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Why You Must Consider Evergreens in Your Landscape

Add Life and Color to Your Winter Landscape – and Year-Round!

 

You’ve decided to put together a landscape plan for your home. How exciting! You can’t wait for the day when your home is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. You’ve found a ton of inspiration in all kinds of beautiful photographs. You’re almost ready to get started, except …

Hundreds of questions run through your mind. What are you supposed to include? What plants and trees work best in your climate? Where do you even begin?

We get it. There are many questions to consider when first starting out, and you might find yourself thinking that putting together a landscape plan is more overwhelming than it is fun. Before you have feelings of wanting to give up, we suggest taking a step back and beginning with the basics.

What are we referring to here? Evergreens, of course! No matter your style or climate, they are the one plant that you always want to consider in your landscape. Why’s that? Read on to find out! 

 

 

Evergreens "Liven Up" the Cold Weather

Spring has beautiful, blossoming flowers in endless colors. Summer has its own brilliance with the constant growth of greenery. Fall is stunning as the leaves change to bright red, orange, and yellow. Winter is … well, dull. Deciduous trees lose their leaves, annual plants die for the season, and most perennials shrivel up, leaving the landscape colorless and barren. In places where temperatures reach freezing day after day, we long for some sign of growth or a glimpse of color. This is reason number one you should include evergreens in your landscape plan.

Planting evergreens will give you that glimpse of color – all year round. Even in the cold winter months, humble evergreens show off their brilliant green color. When topped with a fresh coat of snow, evergreens are picture perfect!

Evergreens to try: Blue Spruce and Scotch Pine

Even in the dead of winter, the deep greens of evergreen trees and shrubs in the home landscape remind you of the life that lies in your garden – and will burst forth in a few short months.

 

 

Countless Shapes and Sizes

Perhaps you want a mix of tall, short, wide, skinny, dark, and light plants for your landscape. Evergreens offer so many possibilities that it’s almost impossible not to find what you want. Mix and match evergreens with your other favorite plants and trees, and you’ll create your very own paradise right in your backyard.

Evergreens to try: Mugo Pine and Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Here's a great example of a landscape garden that makes good use of the many kinds of evergreens available: low, creeping ground covers, low dwarf bushes, pyramidal and round shrubs, thin trees, and full dwarf trees, to name a few (courtesy Airmax).

 

 

Lay Down “Nature’s Carpet”

Are you sick of lugging the mower down the slope in your front yard? The worst part is that even after you mow, the weeds that cover the slope are back within a few days and you feel that all your hard work is for nothing. That’s exactly why you should cover stubborn areas like this with evergreens!

Certain evergreens are known as nature’s carpet and, when planted correctly, can completely cover hard-to-mow areas, such as slopes and uneven ground. The area you used to hate will now be covered in lush greenery throughout the year and require little to no maintenance from you. Sounds like a win-win!

Evergreens to try: Celtic Pride Siberian Cypress and spreading Juniper varieties

Juniper ground cover

Filling in expansive areas with ground covers is better than using grass. There is less water required, and you don't have to mow every week during the summer, wasting time and fuel. What's more, in winter an evergreen ground cover, like these varieties of juniper, will stay green, reminding you of the spring to come.

 

 

Rock Garden? Enhance Its Beauty

A rock garden is an excellent add-on to your landscape plan. It brings a rustic, natural look to your design and requires little to no maintenance. For the best results, you’ll want to add plants throughout your rock garden for contrast.

Evergreens are essential for the rock garden, as you can enjoy the contrast of color all year long.

Evergreens to try: Dwarf Japanese Cypress and Dwarf Mugo Pine

Evergreens in a rock garden

Evergreens, such as varieties of cypress, pines (especially dwarf varieties like mugo), and spruces, are ideal for filling in and dressing up a rock garden in a home landscape. 

 

 

Focus on the Focal Points

You’ve worked so hard on your landscape. All that time you put in and still people only seem to notice that the siding on your house needs a new coat of paint or your neighbor's fantastic pool. How can you get them to notice your beautiful landscape instead? Create a focal point by planting evergreens! Evergreens stand out from other plants and trees because of their year-round luscious green color, making them ideal to use as a focal point. Plant evergreens in an area you’d like to emphasize – such as your courtyard -  and create a cool design, arrange them in a pattern, or leave them natural and let their beauty speak for themselves.

