10 Best Backyard Landscaping Ideas

If you love to walk or spend time in the fresh air, it is great to have a backyard landscape that suits your needs. This article will talk about the 10 best backyard landscaping ideas to get that old backyard of yours whipped into shape.  The backyard is the area of a house that the neighbors might not often see, so it may get neglected from time to time.  But, if done correctly, your backyard can be a favorite relaxation spot whether you are by yourself or with the entire family.

A well-designed and well-maintained backyard is a perfect place to spend your relaxation time. If you’re planning to design your backyard landscape, you must define your choices first. Not everyone wants the same things from their backyard.  Some might want room to move; others might want seclusion and privacy.  First, consider how you will use your backyard, and then search online to find some ideas that look exciting and fun.  Once you have some ideas, you can begin to piece them together to plan out your landscape.

How To Plan Backyard Landscaping

One thing that most people skip is planning for their landscape design. The majority of people head to the nearest garden store and get some beautiful plants for their backyard landscaping. They bring the plants home and then try to figure out where they should go.  This approach will often lead to over-planted beds and plants in unsuitable conditions for optimal growth.  Before purchasing anything for your backyard landscape, you must consider a few things.

Know Your Backyard

Know Your Backyard

Before planning changes to your backyard landscape, it is good to know the current condition.  Spend some time in your yard.  First, consider the big stuff like, do you need a new patio or deck?  Do you need more lawn or more flower beds?  Do you need trees for shade, or should some trees be removed to let in the sunlight? 

You want to figure out the most significant changes first and then work your way down to the little stuff.  It makes no sense to buy plants to fill in some garden spots when you don’t even have the big stuff figured out yet.  Make a small sketch on paper so that you can keep your thoughts straight.  A notepad and a tape measure are a great start.  Get what you have now, roughly sketched, and then make any significant changes you desire on paper to see how it will all fit.

Before you make any real decisions, take some time to get to know your location and your yard.

Here are some things that you will want to know:

  • What planting zone are you in?
  • How many hours of sunlight does each planting area get per day?
  • How dry or wet are the soils in each of these planting areas?
  • What is planted there now?
  • Is it an existing bed?
  • Is it lawn that will be converted to bed?
  • Are your underlying soils dark and soft, hard clay, gravel, and sand, etc.?
  • Are there drainage ways that run through the yard?
  • Are there areas that hold water when it rains?
  • Are there any electric, gas, water, telephone, or cable tv lines buried in any of these areas?

Figuring out the answers to these questions might seem tedious, but knowing this information will allow you to plan your landscape effectively, and it will help others provide advice.  If you find yourself at the local garden center with your sketch in hand and you know your soils and sunlight, a horticulturalist will be able to guide you to pick plants that will thrive in your specific conditions.

Decide on a Theme for Your Landscape Design

I don’t mean that you need to pick an actual rigid theme to follow, but Here are some ideas if you do want a more formal theme.  When I say theme, I am more referring to you getting an overall idea about how each part of your yard related to the other parts and how they will all relate as a whole.  If you are not a designer, this will take some time out in the yard walking around and looking at the house and yard from all different angles.  It will take some time to envision your plan, but it is worth the time so that you don’t end up with every corner of your yard being an unrelated piece that doesn’t seem to go with the last piece.

You can design your backyard as luxurious or straightforward as you’d like, depending on your yard and your budget.  Having a theme does not mean that it must all be similar.  You can create areas that are much different from the others, but the landscape should have a logical and comfortable flow from one end to the other.  No matter which way you walk it, it should feel good.  You should feel like it all fits together as smaller pieces of the greater whole.   The cohesiveness of your chosen “theme” will make your landscape more appealing and more comfortable.

Plan for The Plants

Plants can be thought of as the glue that holds our landscapes together.  Through the use of colors, textures, heights, and styles, we are using plant material to ease us from one view to the next or to hide an area from us only to surprise us as we come around the corner.  We use the plants to soften the patio and tie the tall house down into the surrounding beds.  The plants can highlight specific areas and downplay others.

Do you have a favorite window to look out of?  Maybe you need a spectacular show of color outside that window.  Does your driveway look too vast and expansive? Perhaps you need to hide parts of it with shrubbery and soften the edges with groundcover.

