How to Garden With Shrubs

Overview

Shrubs are low maintenance plants for your garden and yard. Shrubs offer the drought-resistance that trees do, but on a more human scale. Shrubs grow to sizes ranging from one foot up to 30 feet high. Nearly all varieties of shrubs produce flowers but they don't die down to their roots in winter like herbaceous perennials.

Step 1

Plant shrubs near the foundation of your house. This will anchor your house to the lot and soften the hard edges of the structure. Plant a mixture of evergreen and deciduous flowering shrubs for year-round interest. Plant arbor vitae and yew for evergreen interest. Azaleas and rhododendrons are popular spring-blooming shrubs and some varieties are semi-evergreen. Bridal wreath bush and spirea bloom in late spring while hibiscus and hydrangeas bloom later in the summer.

Step 2

Use fruit-bearing shrubs like blueberry, currant or gooseberry as hedges marking the border of your vegetable plot. Depending on the variety, these types of fruit-bearing shrubs grow only two to three feet tall, so they won't shade your vegetables. In addition, their leaves provide brilliant fall color.

Step 3

Create a row of shrubs to screen an unwanted view on your property or on an adjoining property. This is especially effective if the unsightly view is close to the ground. Unlike trees, shrubs grow many upright stems which fill in the area near ground level, while most varieties of trees branch out at least five feet above ground level. Shrubs grown in this manner are best suited to varieties that require little or no pruning, as the unsightly view can be exposed after an overzealous pruning session.

Step 4

Put a four- to six-inch area of decorative mulch around your shrubbery. The mulch will help keep the soil evenly moist and reduce the ability of weeds to germinate and take hold. A decorative mulch is like the ribbon on a wrapped present, and will give your shrubbery a dressed-up appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed catalogs
  • Shovel
  • Decorative mulch

References

  • University of Tennessee Extension: Shrub Index
  • University of Minnesota: Trees & Shrubs Culture

Who Can Help

  • West Virginia University Extension: Planting Trees & Shrubs
Keywords: garden with shrubs, grow shrubs, grow bushes