The best evergreen shrubs for in front of a house tend to be tidy, low-growing plants with year-round interest. Good choices are also generally low maintenance overall, growing naturally into the desired size and shape rather than being controlled with frequent pruning. Here are some of the best evergreen shrubs for in front of your house.
1. Winter Gem boxwood
Winter Gem boxwood (Buxus microphylla japonica ‘Winter Gem’) is a classic small evergreen that works very well as a foundation plant in front of a house. Popular in both traditional and modern garden designs, these plants grow to a petite mature size of 2-4 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide.
‘Winter Gem’ is most commonly used as a low-growing hedging plant or low-growing foundation plant. They work well along the walkway to the front door or along an adjacent driveway. The plants can be left unpruned as the ultimate low-maintenance evergreen shrubs. For a formal appearance, they can be sheared into a straight hedge several times per year. These boxwoods can also be planted in containers on your front porch and sheared into a dense shrub.
Winter Gem boxwood grows best in the sun but is tolerant of partial shade. These plants thrive in Zones 5-9.
2. Blue Star juniper
Blue Star juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) is a very small cultivar of needled evergreen. These drought tolerant plants are mounded and symmetrical, reaching a mature size of 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
‘Blue Star’ is most commonly used as a foundation planting in front of homes and other buildings. These low maintenance shrubs can also be used as a ground cover plant in larger spaces and on gently sloping hills. The silvery-blue foliage color makes this plant a wonderful choice for adding texture and tone to your garden design.
Blue Star juniper should be planted in full sun for the best results, as juniper is not particularly tolerant of shade. These slow-growing plants thrive in Zones 4-8 and are particularly deer resistant if your yard is along a wildlife grazing path.
3. Eternal Fragrance daphne
Eternal Fragrance daphne (Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’) is a broadleaved evergreen flowering shrub known for its beautiful scent. This compact variety grows to a mature size of 2-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide.
The floral scent of these flowering shrubs makes them a good choice for along a walkway or next to an entryway. Place them around a patio or deck, where they can be fully enjoyed. They can also be massed along a gentle slope or planted in your front yard up against a picket fence, where passersby can enjoy the fragrance.
Daphne flowers best in full sun, but is tolerant of partial shade. This plant thrives in Zones 6-9.
4. Sprinter boxwood
Sprinter boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Bulthouse’) is one of the fastest-growing boxwood varieties available. These quick-growers reach their mature size of 2-4 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide in only a few years.
This boxwood cultivar is commonly used as a foundation planting, hedge plant, border shrub, or as a specimen planting/accent plant. The shrubs can be left unpruned for a natural look or sheared into a tight linear form.
The bright green foliage makes these plants excellent shrubs for the front of a property because it looks great year-round. You can even dress up your foundation plantings for Christmas rather than buying boxwood wreaths for the porch!
Boxwood grows best in the sun but is tolerant of partial shade. This shrub thrives in Zones 5-8. Boxwood shrubs are also quite deer resistant and are tolerant of acidic soil.
5. Hollywood juniper
Hollywood juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’) is a tall evergreen shrub with unique twisted foliage. These fast-growing shrubs have a wind-blown appearance and reach a mature size of about 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
This juniper cultivar is a superstar! It is most often used as a feature plant to mark gateways or to soften the look of privacy walls around estate properties. While the natural form is rustic and gorgeous, it can also be made into a specialty topiary.
Hollywood juniper grows best in direct sun. This plant thrives in Zones 5-9.
6. Little Gem Norway Spruce
Little Gem Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Little Gem’) is a tidy, low-growing evergreen shrub. This needled evergreen grows to a mature size of only 1-2 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.
‘Little Gem’ is a popular foundation plant for small buildings and specimen plants in eye-catching garden beds. They grow at a slow pace, so you won’t have to worry about them taking over their space. These gems require next to no maintenance!
Little Gem Norway spruce grows best in full sun. These shrubs are particularly cold-hardy, and can be grown in Zones 2-8.