When planning your plantings, it is essential to look ahead into the future.  You want to plan it out so that it looks good long-term.  If you don’t consider the overall mature size of the plants you choose, you will end up with a terribly overcrowded landscape.  Blank space is our friend.  You need some contrast.  You don’t want every square inch covered in plants that flow into each other.  You need empty spaces to create contrast and interest.

Backyard Landscape Designing Ideas

Backyard landscaping is much more fun if you do it yourself. However, if you don’t feel capable enough to design it yourself, you can hire professionals for your landscape design. Here, we will be discussing some unique backyard landscape design ideas from which you can choose according to your choice. Implement these into your backyard, and enjoy.

Lighten Up Your Backyard

Lighten up your backyard

Back yard landscape lighting will always add more glory to your landscape design. Usually, landscape lighting is for three primary purposes; security, enhancing your landscape features, and focusing on the hardscapes.  Make your yard useable and welcoming at night by installing landscape lighting.

Even if you don’t have a big budget for landscape work, you can add a do it yourself landscape lighting kit, and it will make a huge difference to how you see and use your landscape at night.

Maybe you want some hanging lantern path lights along a dark path, or an up light to highlight that giant oak tree, or perhaps a few downlights to provide that moonshine glow.

Ideas for a Renter

Ideas for a Renter

If you are renting a home and have some space in the backyard but wouldn’t want to invest too much or wouldn’t want to worry about the landlord getting angry, you can always enhance your yard with temporary, movable items.

Using decorative pots and planters, you can create a lush garden atmosphere without it being permanent.  By adding some landscape accent lights, you can light up a few key spots around your patio and easily take it down when you go.  You can upgrade to a portable fire pit and some new lawn furniture or a garden bench to give yourself an outdoor living area.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Adding a veggie garden doesn’t need to be rectangular and industrial.  Find a few sunny spots at the edges of existing garden beds and plant them with tasty vegetables to change to look of your yard and provide some delicious food for the table.

Organic landscaping is very popular and good for our earth, so taking advantage of it can provide you with homegrown organic produce.  You can plant, tend and be absolutely sure that the vegetables you are feeding friends and family are completely safe and organic.  They seem to taste a little better when they are homegrown and fresh.

Add Some Color

Add Some Color

If you love to play with colors, then planting different flowers to your landscape design would be great for your backyard. You can choose to add some perennial flower beds with flowers that come back year after year, or you can plan some annual flower beds and fill them with new colors and textures every spring.

If you have an existing landscape and are a bit bored with it, but you don’t want to spend a bunch of money, pull out some old overgrown shrubs or a patch of perennials that you are tired of and plant a little splash of color.  You don’t need a lot of space or deep pockets to liven up your yard with flowers.

Using small splashes of annuals is one of my favorite ways to make my old yard a bit more exciting in spring.  It is so easy and carefree because it is a one-year commitment.  If you don’t like it, you can pick something different next year.

If you have large expanses of groundcover, try planting a random assortment of one foot by one foot little splashes of annuals throughout the beds to break up the monotony.

Vertical Garden

Vertical Garden

If you have a very tight tiny backyard, or even if your gardening is limited to a small porch area, you can certainly incorporate a vertical garden.  Vertical gardening is perfect for those who don’t have enough space or budget but love to have beautiful gardens.

All you need to be is a bit creative. You can choose a specific wall in your backyard or space on your balcony.  Get creative.  If you plant hanging and flowing flowers, the understructure will be hidden in a short time, so you needn’t be overly worried about how that part looks. 

You can buy little trellises; you can nail wire mesh to the wall, you can set a few posts to let vines climb, you can use ropes or strings connected to nails or screws, you can hang little pots from the wall or even screw planter boxes to a sheet of plywood leaning on the wall.  Heck, spend an hour or two on youtube looking up vertical gardening ideas, and you are sure to come away with an idea or two that would fit your budget and your skillset.

Build a Fire Pit

Build a Fire Pit

Spending your nights, especially the colder nights, in the backyard always feels soothing. A warm, glowing fire always attracts a crowd on a cool summer evening.  A fire pit might be the gathering place for the entire family.

