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How to Landscape With Evergreens

front lawn image by Tracy Horning from

Evergreens are excellent plants for landscaping, because they provide interest and color throughout all seasons. Most evergreen groundcovers, vines, shrubs and trees are low-maintenance, some even thriving in areas where nothing else seems to grow. Not all evergreens can grow in all climates, however, so consider your region’s climatic conditions when selecting evergreens for your landscape. Landscaping with evergreens takes some planning, but you’ll end up with a landscape that offers color and beauty throughout the dull winter months.

yew hedge surrounding church. way/path to church image by L. Shat from

Plant evergreens to create hedges, whether informal or formal-looking. Arborvitaes and juniper shrubs will give you an 8- to 15-foot, more formal hedge, while yews will create a lower, 4- to 5-foot hedge and holly shrubs form hedges that are more informal in appearance.

garden decoration in front of yew hedge image by L. Shat from

Select medium to tall evergreen shrubs to plant as privacy screens. Arborvitaes, Leyland cypress, holly shrubs and oleanders can provide year-round privacy screening around your yard when planted close together in a row. These evergreen shrubs can also serve as windbreaks or to buffer traffic noise.

yew needles image by Fyle from

Plant certain evergreen shrubs to landscape spots where nothing else seems to grow. Arborvitaes can grow in nearly any soil type, whether it’s clay, wet or acidic, while Canadian and Japanese yews grow well in shady spots. Junipers and mugo pines are great for sandy soils.

flowers in the archway image by jbattx from

Plant evergreen vines to cover arbors or fences, or walls to add sophistication and year-round interest to your landscape. You can even pair evergreen vines with flowering deciduous climbers for a beautiful accent during the warmer seasons.

azaleas image by apeschi from

Plant slower-growing, smaller evergreens to use as foundation plantings against a house or building. Border the outside walls of your house with evergreens like gardenias, spreading yews, azaleas or Japanese and Chinese hollies. You can also plant taller-growing camellias, arborvitaes or some mountain laurel varieties for foundation plantings against higher walls with no windows.

junipers and leaves image by Jon Yuschock from

Landscape with evergreen groundcovers to control soil erosion on slopes or to cover lawn areas where grass is difficult to grow and maintain. Evergreen groundcovers like pachysandra, ivy and winter creeper are excellent for shady spots in your lawn, while cotoneasters and junipers will retain the soil on sunny slopes and hills.


Consider landscaping with evergreens by planting some as individual specimens or focal points. Try planting a striking magnolia or camellia as a landscape focal point. Other evergreens that make for excellent specimen plantings include the weeping Norway spruce or Colorado blue spruce, true cedars and hollies.


Always consider the evergreen’s mature size when you’re selecting a planting that’s appropriate for the space. For instance, your emerald arborvitae may seem small when you first purchase it from the nursery, but keep in mind that it can reach 15 feet in height at maturity. Likewise, some pine, fir and spruce trees can reach 60 feet tall, so you shouldn’t try to plant these in smaller spaces.

Beware of how much year-round shade the evergreens will create in your landscape, especially when you’re planting larger evergreen shrubs and trees. Consider how to best position these evergreens in your yard so that you aren’t depriving your landscape areas of needed sunlight.

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