7. Green Mountain boxwood
Green Mountain boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’) is a small cone-shaped broadleaf evergreen shrub. These beautiful plants grow to a mature size of 3-5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide.
Being that it is pyramidal, ‘Green Mountain’ is mostly used for aesthetic purposes. Try planting it in the back of a garden or at the end of a hedge. It also serves as a unique topiary specimen.
These shrubs for the front are another holiday favorite, as they can be dressed up as Christmas trees for the holidays. The light green foliage stands out nicely with some red ribbons on a snowy winter day, making it one of the best shrubs for year-round appeal.
Green Mountain boxwood grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. These plants grow best in Zones 5-8.
8. Bird’s Nest spruce
Bird’s Nest spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’) is a specialty cultivar of Norway spruce known for its low-growing spreading growth habit. Mature plants typically reach a mature size of about 3 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.
These plants are used almost exclusively as feature plants due to their unique form. As the name suggests, the plants are bowl-shaped, with the outside perimeter of the foliage growing taller than the foliage in the center of the plant.
Bird’s Nest spruce should be planted in full sun for best results. While they do need watering often when newly planted, these aren’t the best plants for locations with consistently moist soil. This slow-growing plant thrives in Zones 3-7.
9. Hinoki cypress
Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is an evergreen species that offers several smaller cultivars. Here are three compact cultivars that make wonderful foundation plants:
- ‘Night Light’ Hinoki cypress (matures to 4-5 feet tall, 4-5 feet wide)
- ‘Koster’s’ Hinoki cypress (matures to 4-5 feet tall, 4-5 feet wide)
- ‘Tempelhof’ Hinoki cypress (matures to 8-10 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide)
Hinoki cypress, also referred to in commerce as “false cypress,” is native to Japan. These plants tend to grow best in Zones 5-8.
10. Densiformis yew
Densiformis yew (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’) is a needled evergreen with a spreading growth habit. These plants reach a mature size of 3-4 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide. We’ve had a pair of these growing right in front of our house for decades and they still are tidy and compact.
Densiformis (Dense) yew is best known for its use as a foundation plant in front of houses and other buildings. They can also be used to create low hedges. These shrubs are tolerant of shearing, so they can be pruned into a variety of shapes.
Yew grows most quickly in full sun but is also tolerant of shady conditions. This plant thrives in Zones 4-7.
11. Grey Owl juniper
Grey Owl juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’) is a dwarf needled evergreen cultivar. Mature plants are about twice as wide as they are tall. They usually grow to a size of 2-3 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide.
This juniper has a very fine texture and arching branches. These characteristics make it perfect for mass plantings, such as over a slightly sloping area adjacent to a yard or even as a small hedge.
Grey Owl juniper grows best in full sun but may appreciate a bit of afternoon shade in the hottest climates. This plant thrives in Zones 4-9.
12. Emerald Gaiety euonymus
Emerald Gaiety euonymus (Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’) is a broadleaf evergreen known for its variegated leaves. This low-growing mounded plant reaches a mature size of 2-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
Plant ‘Emerald Gaiety’ to create a foundation planting alongside a building or as part of your year-round interest in your perennial garden bed. These low-maintenance plants can also reduce mowing requirements by being planted en masse over a gently sloping area.
Emerald Gaiety euonymus grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade and even of full shade (although the variegation likely won’t be as striking). These plants thrive in Zones 5-9.
13. Emerald Fountain Canadian hemlock
Emerald Fountain Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis ‘Monler’) is a needled evergreen plant with beautiful dark green foliage. This plant reaches a mature size of 6-12 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.
Canadian hemlock is commonly used as a privacy hedge or a screen. The plants don’t require much pruning and can be left to grow naturally into an informal hedge. You can also plant one specimen on each side of the front of the house to visually frame the building. They make lovely perimeter plants around a bed of English shrub roses or another feature area.
Emerald Fountain Canadian Hemlock grows best in full sun (in cooler climates). These plants thrive in Zones 3-8.
