How to Design Shrubs Around a Gate Opening


Landscaping often creates the first impression for visitors and passersby. Enhancing a landscape involves planting shrubs and plants near existing structures. Planting shrubs near a gate creates a feeling of warmth and welcome. Planting shrubs near a gate requires careful selection and placement of shrubs, since gates provide necessary access to yards and homes. Creating an ornamental design with your shrubs includes considering the growth habits of certain shrubs, as well as each one's color and soil requirements.

Step 1

Test the soil near your gate to determine the existing level of nutrients. Purchase a soil test kit and follow the instructions for obtaining the soil sample. Add any soil amendments that will add any nutrients that your tests found to be deficient. Increase the absorption and drainage of heavy soils by adding a little compost and sand. Use a shovel or hoe and evenly distribute these amendments throughout the soil in the area intended for your shrubs.

Step 2

Measure the distance between your gate opening and nearby plants or structures, such as sidewalks and driveways. This measurement provides the maximum amount of space available for mature plants. Avoid purchasing plants that spread beyond this measurement to avoid blocking the gate opening or nearby sidewalks.

Step 3

Select a variety of shrubs to create a range of sizes, from dwarf to medium. Avoid placing very large varieties near your gate opening. These tend to overpower and shade the smaller varieties and may damage the gate and nearby structures as they mature. Place the larger, taller shrubs near the back of the fence, while placing the small varieties near the opening and walkway.

Step 4

Choose a few small evergreen shrubs, such as Chinese junipers and northern white cedars, to provide green color in winter. Choose blossoming shrubs according to their blooming season and blossom color. Select shrubs that bloom at different times throughout the season to create a continual display of blossoms. For example, you could choose a few lilacs for spring blossoms, butterfly bushes for midsummer color and currant shrubs for colorful fall berries. Place shrubs bearing blossoms in contrasting colors next to one another. Avoid placing thorny shrubs, such as rosebushes, near the gate opening. These pose a danger to passing individuals and articles of clothing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting shrubs that form suckers. Developing shoots may spread and invade nearby plantings. Pussy willows, honeysuckles and creeping junipers all display invasive habits.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Shovel or hoe
  • Measuring tape
  • Small shrubs


  • Purdue University: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
  • University of Minnesota: Fitting Trees and Shrubs into the Landscape
  • West Virginia University: Planting Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: gate shrubs, landscape shrubs, gate designs

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.