Lawn & Garden Landscaping

9 of the Best Shrubs for Any Garden

A lush landscape is the dream of many a homeowner. But if you don’t live in an established neighborhood, you don't get to reap the benefits of mature plantings. You can, however, fill your yard with healthy greenery in a hurry if you plant a few of these large, low-maintenance shrubs.

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Black Beauty Elderberry

This unconventional ornamental makes a wonderful accent plant, but it could just as easily be shaped into a unique hedge. Clusters of pink, lemon-scented blossoms attract butterflies to your yard in early summer, then in late summer the shrub produces elderberries that feed birds and other wildlife. Black Beauty elderberry plants are widely adaptable to a range of soil types, and once established, they’re easy to care for. A plant will quickly grow to 12 feet tall and just as wide, but it can be pruned if you’d prefer to keep it smaller.

Related: 15 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape

Aucuba Japonica ‘Gold Dust’

Often called spotted laurel, this variety of aucuba brings panache to even a low-light yard with the most difficult growing conditions. Its multihued foliage serves well as a border around your home’s foundation or as privacy planting surrounding an outdoor living space. Once established, it needs very little care, water, or pruning.

Evergreen Euonymus

Euonymus japonicus is a landscaping superstar, growing up to 15 feet tall and nearly as wide. Its glossy green leaves persist through winter and are punctuated by delicate white flowers in late spring. This hardy shrub tolerates many climates and, once established, requires little watering or maintenance.


Forsythia is a perennial winner, loved for the cheerful yellow blossoms that cover its stems in early spring. The rest of the growing season, the tall shrub remains leafy and green. It can be shaped into a hedge or lightly pruned to accent its natural shape. Either way, this lively shrub makes a low-maintenance addition to your landscape.

Ornamental Hazelnut

Although it’s deciduous, ‘Red Dragon’ ornamental hazelnut provides year-round interest in your yard. After its dramatic foliage fades and falls, the branches are festooned with burgundy catkins that dangle from curling stems. Once established, the easy-care tree requires little watering and grows anywhere from six to eight feet tall, and about half as wide.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is a member of the hibiscus family, and as such will grace your yard with exquisite blooms throughout the growing season. There are a number of varieties, with blossoms in many colors, including blue, pink, white, and purple. ‘Blue Chiffon’ and ‘Purple Chiffon’ both reach 8 to 12 feet in height and adapt to many soil types.

Related: 10 Fast-Growing Plants for (Almost) Instant Curb Appeal

Blue Princess Holly

The holly family is well loved for its low-maintenance shrubs and trees that come in many sizes. Blue Princess holly is no exception. Hardy and strong, the variety grows between 10 and 15 feet tall and as much as 10 feet wide. Its red berries attract songbirds and other wildlife that feed on the beautiful fruit.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea is a stunning bloomer that thrives with very little attention, even in harsh, dry climates. More cold hardy than other hydrangea varieties, it also provides four seasons of interest, with leaves that turn brilliant shades of burgundy and orange in fall. In winter, it shows off peeling bark in shades of cinnamon—a welcome contrast to a bleak and snowy winter landscape.

Bailey Red Twig Dogwood

For a large accent shrub with great winter appeal, give Bailey red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Baileyi’) a try. It will grow up to 10 feet tall, and just as wide, with white flowers in spring and green foliage all summer long. When all other color fades in your yard, this charmer will flash its bright red branches, giving your eyes some respite from the bleak winter landscape. It needs a little pruning in spring and little else in terms of care.

Live Large

These big blooms will give your landscape a boost without requiring much effort on your part!