Garden shrubs make all-season contributions to landscape designs but knowing when and where to plant them is important to achieve the desired effect. For instance, shrubs are commonly grouped with other shrubs or with herbaceous plants and annuals, but some actually look best when they are isolated. Others can be trained against walls where their stiff branches can provide support for climbers and creepers. Even though these woody perennials generally have several trunks or stems, they can be trained to grow as single-trunk plants so that they look like trees and fit into back or front yard landscape designs. While most shrubs take several years to reach their full size, temporary plants like annuals, herbaceous perennials, and dahlias may sometimes be used to temporarily fill space.
Successfully selecting shrubs requires considering their various qualities. For example, ornamental shrubs might be chosen for their colorful foliage, fruits, or quirky bark patterns. Others offer large, showy bouquets of flowers. Many stand out with fairly brief but brilliant blooms before blending into the background when their flowers fade. Still others are endowed with delightful fragrances. Evergreen shrubs retain their foliage all winter, which helps them standout from deciduous plants. Even deciduous shrubs provide ornamental branch patterns when they lose their leaves.
Form is another important element to consider. Certain shrubs are particularly ideal for hedging. For instance, low growing evergreen shrubs are generally hardy enough to not have serious problems, while still looking good. And they can be good all-season structural elements of a landscape design that are easy to shape.
Even though shrubs are commonly assigned the practical duty of being foundation plants, they may actually contribute as much to a landscape design as flowers. They may be selected for their unusual seasonal foliage, blooms, or fruit; these highly versatile living garden features can provide interest and color throughout the seasons. Knowing which garden shrubs to select and where to plant them is a vital component of a successfully designed outdoor living space.