21 Evergreen Shrubs (With Pictures) - For Front or Backyard (2024)

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Evergreen shrubs are perfect for privacy in a backyard and creating decorative garden features in a front yard. The beauty of growing evergreen shrubs in a garden landscape is that the bushy plants stay green all year long.

Some varieties of evergreen shrubs such as boxwood and Japanese Spindle are suitable for trimming to create classic formal privacy hedges. Other broad-leafed ornamental flowering bushes such as azaleas and laurustinus have a less formal appearance. These shrubs can brighten up your yard with stunning colors and scents. Whatever type of yard you have, there is a type of evergreen shrub to suit your needs.

The Best Evergreen Shrubs

Some of the best evergreen shrubs for your front or backyard are:

  • Boxwood—Evergreen ornamental landscaping shrubs with small oval glossy evergreen leaves – these shrubs grow to medium size.
  • Mahonia—Beautiful evergreen flowering shrubs that thrive in full sun or shade and produce stunning blossoms every year.
  • Cherry laurel—The upright and fast growth habit of the evergreen cherry laurel bushes make these perfect for flowering hedges or specimen bushes.
  • Anglo-Japanese yew—Evergreen perennial shrub with dense foliage that is ideal for low- or medium-height natural hedges or growing as an ornamental front yard bush.
  • Azaleas—Evergreen flowering shrubs with beautiful foliage, and round growing pattern make them spectacular shrubs for a garden landscape.
  • Dwarf Norway spruce—This small-growing low maintenance evergreen shrub has a low-spreading growth habit that is perfect as a specimen plant.
  • Laurustinus – Ornamental evergreen bush that is great for front or back yard.
  • Firethorn shrubs – Thorny evergreen plants with dense foliage and prickly stems that make an excellent privacy hedge.
  • Oregon Grape – Ornamental shrub with blue fruits.

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Plant evergreen shrubs in the front of house to increase the curb appeal or as a decorative element in your backyard.

How does a shrub differ from a small tree? Shrubs generally have multiple woody stems that grow from the ground, whereas trees typically have a single trunk. Although some types of trees are short, shrubs are usually small- to medium-sized bushy perennial plants.

Evergreen Shrubs for Your Garden (With Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide

There are many ways to use evergreen shrubs in a garden landscape. Shrubs with dense foliage can be clipped into ornamental shapes or formal boxed hedgerows. Or, strategically planting several shrubs can improve the aesthetic appeal of your front yard. Large-leaved shrubs are excellent for creating an informal garden at your house.

The list of evergreen shrubs below doesn’t just include bushy plants that are good for privacy hedges. Many conifers and broad-leafed shrubs are excellent choices for single specimen plants for a landscaped front yard. The pictures of evergreen shrubs in this list below will help you decide which types of plants suit your garden landscape.

Boxwood (Buxus) Evergreen Shrubs

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Boxwood is a popular low maintenance evergreen shrub which can be pruned to decorative shapes

Boxwood shrubs are highly popular evergreen landscaping plants for the front yard or backyard due to their soft, dense dark-green foliage that retains its color all winter.

Most boxwood varieties can be shaped as a specimen bush or grown as a short hedging plant. The hardy boxwood shrubs grow in full sun to full shade and can withstand some drought. Boxwood hedges are popular for privacy screens in backyards or shaped green bushes in front yards.

Boxwood cultivars such as ‘Green Velvet,’ ‘Blauer Heinz,’ and ‘Wintergreen’ are compact mounding shrubs. Buxus cultivars like the ‘Dee Runk’ and ‘Graham Blandy’ have an upright, columnar growth with lush green foliage.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Shrubs for Hedging

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Cherry Laurel is a flowering evergreen shrub with ornamental white flowers and red berries

Cherry laurel is a fast growing flowering evergreen shrub that can be used to landscape your front yard. The evergreen flowering Cherry laurel has shiny large lance-shaped leaves that make up lush, dense foliage. The attractive leaves make cherry laurel shrubs a versatile front or back yard shrub.

The low maintenance Cherry laurel shrub also produces a profusion of plum-scented white flower clusters, followed by bright red berries in the fall. Their lustrous green leaves, beautiful flower clusters, and red fruits make these evergreen shrubs ideal for any garden landscape.

Grow flowering cherry laurel shrubs in full sun or partial shade. The hardy shrubs are very low-maintenance and require average watering.

