How to Landscape With Dwarf Shrubs


Planting shrubs in useful places around the garden can create borders, add a background to other plants, hide unsightly areas or walls and line walkways. By using dwarf shrubs, you gain the benefits of shrubs in landscaping without losing visibility around your home since these short bushes tend to be only 2 to 3 feet tall with a general maximum height of 4 feet. Once you know how you want to landscape with dwarf shrubs, you can select the shrub that is right for your property.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Tape measure
  • Fill a dark or drab area of your property with flowering dwarf shrubs if you want to brighten the space and add more color. Consistent flowering shrubs include dwarf azaleas and some varieties of hydrangea.

  • Add scents and fresh fragrances to the landscape by incorporating short, shrubby herbs like lavender or rosemary to define a flower garden edge or line a walkway. This will provide a visual border while also putting aromas in the air when brushed past or in wind.

  • Place evergreen dwarf shrubs against unattractive walls or fences to cover the bottom few feet of space to hide the area. Dwarf boxwoods and juniper plants can create visual interest and add greenery to the area all year long to provide full coverage instead of only blocking the view during the spring and summer months.

  • Place shrubs that will deter visitors under windows or around doorways by sticking with defensive dwarf roses or Japanese barberry bushes, which take up space with thorn-covered branches. These can discourage burglars as well as cats, dogs and other pests.

  • Plant lush dwarf shrubs behind decorative or display plantings of short, eye-catching flowers. Dwarf varieties of a butterfly bush or sedum can fill in the space nicely without distracting from the plants in front of them.

  • Make a simple, bird'seye-view sketch of the outside of your home on a sheet of paper. Use a tape measure to note the actual length of walls, fences or walkways on your paper. Fill in your sketch, planning the types of plants you want to grow, and use your measurements to determine how many shrubs you'll need.

Tips & Warnings

  • As with any outdoor plant project, check with your local nursery to see what dwarf shrubs perform well in your area and USDA growing zone or research the plants you're interested in online before purchasing or planting them.

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  • "Landscaping: Principles & Practices"; Jack E. Ingels; 2004
  • "Grounds for Improvement"; Dean Hill, Jackie Taylor; 2007
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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