Shrubbery can be an essential part of any landscape design and often acts as a framework for the plants and garden elements that follow. In addition to adding aesthetic value by way of color and shape, shrubbery can also be used as a privacy screen, for noise reduction, as a wind barrier, as a living fence to define borders and as a design element in and of itself, such as in sculpted shrubbery.
Plant shrubs together to create a hedge that acts as a screen, suggests "Ortho's Complete Guide to Trees & Shrubs." Shrubbery planted as a hedge along a road can function as a green environmental barrier by dampening and filtering traffic noise. A shrubbery hedge planted near a house can act as a wind break to block the wind and reduce an annual heating bill by up to 20 percent. A hedge can buffer and reduce noise as the leaves and small branches act as baffles to absorb and deflect sound. A hedge can also direct light, reduce glare and screen out the sun, depending on the density, height and placement of the hedge.
Shrubbery planted as a hedge can function as a living fence to mark a border between property lines and to block views. Living fences can be planted to define a garden space, creating an outdoor room or can serve as a backdrop for garden flowers. Hedges can also be planted along a walkway to define a path according to "Living Fences" by Ogden Taylor.
Shrubbery can also be used as a design element in what is known as luxury estate gardening, according to the landscape-design-advisor.com. Examples include parterres, a garden originating in France and featuring shrubbery hedges pruned into symmetrical shapes and laid out in a four-square pattern; and labyrinths, outdoor mazes of varying size and height, consisting of pruned shrubbery hedges that function as walls and topiary, which are shrubbery hedges pruned into different shapes for accent pieces.