The term evergreen refers to plants that keep their leaves throughout the winter. Most evergreen plants prefer full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade. All evergreens benefit from mulches. They give a landscape color and texture all year long. They are used as hedges, privacy screens, backgrounds for flowering plants, windbreaks and as individual focus in a garden. Plant evergreens in a space that will accommodate their mature size.
Evergreen trees add height and drama to your landscape. Trees are used to block unsightly views, planted as windbreaks, as large hedges and noise screens. Some evergreen trees are Thuja occidentalis (eastern arborvitae), Prunus caroliniana (Carolina cherry laurel), Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon), Thuja plicata (western red cedar), Cupressus sempervirens (Italian Cypress), Eucalyptus cinerea (Eucalyptus), Abies fraseri (Fraser fir), Pinus glabra (spruce pine), Sequoia sempervirens (redwood) and Picea pungens (Colorado blue spruce).
Evergreen shrubs make excellent foundation plants. It also creates accents and dramatic contrasts in perennial gardens. Evergreen shrubs include Japanese fatsia (fatsia japonica), Berberis julianae (wintergreen barberry), Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape), Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo), Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), Pittosporum tobira (Japanese pittosporum), Cotoneaster dammeri (bearberry cotoneaster), Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel), Pyracantha coccinea (firethorn) and Skimmia japonica (Japanese skimmia).
Evergreen groundcovers do not need much in the way of maintenance. There are many varieties to choose from. Groundcovers keep soil from eroding and help preserve moisture in the topsoil. Some evergreen groundcovers to use are Vinca minor (periwinkle), Hedera helix (English ivy), Asarum sp. (wild ginger), Artemisia sp. (wormwood), Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese pachysandra), Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper), Sedum spurium (two-row stonecrop), Hypericum calycinum (Aaronsbeard St. Johnswort), Lavandula sp. (lavender) and Fragaria chiloensis (beach strawberry).