You will want to ensure that your pit is far enough away from trees, grasses, and your house that you aren’t concerned about starting anything on fire.  The last thing that you want to do is start the neighborhood on fire.  Clear off an area where you want the fire pit.  Be sure to remove any burnables and then create a ring.  The cheapest and most straightforward is often just a ring of boulders, large or small, to encircle your fire and keep the hot embers inside.  If you’d like to get a bit fancier, use concrete retaining wall blocks and build a ring or buy one of the pre-made fire pit rings made of concrete or stone.

Add a Play Area for Children

Add a Play Area for Children

If you have children and want to provide them with a safe and healthy environment to enjoy, you can build a play area for them in your backyard landscape. You can place swings and different lawn playsets so your kids can play whenever they want. If your children usually go to the backyard in the evening or night, landscape lighting would be a fantastic idea to highlight their area.

Add a Pool or Pond

Add a Pool

Water is always a great way to liven up the yard.  Depending on what you are looking for, a nice inground swimming pool or swimming pond might n=be the answer.  If those options seem a bit crazy and out of budget, then maybe a small koi pond or a fountain might be good.

Add a Patio or Deck

Add a Patio

If you don’t have a hard surface to relax on and to set some chairs, you might want to consider adding a patio or deck in the backyard.  Once again, these are typically a bit costly, but if you don’t mind doing some of the work yourself, a dry-laid flagstone patio is the type of project most homeowners can tackle independently.  Maybe combine a few ideas.  Set a fire pit with some flagstone slabs around it as a patio, and then add a pretty pond next to it.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

 If your yard is okay and you just want to add a bit of intrigue and fun, consider hedging in a favorite sunny corner and create a secret garden with a winding stepping stone path.  The key to a secret garden is that most people who visit your yard won’t even know it is there.  Make sure it is hidden and sunny, and make sure to set a side s little sitting area for yourself so that you can hide in there on a warm sunny day and read a book while you enjoy your own little private garden.


Although the backyard isn’t going to affect your curb appeal, it will affect how you perceive your yard.  The backyard should be a comfortable extension of your living space.  With a bit of planning, you can end up with a beautiful creation that you did all on your own.  Remember, a landscape is constantly changing.  As long as you have an overall plan and vision, it can be worked on a little bit each year.  Don’t blow your budget or enthusiasm all in one season; plan it out and keep it affordable and fun.

Irrigation and Landscaping

landscape irrigation

Irrigation and landscaping, landscaping and irrigation.  They seem to go hand in hand.  Landscaping is a very important (and expensive) aspect of your home and yard, and your irrigation system can be as well.  For what it’s worth, I’d put my money into the landscaping and not so much the irrigation.

The Typical System

Todays’ irrigation systems are a far cry from the old hose real and rainbow sprinkler that you may have used to water your lawn back in the day.  We now have complex, computerized, wall-hung control panels that allow us to break down our yard into as many zones as we can dream up.  On top of that, we have the option to create as many watering scenarios as we might like.  We have water sensors so that the computer can tell when it rains and prevent the system from running, we can set the system to run only during certain hours, and we can pick which zone to run for how long on which days and at which time of the day.  The systems typically consist of spray heads and drip irrigation.  The spray heads are usually used for lawn and shrub areas, and the drip irrigation is generally reserved for your more delicate plantings and flower beds.


The Magic

These systems seem complicated on the face, and the professionals always set them up for you and inject plenty of fancy lingo when describing the system to ensure that there is a bit of magic and confusion around how they work.  This way, you will call them back for a service call any time you need to adjust something.  In reality, if you can operate your computer, log into the internet, browse web pages and collect your email, you are likely smart enough to read through a few pages of instructions and program your sprinkler controller.  The heads and valving are pretty easy to adjust as long as you have a few specialized tools for whatever system you have.  The system is water, piping, and electrically controlled valves that open and close.  Don’t be scared, just read the book and ask lots of questions.

