12 Exuberant Shrubs for Front of House

Traditional North American home with shrubs in front of house

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Front yard landscaping usually involves a combination of different types of shrubs and flowers, with evergreen plants providing year-round freshness and flowering bushes adding seasonal pops of color. Our selection of 12 shrubs for the front of the house will satisfy your needs for lush greenery and bright blossoms, and take your home's curb appeal to the next level.

Before buying a landscape shrub, always check if a plant is invasive in your area. Visit the National Invasive Species Information Center or contact your local university extension office for advice on shrubs that may be invasive in your region.

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

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Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Hydrangea arborescens annabelle smooth hydrangea shrub with white flowers
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Also known as sheep flower or sevenbark, this flowering deciduous shrub is native to the Eastern United States and can grow up to 10 feet tall and just as wide.

A host plant for the beautiful hydrangea sphinx moth, this popular ornamental has numerous varieties with different-colored flowers, including the "Annabelle" cultivar with white blooms, as well as the Bella Anna, which blooms bright pink. Its large, dome-shaped flowers appear profusely from early summer until fall.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to dappled shade.
  • Soil Needs: Medium, well-draining. More water if plant receives full sun.
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Creeping Juniper (Juniperus agnieszka 'Horizontalis')

view of perennial flower beds in the winter sun when asters bloom and the messages look flawless even when they are dry. Sage has
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This juniper variety is a low-growing and dense coniferous evergreen shrub native to North America, prized for its flattened growth habit that works well as ground cover.

A rapid grower, this plant can outpace weeds and other nuisance plants that might appear in the yard, and can also work as an alternative to grass. This creeping juniper variety doesn't require mowing and reaches a maximum height of around half a foot.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining. Prefers sandy soil but tolerant of other types.
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Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Closeup shot of An Evergreen winterberry or Inkberry Holly
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A slow-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub, inkberry is native to the United States and commonly found in sandy woods and along the edges of swamps and bayous. Typically reaching between 5 feet and 8 feet tall, dwarf varieties like the "compacta" are also available, with a height closer to 4 feet. Part of the holly family, this plant produces dark purple berries in the fall.

In terms of maintenance, this shrub has root suckers that easily and quickly spread within a couple years if not removed.

  • USDA Growing Zones: Generally 5 to 9, but check your specific variety.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun to partial shade. Prefers west-facing exposure.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, acidic soil. Prefers moist soil and can tolerate some standing water.
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Azalea (Rhododendron sp.)

Spring in Suburbia
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Flowering shrubs in the rhododendron genus, azaleas are a group of more than 10,000 cultivars that come in a variety of sizes and colors. The plant is popular because it's tolerant to a many climates and can even thrive in shady parts of the garden.

These shrubs bloom dense, umbrellalike clusters of elliptic-shaped flowers from spring through June. The standard garden azalea is about 4 to 6 feet in height, but dwarf varieties are about half that size.

  • USDA Growing Zones: Generally 6 to 9, but some varieties can grow in zones 4 to 5.
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade.
  • Soil Needs: Acidic, well-draining.
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American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Danica')

Thuja occidentalis Danica round shape Decorative garden

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This drawf, evergreen, coniferous shrub is dense and rounded, with upright, bright green leaves that tint bronze in the winter. Reaching between 1 foot and 2 feet in both height and spread, this shrub works well in a middle front yard garden placement, between larger shrubs or small trees and flowers or ground cover.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 1 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun. Can tolerate some shade, but foliage will be less dense.
  • Soil Needs: Tolerates a wide range including wet areas near waterways.
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Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

Photinia hedge
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A hybrid between Photinia glabra and Photinia serratifolia, red tip photinia is an evergreen shrub with leaves that emerge red-tipped and transition to green as they mature. Popular along fences or as garden edging, this plant grows quickly and can reach between 10 feet and 15 feet in height and width.

