The Best Landscape Shrubs

Landscape shrubs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and types, including evergreen and deciduous shrubs. They help to accent areas of the landscape like a front border, garden wall or when, grown in masses, create a makeshift fence along the garden. Oftentimes the best landscape shrubs are not only drought tolerant but can withstand a wide range of soil types for a long-lasting shrub.

Little Gem Arborvitae

Little gem arborvitae is an evergreen shrub that is suitable to grow in USDA zones 3 to 7a. As an evergreen, little gem arborvitae retains its foliage color throughout the year, including winter, to help bring warmth to the landscape. Little gem arborvitae has a globose or rounded form that is dense and compact. Grown for its attractive foliage, it has a slow growth rate. The glossy, crumpled dark green leaves on little gem are located on the flattened sprays of horizontal branches. Little gem arborvitae grows 1 to 3 feet tall and has a spread of 4 to 6 feet wide, making it ideal as a border shrub along the landscape. It grows best in full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Korean Barberry

Korean barberry is a deciduous shrub with a moderate growth rate. It grows up to 6 feet tall and has a spread of 3 to 5 feet wide. Korean barberry has a haystack to oval shape that is dense and makes for an ideal barrier plant along the landscape. The small, yellow, spring-blooming flowers on Korean barberry grow in clusters and are followed by the waxy, bright red berries that emerge in fall to last into winter. The dark green, 1- to 3-inch-long rounded leaves on Korean barberry are edged with small spines and turn red and purple in fall. Korean barberry shrubs are drought-tolerant to withstand periods of limited moisture, an ideal quality in a landscape shrub. Easy to transplant, they grow best in full sun to part shade and tolerate a wide range of soil varieties. Plant Korean barberry in USDA zones 4 to 7.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush is a rapidly growing deciduous shrub that is suitable in USDA zones 5 to 9. It grows 5 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide and has a large, rounded form with arching branches that hold the bright flowers. The fragrant, small, 4- to 10-inch-wide clusters of flowers or panicles grow in a wide range of colors including, purple, pink, white and yellow. Emerging in summer to last into fall, the flowers create long-lasting color to the landscape. The oval, gray to blue green 4- to 10-inch-long leaves on the butterfly bush emerge in late spring, before the flowers appear. Easy to transplant, butterfly bushes are drought-tolerant, two qualities that make them an ideal landscape shrub. Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil but tolerate a wide range of soil varieties.

Keywords: best landscape shrubs, little gem arborvitae, Korean barberry, butterfly bush

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.