Ideas for Shrub Landscaping

Landscaping with shrubs creates the perfect stable backdrop for the home landscape. These hardy plants serve as larger focal points in the yard, creating a balance between flowering annuals and perennials. Shrubs also add balance to the landscape by defining entry points and creating an overall tailored look to the property. With so many varieties, gardeners can plant shrubs just about anywhere in the landscape, provided growing conditions match plant requirements. Ideas for shrub landscaping include using shrubs as anchor plants, rain gardens, hedges and as foundation plantings around the home.

Anchor Plants

Landscape projects always include plants that create stability in the overall design. Anchor plants provide continuity in the landscape, often serving as an edge or foundation plant. Development of a landscape using anchor plants builds outward from this main plant. Using shrubs as anchor plants offers gardeners a reliable, sturdy plant of a larger size than standard perennials and annuals. Landscape design can also include repetitive uses of shrubs to create uniformity and cohesion in different parts of the landscape.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens serve as collection points in the landscape for storm water and rainwater runoff. These gardens feature hardy shrubs and plants that tolerate exposure to more moisture in the soil. Rain gardens allow for the slow percolation of water to the water table. Shrubs serve as an integral part of the rain garden because these plants can tolerate differing conditions. The deciduous shrub winterberry and spicebush work well in the rain garden. Evergreen shrubs to consider for the rain garden include wax myrtle and yauphon. See Resources for a list of shrubs for use in the rain garden.


Some portions of the property require plantings to hide an unwanted view. Shrubs serve as the perfect option to block views of A/C and heating units, messy under-deck areas and storage areas in the yard. Gardeners can tailor shrub growth to create a dense hedge for privacy. Shrubs also work to mute overly loud sounds from traffic or noisy neighbors. These versatile plants offer a wide variety of foliage choices to suit any landscape and need.

Foundation Plants

Traditional homes featured a line of hedges along the front walk. These shrubs would be pruned to shape and often lasted for years in the same position. Foundation plants work to hide the unsightly lower levels of a home that include cement or wood foundation boards. Many newer homes don't require complete blockage of these areas. As a result, the meaning of foundation planting has changed to refer to any plant placed near the foundation of a home. Shrubs come in varying heights to showcase entryways or visually direct visitors from the driveway to the front door. Evergreen shrubs provide a tailored look to the front of a home and contrast nicely when paired with annual and perennial flowering plants.

Keywords: shrub uses, landscaping with shrubs, shrubs

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.