These plants will need regular pruning, with some people also removing the flowers it produces each spring, said to have an unpleasant odor.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy.
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Bayberry (Morella pensylvanica)

Myrica pensylvanica or bayberry green plant in sunlight
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A compact deciduous shrub that works well planted in groups, bayberry reaches an average size between 6 feet and 10 feet, though several smaller, dwarf ornamental varieties have also been cultivated. Native to Eastern North America, the plant produces clumps of berries in late summer that are attractive to birds.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, moist. Prefers peaty and acidic but tolerates range.
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Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

Mapleleaf Viburnum with red berries

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Found natively in the Eastern and Central regions of the United States, this viburnum species provides a feast of color. In the spring, beautiful clusters of white flowers and their delicious nectar attract butterflies and bees. Then, squirrels and birds flock to the shrub's red berrylike fruit during the summer. In the fall, its foliage turns orange, red, and purple.

Mapleleaf viburnum reaches heights between 4 feet and 6 feet, and spreads a maximum of 6 feet wide.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Shade tolerant.
  • Soil Needs: Can handle dry, rocky soils. Prefers moist, acidic, well-drained soil.
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Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Yellow and red cornus/dogwood stems in winter
Yellow and red cornus/dogwood stems in winter.

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Also known as red willow, this species is a deciduous shrub popular for its deep red stems, which make it quite appealing even when it loses its leaves. Its white blossoms bloom in late spring, followed by small white berries that embellish it during late summer and fall and are eaten by at least 18 species of birds, such as ruffed grouse and bobwhite quail.

Redosier dogwood is fast-growing, reaching between 7 feet and 9 feet in height when mature. Though once-a-year pruning is sufficient, cutting it back to the ground helps maintain the vibrant red of its younger stems. Its fibrous root system is great for erosion control.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Quite versatile, but prefers moist, well-drained soil.
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Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa')

Big green shrub on the sidewalk of new york city
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Reaching a maximum size of 3 feet high by 3 feet wide, this dense, hardy, low-maintenance evergreen shrub prefers evenly moist areas with partial shade. This dwarf boxwood works well in container entrance gardens, as low hedging, or as ground cover.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade, but partial shade for ideal appearance.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining and evenly moist loamy mix.
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Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

trimmed rosemary bush blooms in winter over fallen leaves
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This fragrant evergreen shrub has needlelike leaves and is part of the mint family, along with many other culinary herbs. Rosemary produces small flowers year-round in ideal warm climates, and blooms in the spring and summer in more temperate regions. Its flowers, like the needles, are also edible and taste similarly if not slightly sweeter.

This drought tolerant shrub typically reaches heights between 3 feet and 4 feet and needs to be pruned to maintain a neat shape.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining; good air circulation. Dislikes humidity and does best outdoors in arid regions.
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Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus)

Purple Persian Shield plant
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Native to Myanmar, Persian shield is a flowering, tropical, evergreen shrub also known as royal purple plant. These plants typically reach between 3 feet and 4 in height and enjoy warmth and humidity, being best suited to southern coastal climates that rarely experience cool temperatures. In cooler climates, it can be grown as an annual, and is a popular ornamental, given its vibrant, purple foliage.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Organic, rich, well-draining.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • When should you plant shrubs in your garden?

    Most shrubs should be planted from September through October, before they go dormant. They need about six weeks to establish their root systems before the ground freezes.

  • When should a shrub be pruned?

    With flowering shrubs, the best time to prune is after flowering. Old blooms should be removed (this is called "deadheading") to make room for new growth. Otherwise, you only need to prune to maintain shape and size.

  • Which shrubs grow best in pots?

    People who live in urban environments or harsh climates might benefit from planting their shrubs in containers rather than directly into the ground. This way, shrubs can be moved around and brought inside to avoid bad weather. Most evergreen shrubs are suitable for pot planting, including boxwood, holly, azaleas, and rhododendrons. The care is virtually the same except container shrubs may need occasional repotting.