Japanese Andromeda (Pieris Japonica) – Evergreen Flowering Shrub

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The pink-red young leaves of Japanese Andromeda turn green when they mature

Evergreen flowering Japanese andromeda shrubs also have the names ‘Red Head’ or ‘Forest Flame’ due to its stunning pink or red foliage. The pinkish ovate leaves gradually turn dark green as creamy-white pendulous flowers appear. Shrubs in the Pieris genus provide plenty of color in spring and summer gardens.

Japanese andromeda shrubs are excellent for medium-sized privacy hedges as they stay green throughout the year. You can also grow the bushes as shrub borders or foundation plants in front yards.

Mahonia Evergreen Shrubs

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In this picture: Mahonia japonica bush with decorative reddish-purple foliage in winter. The striking broad-leaf, evergreen foliage ensures protection in your garden from wind and noise.

The glossy green foliage and clusters of bright flowers make Mahonia evergreen shrubs visually appealing throughout the year. Suitable for partial to full shade, these medium-sized ornamental shrubs have spiky leaves resembling holly shrubs. The bush is tolerant of drought and deer resistant. As a privacy hedge, its jagged foliage helps keep out intruders.

Some examples of excellent Mahonia landscaping shrubs include:

  • Japanese Mahonia (Mahonia japonica)—The ornamental shrub has large, leathery leaves with jaggy edges. Clusters of yellow flowers appear and give off a scent similar to lily-of-the-valley. In winter, the green foliage turns red or purple.
  • Mahonia x media ‘Buckland’—A tall, upright evergreen shrub with broad leaves comprising smaller leaflets. Sweetly-scented yellow flowers appear in winter that develop into purple berries in summer and fall.
  • Leatherleaf Mahonia (Mahonia bealei)—As a shade-loving shrub, this large winter-flowering evergreen plant has leathery, bluish-green leaves. Clusters of grape-like berries appear in late spring.

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) – Evergreen Shrub With Blue Fruits

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Oregon grape is a flowering evergreen shrub with yellow flowers in early spring, followed by blue berries

Perfect for shade gardens, this species of Mahonia—Oregon Grape— is an evergreen shrub that provides beautiful colors in a backyard throughout the season. Its leathery, holly-like leaves appear red in spring before turning green in summer and then turning deep burgundy in the fall. The small ornamental evergreen plant is excellent for creating shady borders.

The common name of this shrub comes from the clusters of blue berries that look like bunches of grapes.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrub

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The evergreen rosemary thrives in full sun and is an easy shrub to grow

Rosemary is a winter-flowering evergreen shrub that produces purple-blue flowers and a fragrant, fresh scent. The low maintenance shrub produces aromatic needle-like leaves that are a common herb in cooking. As a small shrub, rosemary can grow as an informal hedge, border plant, or in containers. Grow in full sun in well-draining soil.

Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) – Flowering Evergreen Shrub

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Laurustinus is an ornamental flowering evergreen bush that is great for planting in the front or backyard

Many Viburnum species are medium to tall flowering shrubs with glossy, dark green leaves and dense evergreen foliage. The striking feature of laurustinus is its masses of flower clusters and eye-catching blue or pink fruits. Their rounded growth habit makes these low maintenance evergreen shrubs excellent for hedges or mixed shrub borders.

The only maintenance that laurustinus shrubs require is some pruning to keep their shape. Depending on the cultivar, yearly trimming may be necessary as this informal hedge can grow up to 8 ft. (2.1 m).

Anglo-Japanese Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’)

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Yew ‘Hicksii’ is a hardy landscaping evergreen shrub that can be pruned to create a beautiful hedge in the front of house

The Anglo-Japanese yew is a popular front yard evergreen shrub due to its dense erect growth, green needle leaves and columnar shape that can be pruned to a rounded shape.

Yew shrubs are common hedging plants as they can be trimmed to create box-shaped formal hedges. These elegant landscaping shrubs are also popular in topiary—making shapes out of bushes.

The ‘Hicksii’ cultivar is the shrub cultivar of a larger tree. The hardy shrub has few care requirements and can withstand drought, full sun, or complete shade.