14. Carol Mackie daphne
Carol Mackie daphne (Daphne × burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’) is a wonderful broadleaf plant perfect for the front of your house in warmer climates. These showy shrubs bloom in early spring with fragrant flowers. Mature plants typically reach a size of 3-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
The plant itself has variegated foliage. It is evergreen in more temperate climates but will lose its leaves in colder regions. In those colder areas, the leaves may take some time to grow back in the Spring. If growing this plant in Zones 5-6, treat it more like a deciduous shrub in your landscaping plan and give it a spot where summer blooms can be appreciated.
The white flowers bloom best in the sun but can tolerate some shade. This is not the best choice for a home’s curb appeal in a cold, shaded front yard. This plant grows best in Zones 5-9 and is typically evergreen in Zones 7-9.
15. Green Gem boxwood
Green Gem boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Gem’) is a classic small evergreen for formal gardens. These plants grow naturally into a compact ball shape, reaching a mature size of only 2-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide.
‘Green Gem’ plants are most commonly used as formal foundation plants, low hedge plants, or edging plants. They can be left unpruned to grow naturally or trimmed into a formal sheared shape.
Green Gem boxwood grows best in the sun but is tolerant of partial shade (and I even have some growing successfully – albeit slowly – in full shade). These plants are also very cold-hardy and thrive in Zones 4-9.
16. Perfume Princess daphne
Perfume Princess daphne (Daphne x ‘Perfume Princess’) is a flowering evergreen shrub known for its highly-scented and long-lasting flowers. This plant grows to a mature size of about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Daphne is best planted where it can be enjoyed. This variety blooms particularly early and for a particularly long time. It works well as a foundation planting (especially under a working window, where its fragrance can be enjoyed indoors and out). It’s also perfect beside a driveway, pathway, or entrance.
Daphne flowers best in full sun as long as the plant receives enough water. This cultivar is particularly tolerant of sunlight and heat in warmer climates and is a good choice for a sunny spot. These shrubs are also tolerant of partial shade, and while they may not flower as much in the shade, they won’t require watering as frequently and may benefit from afternoon shade in the hottest climates. Perfume Princess daphne can be grown in Zones 7-9.
17. Soft Caress mahonia
Soft Caress mahonia (Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’) is a dwarf mahonia variety with a compact growth habit. This yellow-flowering plant grows to a mature size of 3-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
This plant can work as an accent plant or in a low mass planting, depending on your needs. While most types of Mahonia have sharp leaves, this variety is named for its softer leaves. This makes it more suitable for beside walkways.
Mahonia grows best in partial sun to partial shade. While tolerant of full shade, the plant likely will not flower well with little available sunlight for photosynthesis. This plant thrives in Zones 7-9.
18. Sunshine ligustrum
Sunshine ligustrum (Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’) is a small evergreen shrub known for its bright golden-green foliage. A variety of privet, this fast-growing shrub grows to a mature size of about 3-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
Sunshine ligustrum is resistant to many common pests and diseases and also resistant to many environmental conditions. It is resistant to deer, pest insects, and many mildew fungal diseases. Ligustrum is typically both drought and heat tolerant once established.
This low-growing shrub can be planted as a single specimen, a grouping of specimens, or as a low border along a walkway. The light green can easily add to curb appeal as a pop of bright color in the front yard.
19. Fragrant tea olive
Fragrant tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is a slow-growing evergreen flowering shrub. These beautiful plants reach a mature size of about 10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.
Tea olive shrubs are often planted on their own as specimen plants, in the same way you would gardenias. They have a jasmine-like scent, which makes them ideal for beside breezy pathways.
Fragrant tea olive flowers bloom best when the plants are located in a sunny planting spot. They can also be planted in some shade, particularly if you live in a very hot climate. These plants thrive in Zones 7-10.
20. Dwarf mugo pine
Mugo pine is a popular specimen plant for front yards and garden beds where sight lines must be maintained. The plants are generally planted alone but can also be grouped organically in larger spaces. This compact shrub almost looks like a bonsai tree in the landscape.
Dwarf mugo pine grows best in direct sunlight. This cold-hardy species thrives in Zones 2-8.
