Landscaping Bushes

Landscaping Bushes

Before you purchase your , you’ll need to decide what purpose they’ll serve in your backyard landscaping design.

  • Are you looking to add some privacy to your backyard?
  • Do you want to enjoy fragrant flowers in spring?
  • Are you looking for bushes that have great Fall color?
  • Do you want to add height and interest to your landscape design?

Let’s take a look at some general reasons that people have when looking to plant bushes –privacy, design , fragrance, and specimen plants.

Privacy Screens

Evergreen provide a wonderfully private area for this patio.If you know that you’re installing for privacy, the most important question to ask yourself is whether or not it’s a priority for you to have the screen established quickly?

A friend of mine had an urgent situation in which she needed some much
needed privacy from a “nosey neighbor.” In her case, she not only
needed to have a 6 foot fence installed, she needed 8 foot bushes
installed along the fence line. Her peace of mind was the first
priority, and she contracted with a professional to have both
installations completed.

Is this your situation, or would you rather save money by doing it yourself? Are you able to purchase smaller that may take several years to reach their desired height?

Some bushes that may work well as privacy screens are:

Evergreen Hedges-

This option provides a wonderful privacy screen that maintains itself throughout the summer and winter months, and is quite long-lasting and effective. To separate yourself from neighbors, this is probably one of the best options as long as you have plenty of sunlight in the location that you plan to establish them.

My friend has a row of evergreen hedges on one of her property lines, and while her neighbor’s home is less than 20 feet away, she has never met them, and there is a great deal of privacy and seclusion in their respective yards.

Privet Bushes-

These bushes are very inexpensive (particularly when they are young) relatively hardy, easy to plant, easy to grow, and easy to maintain. My favorite trifecta! They can tend to get a bit out of control as they get older, however, and some do consider them “invasive.”

I purchased 2 packages of 20 privet bushes from a chain garden store and planted them in a tight row along the property line next to a patio. The first year I planted them, my Mom commented that they were “laughable.” (I guess that 40 individual 12-inch sticks jetting out of the ground doesn’t scream PRIVACY SCREEN!)

Privet can be considered invasive, although they are still popular among homeowners for their low cost, fast growth and superior coverage.

During their 2nd and 3rd full years, they became an admirable,
bonifide privacy screen. Best yet, I have them planted in part-shade, in less
than ideal soil, and I have given them little to no maintenance, and
they are still thriving.

Consider privet bushes for a dense
privacy screen, as a low cost and low maintenance option. They do grow
relatively quickly, about 1-2 feet per year, but if you start them
small, it will take awhile to establish your screen.


Bushes add depth, dimension and interest to any landscape design. Any well-designed group of plantings will include a variety of landscaping plants such as bushes, trees, perennials and annuals.

You’ll see an example of this in the photo below which includes a magnolia bush at the far end of the planting area, petunias, hosta, daylilies and a potentilla.

There are even tomatoes and peppers planted in this landscape design!

Notice how the magnolia anchors this landscape design

Fragrant Bushes

Flowering landscape bushes can provide both privacy and a wonderful
fragrance when they bloom. Are you looking to add the “scents of
spring” to your yard?

Lilac provide some of the most delightful spring scents around

Consider one of my personal favorites – the lilac bush! This plant grows to a mature height of over 12 feet tall, and produces a multitude of softly fragrant flowers in the spring.

Unfortunately, these do not live on forever. So, if your lilac bush is over 15-20 years old, you may need to consider either cutting them down to the ground, or planting new bushes. I have experimented with both options.

I decided to trim one of my plants to the ground, and I’m having relatively good success with it. The new growth is healthy and thick, and is filling in nicely as a privacy screen. This option has been less time-consuming than planting new plants, which I have also done.

If you’re new to the lilac bush, learn how to grow these fine specimens here!

Specimen Bushes

Are you looking for a burst of color in fall? Try a burning bush or a red twigged dogwood. The burning bush comes in either full-size or dwarf, and the red-twig dogwood keeps it’s red stems visible all winter long.

Make sure to add a variety of to your area that will grow to different heights at maturity, and display different colors throughout the seasons either through blooms or foliage color. This will add visual interest and dimension to your landscape.

It is also helpful to plant the same variety in groups of at least 3. This helps to accentuate the effect of the particular plant so that it doesn’t get lost in the landscape. Planting a few “specimen” plants or bushes is ok, but it is wise to have some consistency throughout your design. Otherwise you run the risk of losing the effect of the plants you want to showcase.

The Dappled Willow is another beautiful specimen bush that can be grown by itself to add interest in the landscape, or as a grouping.  It can also be grown as a bush, or an interesting small tree!  See this article for more information on the dappled willow.

Weigela bush is another wonderful specimen bush that can be pruned to remain quite small, or left to grow big and wiled…as much as 8 feet tall!

Good luck on your search for the perfect !

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