How to Choose Shrubs


Shrubs add visual appeal to the landscape design. They also offer privacy and can increase the energy efficiency of a home by blocking sun and wind. Choosing the right shrubs for your landscape is an important step in the planning process. While the look of the shrub is important, there are several other factors to consider as you narrow down the shrub varieties at the local nursery.

Step 1

View your home from across the street to identify potential locations for the shrubs. Look for areas in the landscaping that would benefit from the additional greenery.

Step 2

Identify the purpose for planting the shrubs. Privacy, decoration, property boundaries and energy efficiency of the home are common reasons for shrubs. Keep the purpose in mind as you select your shrubs.

Step 3

Identify your growing zone. The USDA offers a plant hardiness zone map that allow you to find your zone. Look for shrubs that are labeled as ideal for that growing zone. The staff at a local plant nursery can also help identify shrubs that will flourish in your area.

Step 4

Consider the fully grown size of the shrub options. Choose a shrub that grows to a height that works well for your needs. A shrub that grows several feet high doesn't work well in front of a window. Also consider the root growth if you're placing the shrubs near a foundation or sidewalk. Roots can damage these structures.

Step 5

Decide if you want flowering shrubs or only green shrubs. This is a matter of personal preference and the desired look for the landscaping design.

Step 6

Consider the look of the leaves. The size and texture of the leaves vary from one shrub to the next. Look at shrubs in person at a local nursery to get a true sense of the look of the leaves.

Step 7

Consider the other plants and flowers in the landscape near the shrubs. Choose the shrubs that best fit your needs and complement the other plants in the area.


  • This Old House: 15 Foolproof Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
Keywords: landscape design, shrub varieties, choosing shrubs

About this Author

Shelley Frost is an Iowa-based writer specializing in parenting and education topics. She started writing for online publications over two years ago. Her work can be found on websites such as and Frost holds a B.A. in elementary education with a minor in reading.