21. Japanese skimmia
Japanese skimmia (Skimmia japonica) is a slow-growing broadleaf flowering evergreen shrub. These mounded plants eventually reach a mature size of 2-5 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide.
There are many ways to use this plant in your landscaping, from a low hedge to a container plant. If you have one of each gender planted together, the small cream-white flowers will turn into bright red berries by late summer. Just be sure not to put them in dry soil – they prefer places with consistently wet soil (although stagnant soggy soil is not good).
Skimmia should not be planted in full sun and should instead be sited in partial sun (at most). This plant is quite tolerant of partial shade and even full shade. It’s a great choice for a small flowering shrub in a shade garden. Japanese skimmia thrives in Zones 7-9.
22. Green Velvet boxwood
Green Velvet boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Velvet’) is a spreading broadleaf evergreen. These rounded shrubs typically reach a mature size of 3-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
Green Velvet boxwood plants are characterized by their round, sphere-like shape. You can either allow the plant to grow naturally or trim it into a neat ball for a more polished appearance. These boxwoods also look great when planted alone or in pairs (either symmetrically or grouped together arbitrarily). They are commonly used to create low hedges (about 3 feet tall) because of their size and color.
Green Velvet boxwood grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. This shrub grows best in Zones 5-9 and is resistant to winter bronzing at the cooler end of this range.
23. Japanese aralia
Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica) is a rounded broadleaf evergreen shrub for warm climates that’s known for its large, exotic leaves and ornamental black berries. Also called paper plants, they grow at a moderate rate to reach a mature size of 5-8 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide.
Fatsia japonica is very versatile in the landscape. It can be used as a foundation plant, a privacy screen at the back of a perennial garden bed, or alongside a patio or pool. This evergreen flowering shrub blooms in late winter with delicate white flowers. In cool climates, Japanese Aralia can be planted in a container and moved indoors when there is the threat of frost.
Japanese aralia should not be planted in direct sun and should instead be sited in partial sun (at most). This plant is also tolerant of partial shade and even full shade. Japanese aralia is a warm-climate plant and thrives in Zones 8-11.
24. Manhattan euonymus
Manhattan euonymus (Euonymus kiautschovicus ‘Manhattan’) is a fast-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub. These vigorous plants look a bit like giant boxwoods and reach a mature size of 6-8 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.
There are many ways to use euonymus shrubs in your front garden landscaping. They make great informal hedges and can be planted alone or with other plants. You can also trim them into a more formal shape or train them to grow along a wall.
Manhattan euonymus grows best in full sun but is quite tolerant of shade. While the plant won’t grow as vigorously in full shade as it would in full sun, it still manages to put on quite a bit of growth each year. This plant thrives in Zones 5-8.
25. August Beauty gardenia
August Beauty gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’) is a gorgeous small flowering evergreen shrub. Suitable only for warm climates, this plant grows to a mature size of 4-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
‘August Beauty’ is the perfect plant for beside entryways, gates, and doors. It will welcome visitors when planted alongside your front walk. It also is a perfect bush for adding to cozy courtyard settings where its beautiful scent can be enjoyed.
August Beauty gardenia flowers best when planted in direct sunlight. This warm-climate plant thrives in Zones 8-11 and is only cold-hardy down to about 20℉ (-7°C).
26. Cherry laurel
Cherry laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) are tall broadleaf evergreen shrubs known for their shiny dark green leaves and showy white flowers. These fast-growing flowering evergreens typically grow to a mature size of 10-12 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.
Perfect for hedges, living fences, or even as a standalone specimen shrub, cherry laurel’s flowers attract pollinators before ripening into small red fruits that serve as sustenance for birds.
These shrubs grow best in sunny spots where the white flowers tend to bloom best. That said, laurel is also tolerant of some shade. Laurel is also semi-tolerant to salty soil.
27. Sky Pencil holly
Sky Pencil holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’) is a narrow evergreen shrub. These slow-growing skinny plants grow naturally in a columnar with minimal pruning. They reach a mature size of 6-8 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide.
