Evergreen shrubs play many roles in the landscape, from creating borders to providing wildlife habitat. Evergreens keep their foliage year-round, so you'll always be able to enjoy their color and texture. If you want to plant evergreen shrubs that won't take up too much of the kids' play space in the yard, consider dwarf shrubs that stay less than 2 feet tall. Low-growing shrubs tend to require less pruning, too, which is good news for your busy schedule.
Plant sun-loving evergreen shrubs in sites that receive more than 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The "Green Mound" Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus procumbens "Green Mound") thrives in full sun and grows to 8 inches tall with a 6-foot spread. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, this small shrub makes your life easier by tolerating drought and air pollution; it's even deer resistant. The "Danica" Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis "Danica") also grows best in sunny sites. This 2-foot-tall and wide shrub has a rounded form and rich, green foliage atop ascending branches. It grows in USDA zones 4 to 8, where it thrives well in rock gardens.
For those partially shaded or dappled shade sites, plant a "Green Gem" boxwood (Buxus "Green Gem"). This hybrid cultivar grows to 2 feet tall and wide and has dense, shiny foliage. It's hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9 and grows in a rounded mound. The "Green Gem" is low-maintenance -- little to no pruning required -- and deer and rabbits tend to leave it alone. Fill a dark, fully shaded site with a Siberian cypress (Microbiota decussata). This shade-tolerant evergreen grows to 18 inches tall with a 8-foot spread and has light-green, scale-like foliage. The Siberian cypress is hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7, where it grows best in well-draining soil.
The "Morris Midget" Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica "Morris Midget") only grows to 12 inches tall with an 18-inch spread. This little evergreen has dense, small leaves and requires very little maintenance. It grows in USDA zones 5 to 9 and prefers moist, sandy sites. The baby wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei "Minimus") also grows best in moist soil. This cultivar grows to 18 inches tall, and has dark, evergreen foliage. Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, the baby wintercreeper offers pest resistance.
For those dry sites, plant a "Prince of Wales" juniper (Juniperus horizontalis "Prince of Wales"). This 6-inch-tall shrub spreads to 6 feet wide, covering the ground with a carpet of dense, green-blue foliage. It's hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, and tolerates drought, pollution and poor, rocky soil. The "Tiny Tim" arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis "Tiny Tim") grows to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. This dwarf evergreen grows in a variety of conditions, including dry soil, clay, and sites with air pollution. Plant the "Tiny Tim" in USDA zones 2 to 7.