A Bit of Observation

Over the years, I have seen many clients spend a great deal of money on the latest and greatest irrigation systems.  I’ve also seen penny pinchers create their own ad hoc irrigation system using hoses, pipes, and whatever sort of sprayers and nozzles they can find.  And then I’ve seen many homeowners with really nice landscapes that don’t have any irrigation system at all.  Nowadays, most owners of large homes and estates think that an irrigation system is necessary if you are going to have a nice yard and healthy plants.

Here’s The Story

It usually goes something like this.  “Mr. Homeowner, I’m sure that you don’t want to spend your time moving sprinklers around, and you certainly don’t want all of these expensive landscape plants to die, do you?”  Combining the threat of extra work and the idea that their plants might die usually gets them reaching into their wallets for thousands of dollars to spend on an irrigation system.  At this point, they haven’t realized that the system that they are about to pay thousands of dollars for will also need adjusting and maintaining, so it will keep costing them for as long as they own the home.

A Different Story

The truth of the matter is that most landscapes don’t need an irrigation system.  The need for an irrigation system in your landscape has mostly been a fabrication of the industry and an excellent way for contractors to squeeze a few more dollars out of a homeowner.  Now don’t get me wrong, irrigation systems have their place.  I can’t imagine a finely manicured golf course without an irrigation system.  I can’t imagine growing much in the desert and many of the drier areas of the US without some irrigation.  But each and every home in your average upscale subdivision?  Come on now; I think that we all know that this is not necessary.

Some Exceptions

If you are an avid gardener and your passion is growing unusual and exotic plants that aren’t well suited for your climate, then an irrigation system broken down into many spray and drip irrigation zones will undoubtedly benefit some of your plants.  If you are trying to create a lush green landscape where there would otherwise be dry dirt, sand, and cactus, then yes, you will need an irrigation system.

The Big But

But, if you own a home, large or small, with a landscape that is relatively well suited for your climate and you aren’t a plant expert that is going to be choosing rare and exotic plants, then you don’t need hundreds or thousands of feet of poly pipe and wire buried in your yard and a computer controller in your basement or garage.  The truth is that most landscapes that have an irrigation system installed don’t need it.

Starting Out

The most useful few weeks of an irrigation system are the first few weeks after your lawn and garden have been installed.  This is when you have hundreds if not thousands of plants that were just torn out of the ground and transplanted to your yard.  You’ve got an acre of new lawn area that has just been painstakingly graded, raked, and seeded, and you are just praying that it isn’t too dry or too wet for all of these new plants to take hold and survive.  This is when those of you who purchased the full irrigation system can sit back and relax, knowing that it is highly likely that most of your plants and lawn will survive because they are being watered automatically every single day.  If you decided not to buy the irrigation system, this is when the irrigation contractor drives by and laughs as you drag out hoses and set sprinklers in your yard, trying to keep your grass and plantings alive. 

The Tough Part

These first few weeks of no irrigation system is the tough part.  If you didn’t buy the system, then you are the system.  You are now in charge of monitoring the weather and ensuring that your yard gets the irrigation that it needs.  You may get lucky, and it may drizzle every other day, and you have nothing to worry about.  You may get unlucky, and it is scorching hot and very dry, which means you must irrigate everything, or some of your plants will die.  Probably the best thing that you can do at this point is to head to your local hardware or big box store and buy a nice assortment of hoses, y-splitters, and a few varieties of sprinklers.  This will cost you a few hundred bucks for sure, but it is stuff that you will use later in life also, and it will be a fraction of the cost of an irrigation system.

The Plan

Plan out your watering routine and get the hoses, splitters, and sprinklers set out in advance of needing them.  Set it up so that the biggest sprinklers cover the biggest areas possible, and then work your way down to the smaller areas.  You won’t be able to water everything at once, so use the splitters to set up as big of an area as your water pressure can handle.  You will need to switch the splitters to activate one zone and then another to cover the entire yard.  The most important areas will be the new grass seed, followed by the smallest of flowers and probably a few select large trees.

This is a Real Pain 

You are correct if you think that this sounds like a pain in the ass.  This will be irritating and not fun if mother nature doesn’t cooperate with you, but just think of the thousands of dollars and yearly costs down the road you are saving.  A few weeks of work and attention now will save you a bundle in the future.  The best-case scenario is that you have kids who can be put in charge of watering so that you just call them and tell them to water, and the job gets done.  Heck, you could even hire a neighbor kid for a few weeks to do it for you and still be many thousands of dollars ahead.

