop if only to be seen from your window.  Adding shrubs that flower or change leaf color will provide visual interest no matter the season.

A well-thought-out garden doesn’t have to be mapped out by a landscape architect, but it does take time and patience.  Choosing easy-to-maintain plants will give you more time to relax and enjoy the magic of your own backyard.

A beautiful yard is a part of creating a beautiful home and a well-loved established yard can be as perfect as a peaceful park setting.   So roll up your sleeves and connect to nature, you’re about to get your hands dirty! (it’ll be worth it, I promise!)


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