Holly (Ilex)

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Holly evergreen shrubs include various cultivars, some with variegated leaves

Evergreen holly bushes are excellent decorative shrubs due to their glossy, leathery foliage, spiky leaves, and red berries. Hollies are easy shrubs to care for and easy to trim into a low to medium-sized decorative hedge for privacy. Here are a few examples of evergreen holly shrubs for your yard:

  • Hedgehog holly (Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’)—Bright yellow and dark green variegated jaggy leaves give this large shrub a showy look to brighten up a winter garden.
  • Ilex ‘Red Beauty’—Dark-green spiny leaves and red berries give this evergreen shrub spectacular visual appeal in winter. Ideal for privacy and security hedges, shrub borders, or as a specimen plant.
  • Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’—As its name suggests, this evergreen shrub has upright, thin growth, just like a pencil. Small shiny dark green leaves and its columnar shape make this a unique holly. The ‘Sky Pencil’ holly is a perfect shrub for planting along a fence, using as a foundation or accent plant, or adding a green vertical accent to a front yard.

False holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus)

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False holly is a hardy evergreen shrub with dark green or variegated foliage (on the right)

This holly-like plant is an evergreen shrub that is related to olive plants. The leaf shape resembles holly plants—hence the name “false holly.” The easy-care shrub produces white fragrant flowers in winter before producing blue-black berry fruits. This hardy shrub is drought tolerant and survives well in full sun or partial shade.

Japanese Spindle (Euonymus japonicus)

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The Japanese Spindle dense evergreen foliage makes it one of the best shrubs for formal hedge

Japanese spindle are low maintenance evergreen shrubs that have cheerful yellow and soft green foliage. The small elongated oval leaves give the bush a compact, neat look, and it responds well to pruning to create a formal short hedge. The bushy shrub flowers in spring, and only reaches about 3 ft. (1 m) tall.

Here are some other Euonymus cultivars that are worth considering for your formal landscape:

  • Euonymus kiautschovicus ‘Manhattan’—This tall shrub has a rounded shape, broad evergreen leaves, and grows to 10 ft. (3 m) tall.
  • Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’—This short shrub has rounded variegated green and yellow leaves. An excellent choice for hedging, screens, border shrubs, or shrubbery in informal gardens.
  • Euonymus fortunei ‘Goldy’—Also called Wintercreeper, this shrub has bright yellow foliage and a low-spreading nature. Grow along garden borders to add year-long color to your front or back yard.
  • Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’—This cultivar is a variegated shrub with dark green leaves with contrasting white edging and markings.

Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica)

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Japanese Aralia is one of the best evergreen flowering shrubs for shade

The Japanese Arlia has spectacularly large glossy leaves with deep lobes and yellow veins. Its other common name is the glossy-leaf paper plant. The ornamental Japanese Arlia shrub thrives in shaded areas where it can grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) tall. Not great as a hedging plant, this flowering landscaping shrub is perfect as a specimen bush.

The stunning Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’ has bright white and green variegated leaves and clumps of white flowers.

Mountain pine (Pinus mugo ‘Gnom’ and ‘Allgau’)

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Pinus mugo is an evergreen pine shrub with several cultivars. In these pictures: Pinus mugo ‘Gnom’ (left) and ‘Allgau’ (right) – it’s one of the best dwarf evergreen trees for your garden.

This evergreen cultivar is a dwarf pine shrub-like tree with dense foliage made up of jade-green needle leaves. Perfect for small yards, this sun-loving small evergreen shrub grows naturally in a globular shape. You can grow this ornamental plant along formal borders or in a container.

This mountain pine grows to a maximum of 2 ft. (0.6 m) tall and a spread of 3 ft. (1 m).

Flowering Evergreen Azalea Shrubs

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Choose a type of evergreen azalea if you want a stunning flowering display in your front yard

If you are looking for an evergreen shrub for your backyard that produces showy flowers, choose a species of evergreen azalea. Azaleas have large deep green leafy foliage and spectacular blooms in pink, purple, blue, and white colors. Grow azalea shrubs as informal flowering hedges or privacy screens in backyards.

Here is a list of evergreen azalea shrubs:

  • Rhododendron ‘April Rose’—The plant Produces purple-red flowers up to 2” (5 cm) wide.
  • Rhododendron ‘Dora Amateis’—Enjoy clusters of white flowers on this evergreen shrub.
  • Rhododendron ‘Blue Tit’—A dense evergreen flowering shrub with stunning clusters of blue flowers.
  • Rhododendron ‘Hino Crimson’—A compact, spreading evergreen shrub with clusters of ball-shaped red flowers.