The Truth

The truth of the matter is that once the newly installed grass and plants have a chance to grab hold, you won’t need an irrigation system.  The grass is at its most delicate when it first germinates; those tiny little seeds start to sprout, and they are very easy to kill at this point.  Once established, grass is tough to kill.  Have you ever tried to eliminate it from a flower bed or your vegetable garden?  It is the same thing with flowers, trees, and shrubs.  When first installed, they are vulnerable.  Once established, they do very well.

But, what about my Friend?

I know you are thinking about that friend of yours whose sprinkler quit for a few weeks, and his lawn went brown on him.  That is quite true, it does happen, but there are a few things that you should know.  The first thing to realize is that all plants tend to adapt to their environment.  If your friend had an irrigation system that was watering every other day, keeping his lawn nice and irrigated at all times, his grass adapted to that and has grown very shallow roots.  So, suddenly, the water stops coming every other day like clockwork, and the grass goes into shock because it wasn’t prepared.  If that same lawn had been established without an irrigation system, the grass would have deeper roots and would have been ready for a bit of drought because it would have had to go through times like that before.  The same goes for all of your plants.  And by the way, even if his grass did brown out when his sprinkler system quit, I’ll bet that it came right back once the water came back.  Grass is very resilient and will go dormant when too dry.

Make it Through  

Once you make it through these first few weeks, it all gets easier.  After these new plants get established, you should still keep an eye out for the first few months for extremely dry periods that may cause a plant with minimal roots to run short of water, but a wisely placed sprinkler now and then will take care of any of these con=cerns.  Also, consider the biggest of the trees that you had planted.  That small root mass needs to support all of the trunk and foliage above ground, so it is a great idea to let the hose run and soak them down now and then over the first few months just for added insurance.

That’s About It

That’s it.  Now you are through the challenging part, and you can likely put all of your hoses away and only get them out when you plant some new flowers in spring or an occasional shrub or two.  You don’t need to worry about programming timers, you don’t need to adjust anything, you don’t need to pay for fall shutdowns and spring start-ups, you don’t need to pay to repair the poly tubing when you decide to rent a lawn edger five years down the road, and you rip through a few shallow lines.  And, you don’t need to worry about hitting a pipe or wire every time you decide you want to plant a shrub in your lawn.  Life is much more simple, and you can use the extra money saved for a well-earned vacation once a year.

Irrigation Pros and Cons:


  • Irrigation keeps newly planted plants sufficiently watered.
  • Irrigation can be set to water very specific areas in very specific ways if needed.
  • Irrigation can be helpful if you plant things that aren’t well suited for your location.
  • Irrigation can help keep ponds, birdbaths, and fountains topped off by automatically filling them.
  • Irrigation can give you peace of mind knowing that your yard is getting watered regardless of what mother nature has in store.


  • Irrigation systems are costly.
  • Irrigation systems need regular maintenance, which is also expensive.
  • Irrigation systems are prone to damage from people and equipment working in the yard.
  • Irrigation systems are largely unnecessary once your lawn and plants are established.
  • Irrigation systems will need to be modified if your landscape beds change or if you add features such as patios, walkways, etc.
  • Irrigation systems will freeze and be damaged if not properly shut down prior to freezing temperatures.
  • Irrigation systems set your plants up to fail by not allowing them to set deep roots as nature intended.
  • Irrigation systems promote the need for more fertilization since the fertilizers get washed out of the soils more rapidly.
  • Irrigation systems waste vast amounts of water (not everyone in this world has unlimited water).

K. I. S. S. Keep it Simple Stupid

We are planting plants in dirt.  Plants have been growing in soil on this earth long before humans arrived and will continue to grow here after we are gone.  This isn’t some sort of voodoo.  Plant plants that are well suited for your climate.  Don’t let your landscaper talk you into exotic plants that may or may not grow here.  Plant native plants, plant the stuff that wants to grow here.  This will leave you with an easy to maintain and beautiful yard that is free from a bunch of unneeded mechanicals.  It will also leave you with a bit more change in your pocket. 

