What makes a great front yard shrub? Is it the flowers, foliage, growth habit, height, or some combination of all characteristics?
Before answering this question, you have to ask yourself what exactly you’re looking for in a front yard shrub. If you’ve just moved into a newly built house, you might be starting with a blank canvas but if you’re looking to fill up a particular spot, some shrubs will work better than others.
You can pick the most conventionally pretty shrubs on the market, but if your front yard doesn’t fit their ideal growing conditions, you’ll be left with wilty--and sometimes dead--plants.
Evaluate how much sun the area you’re working with gets. Full sun shrubs ARE NOT the same as full shade shrubs. Don’t get discouraged if you were hoping for a full sun paradise and find you have a shady area instead. Both can be gorgeous when approached with creativity and an open mind!
Next, you’ll need to figure out what kind of soil you’re dealing with. It’s a good guess that any shrub you’re dealing with will prefer well-drained soil. However, always read our #ProPlantTips info for each plant to see its specific care instructions.
If you aren’t sure how to figure out the drainage or are looking for ideas on what to do with soggy beds, check out our Well-Drained Blog.
Last but not least, figure out your growing zone. Some plants are hardy enough to withstand -20 degree winters but some aren’t and we’d hate for you to install a line of new shrubs just to find out next spring that they didn’t make it.
Learn your growing zone by typing your zip code into our Growing Zone Calculator located just above the plant facts on each product page.
This is a bit twofold. Understanding how tall the shrubs you're looking for will need to be at maturity will help narrow down the search from countless to manageable. Then, once you know the size, you can go about figuring out how many you’ll need.
Are your windows 3 feet off the ground? Great! You’re looking for shrubs that max out at three feet tall so you don’t have to worry about it covering up your views.
Is the spot you’re hoping to fill only two feet wide? Perfect! If you’re on our site make sure to use the filters along the left to see only shrubs that’ll fit in that two-foot spot.
Of course, you can always buy larger shrubs and keep them in check with pruning. If you’d like to go this route, make sure to check that the shrub responds well to pruning.
When push comes to shove, this is a personal preference. However, we will say the professionals usually stick to the rule of planting in threes. This means using three of a kind and spacing out so one is in the middle of where you’re trying to fill and the other two are equally spaced out on either side.
There are a number of reasons why this is done. One is that it gives a natural center, and thus, a focal point. Another is that odd numbers look more natural than even numbers. The amount of space you’re working with will help determine which odd number you go with (3, 5, or evn 7)!
Landscaping is a fascinating area of study, and if you’d like to dive deeper into the rule of planting in threes, read our blog on it here.
Now, finding your own front yard-worthy shrubs is a great option, but if you’re looking for a ready-made list to pick from, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled our five favorite shrub types for front yard landscaping and would love to share them with you.
A shrub with pale purplish-blue flowers in the late summer that are attractive to multitudes of pollinators, Bluebeard makes a fantastic addition to your landscape.
Ranging in height from 30 inches to 4 feet, there is a shrub that fits every space.
Try 'Lil Miss Sunshine' for magenta blooms and a shorter height, or 'Sapphire Surf' for a larger shrub with dark green foliage and royal purple flowers.
Best planted in zones 5-9, Bluebeard will stand out and add color to your landscape while providing a tasty snack to the local pollinators.
Flowering in early summer and lasting through fall, shrubby cinquefoil is a low-maintenance shrub that will thrive in a sunny front yard. Small, five-petal flowers range in color from pink to yellow to white on top of lush green leaves.
Native to the Northern Hemisphere, this type of shrub is easy to grow and requires minimal care. It is pest and disease free, which means one less thing for you to worry about in your garden!
This flowering shrub will bring pollinators to your garden from near and far. It adds to the thrill of your garden and your other flowers will appreciate the boost in pollinators.
Snag a couple of these for yourself before they’re gone!
Heavenly Bamboo, unlike its name suggests, is not in the bamboo family. Rather, Nandina domestica is a deciduous shrub in northern climates and evergreen in the south with soft, lace-like green foliage.
Depending on the variety you choose, these shrubs may also sport red foliage in the fall and produce red berries into winter. The local wildlife will go crazy for the early winter snack.
Make sure to read the Plant Facts when browsing. Some varieties will work in a wide range of zones, like Compact Heavenly Bamboo while others are for a more specific region, like Lemon Lime Nandina.
If you live in a drier area, check for the drought-tolerant varieties.
A plant with its fair share of names, St. John’s Wort goes by Hypericum botanically. Although some know it as Goatweed, Aarons’ Beard, or even Tipton’s Weed, it’s referred to most as St. John’s Wort or Hypericum.
This shrub dons gorgeous clusters of white flowers in the summer, however, we offer varieties that burst into yellow as well.
You’ll find many of these shrubs can be used as ground cover but at 1-2 feet tall, many of them work well as front yard shrubs.
St. John’s Wort is an evergreen shrub in warmer climates with interest lasting all year long. In colder climates, it’ll come back as a perennial does.
It’s hard to go wrong with a pink flowering shrub as a foundation plant. These Asian natives have won the hearts of countless gardeners for their profuse spring and summer blooms along with their wide variety of foliage colors.
While pink is a popular weigela color, you’ll also find them in white, yellow, red, and purple.
Once the flowers are done, you’ll be enchanted by the variegated leaves of My Monet® Weigela or the near-black foliage of Tuxedo™ Weigela through summer and fall.
The bell-shaped flowers are a perfect late-season source of nectar for your local pollinators-especially hummingbirds! Add a dramatic dash of color to your front yard landscaping with a weigela or two.
Use the five plant families above to build your front yard garden around, or continue browsing NatureHills.com for more inspiration. The important thing is to make sure your garden represents the plants you love!
Have more questions? Check with your local extension office to learn which shrubs work best in your region or chat with our Plant Experts for help locating the perfect plant on our site.
We made a list of our top shrubs for front yards, watch now!