Evergreens to try: Weeping Alaskan Cedar and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar

Evergreens in the landscaping for House Plan #153-1095

This 4-bedroom, 4-bath European style home makes good use of evergreens in the landscape. The taller – though still dwarf – trees at the corner and along the walls call attention to those areas of the house. What's more, trimmed boxwoods along the walkway and short shrubs between them and the foundation plantings fill in the area and contrast with the flowering plants in the foreground of the landscaping (House Plan #153-1095).

 

 

Perfect Screen Plants

No matter how much you like your neighbors, you’re probably not thrilled that your view is the side of their house. And the fact that your neighbors can look directly into your living room from their backyard probably doesn’t excite you either. Everyone wants privacy – especially in their own home!

That's another great reason why you should include evergreens in your landscape plan. Tall and/or wide evergreens are a great way to help enclose your yard and create a privacy screen from your neighbors. You’ll not only create a distinction between your space and your neighbors, but once those evergreens grow, privacy will be yours.

If privacy isn't an issue, maybe you find yourself starting a new garden every year, because no matter what you do, animals eat your plants and flowers. How frustrating!

Create a boundary by planting evergreens! Once your hedges grow to the proper size, you’ll be able to keep unwanted animals out and your plants and flowers protected from strong winds. Evergreen planting around your home has its benefits too – when done correctly, strong winds will be filtered away from your house, helping to keep your home warmer in cold months, all while reducing your heating bills.

Evergreens to try: Juniper 'Skyrocket' and Arborvitae

Arborvitae screen planting
Planting a line of fast-growing evergreens like the Green Giant Arborvitae trees above is a good way to screen your yard and create some privacy – as well as a noise and wind screen – with landscaping.

 

 

Grand Garden Border

When you’re ready to look for finishing touches to your landscape plan, you might find that adding borders will make a big difference. Borders are a tremendous way to tie your entire garden together. You can also use a border to differentiate between sections in your garden or create a walking path throughout.

Borders created with evergreens add an excellent contrast to other plants and flowers. Consider evergreens that grow in a narrow strip for the best results.

Evergreens to try: Evergreen Viburnum and Golden Cypress

Evergreens in the landscaping for House Plan #123-1000

Two rows of shrubs, with trimmed and rounded evergreen shrubs on the outside of the borders, line the slightly curved walkway to this 3-bedroom, 2-bath Country home (House Plan #123-1000).

 

 

Trellis-Trained Ornamentation

Do you love the fairytale-esq look of vines growing up the side of a house? As pretty as it looks, you might have found out the hard way that it’s not exactly practical. Vines can block natural light coming into your home, damage the siding on your house, and give animals easy access to your roof. Not the fairytale you had in mind, eh?

Instead, add a trellis with evergreen vines to your landscape plan. Now you can incorporate beautiful vines into your landscape without the issues they bring when they grow directly on your home. Try creating a trellis fence with vines for privacy or use a single trellis as a focal point. Even if your trellis is near the siding of your home, you can better control how large and where the vine grows.

Evergreens to use: Fiveleaf Akebia and English Ivy

An evergreen perennial, English ivy can be trained on trellises to serve as ornamental decoration on walls, for example. In the foreground are boxwood bushes, also common evergreen perennials in home landscaping.

 

 

Tip-Top Topiaries

Do you want your landscape to look like a famous European garden with carefully constructed and beautifully designed shrubs and hedges? Adding topiary to your landscape will achieve just that. Evergreen shrubs make the best plants for topiary as they have small leaves, and thick, dense foliage. You can shape them into whatever design you like, creating beautiful pieces that can be enjoyed year-round.

Evergreens to use: Spiral Cypress and Privet

Fine examples of topiary in the home landscape.

Meticulously cared for (actually trimmed twice each year), the evergreens in this painstakingly landscaped topiary garden call to mind the formal gardens you might see in the Paris Tuileries gardens or a French estate (Courtesy Architectural Digest Richard Felber).

 

Landscaping with evergreens is a must for your own yard. If you enjoy spending time outside at your home, it’s essential that you’re happy with the way your landscape looks throughout all seasons. There’s plenty of choices to choose from, so there will always be something to suit your style.

 

Now that your evergreen plans are ready, it’s time to get started with the rest of your landscape plan. Check out our 10 Tips to Make Your Home Landscaping Attractive and Successful to help you get the best results! Looking for specific evergreens to plant in your area? Try this native plant database to find what will work for you!

 

Footnote: the lead image for this article is of a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath Country style home plan with evergreens in the foundation plantings. For more information, click here (House Plan #142-1043)

Evergreens in the landscape

Landscaping with evergreens

Evergreen planting

Planting evergreens

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