Tall Shrubs for Landscape

Tall shrubs in a landscape design can serve several functions. Flowering shrubs can add dimension to a garden by providing additional areas of color. Shrubs can function as hedges or act as privacy screens. You can easily create a feature in your garden with shrubs with showy or fragrant flowers such as the common lilac. Tall shrubs often have a corresponding wide spread. Gardeners should take to make sure there is adequate spacing between the shrubs before planting.


Arborvitae, or thuga, is an easy-to-grow, very tolerant shrub that is suitable for landscape designs calling for tall shrubs. The tallest varieties reach heights up to 30 feet or more. Since it is an evergreen, it provides year-round color and privacy. Arborvitae is not tolerant of acidic soil conditions, preferring alkaline soils in full sun. It also provides cover for birds and wildlife.

American Boxwood

The American boxwood is a good choice for landscaping projects calling for large and dense shrubs. Left unpruned, it can reach heights up to 12 feet. The American boxwood is cold-tolerant up to USDA zone 5. It is a hardy shrub, able to withstand heavy snow or ice cover without breaking. It prefers partial shade in well-drained soils.


The rhododendron is an attractive shrub, sure to be a standout in your garden. These shallow-rooted shrubs prefer acidic, well-drained soils. They are relatively maintenance-free, requiring very little pruning or fertilizing. Most varieties of rhododendrons reach heights up to 8 feet. Taller varieties can grow up to 15 feet tall. Rhododendrons produce colorful pink to purplish blooms in late spring to early summer, depending upon the variety.


Forsythia is another colorful shrub, producing yellow flowers in early spring. It is a fast-growing shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall with up to a 15-foot spread. It is a good choice for urban landscapes, being tolerant of city conditions. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Because of its rapid growth, the forsythia requires occasional trimming to maintain a neat appearance.


The privet prefers the warmer conditions of USDA zones 7 to 10, located in the southern states of the country. It is a dense shrub, making a good choice as a privacy screen. The privet grows up to 15 feet. It produces white flowers in mid-summer, followed by bluish berries in late summer. It is one of the most popular hedge shrubs in America. It is relatively easy to care for, requiring only occasional pruning.

Keywords: privacy screen, tall shrub, landscape design

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