Evergreen Landscaping: Making Your Garden Look Luscious in All Seasons

landscaping with evergreens

Making Your Garden Look Perennially Beautiful

Flowers, shrubs, and deciduous trees are lovely as they fill your yard with blooms and colorful leaves throughout the spring, summer, and fall of the year. But, come late fall, when all of the flowers are dying back, and the trees are losing their leaves, there is one star of the landscape that is too often overlooked.

The evergreen plant. If you are looking to add balance and year-round interest to your yard, you need to start adding evergreens to your landscape. Evergreen landscaping brings a whole new texture and interest to your landscape!

Location, Location, Location

In many parts of the United States, winters are long, cold, and dreary. One great way to liven up your landscape for the winter is to install some evergreen plants now. While evergreen plants typically lose some of their leaves or needles over time, they will never lose all of their leaves at once. They stay green all year round. Thus the name evergreen. Most evergreen plants have needles instead of leaves because, in general, needles do better in the cold weather than a broadleaf will. It is essential that you first check to make sure that the plant is well suited for your location whenever you begin to consider a plant for your yard.

You must not only think about the plants’ hardiness zone, but you must also consider the soil conditions, the moisture requirements, and the sun or shade requirements of the plant.

Changing Ways

Back in the old days, when everyone purchased plants from the local garden center or simply transplanted some plants from the neighbors’ property, climate zones weren’t an issue. But, today, you can order plants from sources all over the country with a click of your mouse (and a valid credit card, of course). So, when you are browsing the online marketplace for your next evergreen plant for your yard, please be sure to check out the hardiness zone.

Evergreen Favorites:

When old man winter has turned your yard into a dull grey and white, you will undoubtedly welcome the site of your evergreen friends that are still putting on a show for you even during these cold and dreary months.

While there are many evergreens to choose from, below are some evergreen landscaping favorites to consider.

  • Boxwood: These shrubs are perfect for evergreen landscaping in partly shady or sun-drenched gardens. They need minimal shaping and pruning if left on their own, but gardeners will often use them to form borders and hedges in their gardens. This is a versatile plant that can be kept small and tight through consistent and accurate pruning or allowed to grow large and lanky if left on its own. It is somewhat unique in the evergreen world because it has leaves rather than needles, and while they won’t survive all climates, boxwood do very well in many environments and stay green or mostly green year-round. Boxwood have long been a staple for the lovers of the formal English gardens with their intricate designs and perfectly sheared hedges.
  • Golden Euonymus: Is there such a thing as ever golden? This vibrantly colored shrub will bring color and texture to your yard all year round with its beautiful, variegated leaves. It can endure extreme weather conditions such as scorching Sun rays and poor soil.
  • Holly: This evergreen shrub is known for its stiff glossy leaves and is another example of an evergreen that has leaves and not needles. Most Holly prefer full sun, but some will tolerate a bit of shade and wet feet. Keep in mind that most Holly varieties will require both a male and female plant to bear fruit. Holly comes in many sizes and can also be used as a hedge.
  • Junipers: The Juniper has long been a favorite evergreen shrub known for its variety of available textures, colors, and shapes. This shrub can grow large and wide or stay relatively compact and small, depending on the type you choose. You can purchase upright juniper that grow tall and wide, and you can buy creeping Juniper that crawls along the ground like a groundcover. It is an evergreen shrub with prickly needles and can be a favorite shrub for rabbits to hide under for the winter months. Upright Juniper can be used for hedging and as a windbreak similar to the Arbor Vitae listed below. It has the advantage of not being eaten by the deer due to its prickly needles.
  • Arbor Vitae: This evergreen shrub comes in many shapes and sizes. Some tend to stay small and round, and others grow tall and wide. This plant does well if left alone but can also be sheared into manicured hedges if desired. This evergreen always prefers a sunny spot and has long been used to border gardens and yards. It can be a great wind block with its dense branches and flattened scale-like needles. Be warned; the Arbor Vitae is a favorite food for dear in the winter months when they can’t get to the grass under the snow. In the northern parts of the country, you will often see Arbor Vitae growing that are pruned up to just higher than a deer can reach due to their constant pruning all winter long.
  • Pine: Pine trees come in many varieties, shapes, and sizes, but for the most part, they are all large trees and should be planted at the borders of your yard, never too close to your house. There are varieties such as the Mugo pine that stay a bit smaller, but most pines do not take too well to pruning and are best planted and left on their own. They can be grown in groups to form a windbreak or as a solo specimen tree. Much of the wood used to build your house comes from the pine tree, as it has long been grown as a fast-growing tree for the lumber industry.
  • Spruce: These evergreen plants are often used as Christmas trees, and most will have that classic triangular Christmas tree shape. The needles are typically very hard and pointed, and the trees come in a variety of colors ranging from dark green to blue. These trees can also be a very effective windbreak and are often used on the border of a yard for privacy.
  • Yew: The Yew is another great evergreen shrub. This is yet another variety that can be sheared to keep its shape; it can be planted in hedges or left on its own. It comes in many shapes and sizes and is usually fairly hardy. The Yew is one of the few evergreen shrubs that do well in the shade. While it won’t do well in full shade, if you have a spot that could use an evergreen, but it’s too shady for some of the before-mentioned evergreens, the Yew might be a perfect choice.
  • Cypress: The Cypress is another evergreen that can be very large or very small, depending on the variety you choose. It looks very similar to Arborvitae at first glance, but it likes things a bit warmer and won’t grow well in the more Northern climates.
  • Rhododendrons: While Rhododendrons are a favorite shrub due to their beautiful summertime flowers, they are also evergreens. The leaves will stay green all year, but since they are generally more sparsely branched and leaved, they do not provide as much winter interest as you might hope. Also, I have found them to be a bit finicky and hard to grow in the more Northern states.
  • Hemlock: The Hemlock is yet another evergreen that will look very similar to a pine except for its drooping branches and softer, more flattened needles. The foliage on this plant is generally more delicate than some of the other evergreens on this list, so it isn’t well suited for screening or a windbreak; it is often used as an accent plant.
  • Fir: These evergreen plants also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the largest can grow to 200 feet tall, while the more common types are often used in the Christmas tree industry and will grow to be about 60 feet tall.

