Shrubs, woody vines and trees are all woody plants that provide homeowners with low-maintenance, hardy and beautiful mainstays for the landscape. These woody plants are available in evergreen or deciduous varieties that thrive in sun, shade and levels of light in-between. Cassandra Danz, author of "Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead," calls shrubs "the pillars of the garden, its sovereigns, its queens."
The Landscape Design Site advises homeowners to use shorter shrubs in front of large ones; the advice seems obvious, but to follow it, you need to research the final growth of each shrub before planting. Their second piece of advice is to plant a limited number of shrub varieties to create a unified and cohesive landscape plan rather than a hodge-podge effect. To obtain color from shrubs year-round, plant rhododendrons or forsythias for spring blooms; pink rose-of-Sharon shrubs and hydrangeas for summer blooms; shrub roses, with large rose hips, or the oak-leafed hydrangea with red and rust leaves for fall; and the bright red, twiggy branches of a the dogwood shrub tartarian for winter.
Fruit trees, nut trees, evergreens and flowering dogwoods are just a few types of trees to choose from. However, according to Cassandra Danz, for anyone with a yard ½ acre or less, most trees should be planted around the perimeter of the landscape and placed so they don't block the sun from reaching your flower beds. Danz recommends planting a deciduous tree on the west side of your house to protect it from the sun in the summer and allow sun to pass through in the winter when the tree loses its leaves. Some trees that can be planted closer to the house include crape myrtle, with clusters of deep rose flowers from July through September, or dwarf citrus trees that you can even plant in large flower pots.
Grow vines to either climb up a fence or arbor or creep along the ground as ground cover. Some favorites include cotoneaster, with dark green leaves and bright, red berries; ivy, which should only be planted if you plan to maintain it and not let it invade adjacent woodlands; and vinca, with small periwinkle-colored flowers all summer long. To determine which vines, trees or shrubs will grow in your climate, refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture climate zone map or buy plants from a nursery in your local area.