Juniper ‘Blue Star’ (Juniperus squamata)

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Juniper ‘Blue Star’ is a low growing and hardy evergreen shrub

Juniper ‘Blue Star’ is a dwarf evergreen shrub that has stunning silvery-blue foliage that turns deep purple in winter. The dwarf juniper is a perfect low growing shrub for front of house landscaping because it grows into a naturally round globe shape, with dense, compact foliage. This low-spreading shrub is excelling in rock gardens or small yards where space is limited.

There is no maintenance required with this miniature shrub, as it only has a slow growth rate.

Chinese Juniper ‘Mathot’ (Juniperus x pfitzeriana)

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Chinese Juniper ‘Mathot’ is a compact size juniper shrub that will increase the curb appeal of your front of house

The Chinese Juniper ‘Mathot’ is a perfect evergreen shrub for front yard landscaping and foundation plantings. This small evergreen shrub is a species of juniper that has soft, feathery evergreen foliage that keeps its color throughout the year.

The evergreen Chinese juniper shrub has minty-green conifer leaves that become darker in winter. Like most evergreen conifer shrubs, this beautiful bushy plant is a low-maintenance shrub.

This juniper is a popular foundation shrub for the front yard to improve curb appeal. As a specimen plant, it has a fountain-like growth, or you can trim it to create a low decorative hedge.

Firethorn (Pyracantha) – Evergreen Thorny Shrub

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Firethorn is a thorny shrub that can be used to create a decorative thorny hedge due to its evergreen foliage, ornamental red berries, and prickly stems

Firethorn shrubs are thorny evergreen plants with dense foliage and prickly stems. The thorny stems grow small, oval or lance-shaped leaves. The attractive feature of firethorn bushes is their enticing white spring flowers. After these shrubs finish blooming, clusters of brightly-colored orange or red berries appear.

Firethorn shrubs are excellent security hedges due to their spiny stems. They also create dense privacy hedges for keeping out noise, wind, and nosy neighbors.

Evergreen Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

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Indian Hawthorn is a type of evergreen flowering shrub with pink or white flowers. This image shows Rhaphiolepis indica cv. ‘Ballerina’

Indian hawthorn is a species of evergreen ornamental shrub that produces a profusion of pink or white flower clusters. The dense foliage consists of oval or oblong, deep-green leaves that have a glossy texture. The shrub’s evergreen foliage looks stunning throughout the year.

When planted together, the shrubs create a living privacy screen, or plant them as a foundation plant in a front yard.

Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pumila’)

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Dwarf Norway Spruce is a low spreading evergreen shrub which can tolerate sun, shade or partial shade

The dwarf Norway spruce is an excellent low maintenance front yard foundation plant that grows into a small mound of dense evergreen foliage. The needle-like leaves are a bright green color that stays the same shade all year long. You can plant this shrub as a low-spreading bush for ground cover. Or, you can grow it as a specimen plant to create a border in a sunny garden.

However, this circular-shaped shrub is a slow grower that only grows about 5” (12 cm) per year.

Winter Daphne (Daphne Odora)

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Winter Daphne is an evergreen flowering shrub with pinkish-white flowers that bloom in winter

Winter daphne is an excellent winter flowering evergreen shrub that can brighten up a backyard in the winter. The common name, winter daphne, comes from the fact that the evergreen blooms in winter. Large glossy foliage and showy globular flowerheads grace this shrub in mid- to late-winter. After flowering, red fruits grow on the bush and contrast with the shiny green foliage.

Be careful with the decorative winter daphne shrub as it’s poisonous to animals and humans.

Discover the most amazing dwarf evergreen shrubs.

Photinia ‘Red Robin’ (Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’)

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Grow Photinia ‘Red Robin’ evergreen bushes for their beautiful red foliage in spring

This Photonia species is a shrub with red leaves that doesn’t shed foliage in winter. The evergreen shrub is an excellent hedging plant for front or back yards as it offers year-long protection. Stunning red foliage appears in spring that gradually turns to dark green. Grow in full sun to partial shade.

Discover the most beautiful small or dwarf evergreen trees for your garden (with pictures).

Related articles:

  • The Best Plants for Hedges
  • The Best Privacy Trees: List of Great Privacy Fence Trees
  • Types of Landscaping Bushes to Grow in Your Yard

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21 Evergreen Shrubs (With Pictures) - For Front or Backyard (2024)
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