It’s All Relative

The evergreens listed above will remain evergreen in all but the absolute harshest climates. Remember, some places are so cold that they can’t grow anything but ice!

As you move to southern, warmer states, the overall year-round temperatures increase, and so do the number of plants that will remain evergreen. When you get down into the tropical climates, only the most delicate plants will die back and re-start. This is why you need to be so aggressive with your pruning shears if you live in the Southernmost states.

Advantages of Evergreen Landscaping

  • Keeping the Curious Neighbors Away: Are you bothered about the prying eyes of your neighbors? Evergreen trees with a sturdy structure work well as a boundary to your outdoor space.
  • Minimal Care: Evergreens typically require very little maintenance, and you don’t need to rake up the leaves.
  • Help with your Cooling Bill: Tall evergreens can provide some nice dense shade. If they are planted on the South side of your house, they can help keep your roof cool, which will reduce your cooling bills.
  • Help with your Heating Bill: Planting a hedgerow of dense evergreens on whichever side of your house the prevailing winds come from will help reduce your heating costs in the winter by blocking some of that harsh cold wind that you can feel sneaking in through your windows.
  • Help your Hearing: What’s that you say? Sure, evergreen trees planted as a screen will also cut down on the noise coming into your yard. Plant a lovely hedge of evergreens along that busy roadway and cut down on the amount of traffic that you hear.
  • Provide a Barrier: Not only will evergreens keep unwanted neighbors out, they can help to keep your children and pets in. Sure, they aren’t as much of a barrier as a security fence, but they do make a pretty good stopping point for kids on the run.
  • Breath Freely: Because they are green all winter long, evergreen photosynthesize even in the winter!
  • Welcome Some Delightful Guests: Evergreens provide much-needed habitat for many different critters over the winter. Birds and bunnies alike appreciate the evergreens’ ability to hide them from predators and protect them from the cold.

Overall, using evergreens in your landscape is a great way to balance your yard, give your yard some year-round interest, create a screen or windbreak, and add some different textures. The next time you consider adding a new plant to your landscape, why not make it an evergreen?