Low maintenance shrubs
A yard without shrubs is like a kitchen without appliances. Here's what these hardworking plants can do for your yard:
Screen unwanted sights. Choose shrubs that maintain dense foliage from top to bottom, and plant them close enough so the leaves of adjacent plants will overlap slightly at maturity.
Unify the space. Place shrubs as intermediaries to create a smooth transition from large elements, such as the house and trees, to low-lying elements, including lawn and flowers.
Direct traffic. Define open space and direct people and pets where you want them by planting shrubs in key positions, such as near property lines and pathways.
Act as a ground cover. Mass low-growing shrubs, like dwarf summersweet, to create a ground cover that's more interesting and less work than lawn.
Save space.When space is tight and a tree won't fit, create a focal point with a single showy shrub, such as fountain butterfly bush.
Provide long-lasting interest. Choose shrubs that look attractive for more than one season, such as oakleaf hydrangea, with its summer flowers, fall color, and handsome bark.
The distance between a shrub and any boundary should be at least half the width of the shrub at maturity (some shrubs grow as wide or wider than they are tall). For example, space a shrub that grows to 4 feet wide at least 2 feet from a walkway. Fill in open ground between young shrubs with fast-growing annuals and perennials, space holders that provide temporary color and cover ground until the shrubs fill out. The low-maintenance option is to spread organic mulch, such as shredded bark. It requires little upkeep while helping to smother weeds and keep soil moist.