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Evergreen Shrubs - How to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Have a Professional Looking Design

Jul 7, 2008
So, you want to add some landscaping to your home, but don't know quite how to go about it? I understand. And evergreen shrubs, which provide greenery all year long, are not inexpensive.

It's difficult to know exactly which plants to choose. Evergreen shrubs are often chosen because they do not lose their leaves and provide greenery in your landscape during the winter. There are so many to choose from, but selecting those that are perfect for your particular situation can be confusing.

Here are some tips to help you decide:

1. Decide how tall the plant should be, and then look for plants which will be this height at maturity.

2. Know your sun and shade situation. Once this is determined, select plants that fit with the conditions of the particular area you will be landscaping.

3. Know what Zone you reside in. Individual plants have a Zone range that they will grow in. Select plants designated for your Zone. Local nurseries often carry plants appropriate for your area.

These above tips will help you in selecting evergreen shrubs that will look well and survive.

But what about the actual design? You might follow the suggestions above, but you still don't know how to create a beautiful landscaped area.

Here are some important design ideas:
Plant in masses. Do not plant one of this and one of that. There is a reason for this. Each plant has its own special features, whether it be flowers, leaf color, or berries. By planting in groups of a variety these features become more showy.

When planting with evergreen shrubs, it is important to use plants near each other that have different textures. You might use Boxwood near Juniper. The small leaves of the Boxwood contrast and become more attractive against the needle-like Juniper foliage.

Can you achieve color throughout the seasons with evergreen shrubs? Yes you can! Many shrubs will flower in different seasons. They also can provide beautiful red berries in the fall and winter that can be spectacular. Some have interesting colored leaves, such as Red Barberry.

Foliage fall color is not typically an attribute since they do not turn color and lose their leaves, which brings me to another area. Do not be afraid to add some deciduous shrubs or perennials and mix them in with the evergreens. The evergreen shrubs will provide the winter interest while the other plant types are not at their best.

Use height at your house corners to frame it. That might be a large single shrub, a group of three shrubs, or even an ornamental tree. In addition, add a tall shrub here and there so that the planting height does not become monotonous.

If you have the space, create a bed that is deep enough so that you can plant in layers. The taller shrubs would be placed towards the rear with lower ones in front. You might have two or three layers of shrubs. Here is where you might incorporate some perennials for extra color.

These are all concepts I have used in designs for my clients. I have used them to create beautiful, professional landscapes. I am sure they will help you and will give you some guidance with your plant placement and selections.
About the Author
Susan Schlenger is a professional Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. If you would like to learn more about evergreen shrubs, please take a look at her website page Evergreen Shrubs. For those that would like detailed information on her recommended evergreen shrub types and on how to design with them for a professional look, please take a look at her new ebook, Designing With Evergreen Shrubs.
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