Not only can proper landscaping design make your outdoor space more appealing and add value to your home, landscaping increases the structural integrity of your space and lessens the likelihood of soil erosion or drainage problems. If you’re the low-maintenance type, shrubs provide all these benefits with a minimum of upkeep; combine with some hardscaping ideas like natural stone walkways and you’ll hardly need to garden at all.
But since shrubs often take up quite a bit of space when compared to grass-and-flowerbed backyard arrangements, they present their own challenges in tight spaces. Fortunately, there are several varieties that are the perfect shrubs for landscaping small yards. Here are a few ideas:
- Rock Roses
Rock roses are a particularly pretty choice when you need to keep your landscaping contained. They’re evergreen, but have white, pink or purple blooms. They’ll generally grow to be about 3 feet by 3 feet, and are frequently used both as groundcover or as potted shrubs. They do need a fair amount of sun, so keep that in mind.
Lilacs are known not only for their beautiful blooms, but also their heavenly fragrance. However, they can be a little larger than some spaces can handle. California lilac is one good choice for crowded beds against a wall; this deciduous bush has powder blue flowers and grows to be about 5 feet tall.
Evergreen cotoneaster varieties provide both color and texture to a small yard. Their small, dense leaves are accented by bright red berries in the fall. These plants stay low, making excellent groundcover.
Boxwood is a classic choice for hedges. There are many varieties, some with emerald-green leaves (like the English boxwood) and some with variegated colors (like Elegans boxwood), but most will stay about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. They can either grow freeform or be trimmed into their signature shape.
If you’re less than confident in your gardening skills, wintercreeper is a hardy plant that survives cold weather, poor soil and a wide variety of sun conditions. It has evergreen leaves with white borders that turn pinkish in the colder months. A single plant can be trained either as a ground shrub or against a wall using a trellis, and will generally grow about 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
Have you been successful in using shrubs for landscaping petite outdoor spaces? Recommend your favorite varieties in the comments. Do you have any other backyard landscaping ideas to offer? Chime in!