Sky Pencil holly is most commonly used as a hedge plant to create a low screen. You can plant them along a path to define the walkway or around a patio. They can also be used to screen an unsightly fence or even your recycling bins. A single specimen is also useful as a tall accent in smaller gardens.
Sky Pencil holly grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. These manageable shrubs are also well-suited to container planting. This cultivar is a female variety and will produce berries if grown nearby to a male cultivar.
28. Debutante camellia
Debutante camellia (Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’) is a relatively low-maintenance flowering evergreen shrub. These pretty plants grow to reach a mature size of 8-12 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide.
Camellias are best planted where their gorgeous flowers can be most frequently enjoyed. Use them as a privacy hedge along a pathway, where their evergreen foliage is useful year-round and the flowers can be enjoyed in the spring. Their peony-like flowers also make wonderful flowering backdrops for herbaceous perennials.
Camellias flower best when planted in full sun but are somewhat tolerant of partial shade. These plants thrive in Zones 7-10 and are hardy down to 10°F (-12°C).
29. Wax myrtle
Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) is a large broadleaf evergreen shrub. This quick-grower has dense foliage and reaches a mature size of about 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
These tall shrubs are perfect for privacy screens and tall hedges, as they keep their leaves year-round in most climates. Their dainty green-yellow flowers also make a wonderful living backdrop for your perennial beds or a wildlife garden space (the birds love the fruit in the wintertime).
Wax myrtle grows best in full sun but is tolerant of partial shade. This plant is for warmer climates and thrives in Zones 7-11.
30. Moonglow juniper
Moonglow juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’) is a tall evergreen shrub with attractive silvery-green foliage. These popular plants reach a mature size of 18-20 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.
Moonglow junipers are often used as hedges or tall privacy screens. They have a natural pyramidal shape and require very little maintenance (unless they are regularly trimmed into a formal hedge). Junipers are also common in wildlife gardens, as they provide valuable habitat for songbirds.
Moonglow juniper grows best in full sun, and is not tolerant of shady conditions. That said, this plant is very cold-hardy and can be grown in Zones 3-7.
31. Dwarf black spruce
Dwarf black spruce (Picea mariana ‘Nana’) is a classic low-maintenance evergreen for a front yard rock garden or xeriscaped area. This dense slow-growing shrub eventually reaches a mature size of about 3 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.
This needled plant has a deep green tone with almost a blue appearance. Its rounded growth habit and colorful foliage stand out in the winter landscape and provide a nice backdrop to herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses in the summertime.
These low-growing shrubs grow best in well-draining soil and are very winter-hardy. Black spruce can be grown in Zones 3-8.
FAQs about choosing evergreen shrubs to plant in front of your house
What are the best low-growing shrubs for in front of a house?
Densiformis Yew (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’): 3-4 feet tall
Winter Gem Boxwood (Buxus ‘Winter Gem’): 2-4 feet tall
Little Gem Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Little Gem’): 1-2 feet tall
Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’): 2-3 feet tall
Sprinter Boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Bulthouse’): 2-4 feet tall
What are the best shrubs for the front of a house in full sun?
Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)
Bird’s Nest Spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’)
Winter Gem Boxwood (Buxus microphylla japonica ‘Winter Gem’)
Little Gem Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Little Gem’)
Hollywood Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’)
What are the best shrubs for the front of a house in the shade?
Densiformis Yew (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’)
Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)
Emerald Gaiety Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’)
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica)
Winter Gem Boxwood (Buxus microphylla japonica ‘Winter Gem’)
- Small evergreen shrubs
- Low-maintenance evergreen shrubs
- Fast-growing evergreen shrubs
- Best evergreen shrubs for privacy
- Colorado State University Extension, Evergreen Shrubs
- University of Missouri Extension, Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-leaved Evergreens
- University of Minnesota Extension, Choosing evergreens for your landscapes
- PennState Extension, Evergreen Native Plants
More landscaping shrubs
Time to add some shrubs to your landscape to brighten things up year-round, provide privacy, and perhaps even some flowers?