Low maintenance bushes for the front of a house add curb appeal. These woody plants aren’t susceptible to serious pest infestations or debilitating diseases and require little pruning. However, even a low maintenance bush can become high maintenance if you plant it in the wrong place. To create an attractive landscape with bushes that require the least amount of maintenance, carefully select target sites that provide ample space for the bushes’ size at maturity.
1. A Low Hedge of Broadleaf Evergreens
Low hedges of broadleaf evergreens in your front yard delineate your property line with year-round greenery, without obstructing the view. Kalm’s St. John’s wort “Ames” (Hypericum kalmianum “Ames”) bears yellow flowers from July to August and grows 2 to 3 feet tall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 7. Boxwood “Green Velvet” (Bucus "Green Velvet") grows 2 to 4 feet tall in USDA zones 5 through 8 and is less prone to turning bronze in harsh winters than other boxwoods.
2. Surrounded by Lawn
Certain bushes perform well encircled by lawn, despite the competition of surrounding turfgrass. River birch “Little King” (Betula nigra “Little King”), also known as “Fox Valley,” is a highly adaptable shrub that thrives even in heavy clay soil with poor drainage. It looks best in a small grouping and grows 8 to 10 feet tall in USDA zones 4 through 9. Dogwood “Variegata” (Cornus mas "Variegata") likes acidic soil and partial shade. It features green leaves thickly edged in cream, puts out yellow flowers in March and grows 15 to 25 feet tall in USDA zones 4 through 7.
3. Short Foundation Bushes
Short foundation bushes camouflage the seam between the ground and your home’s foundation. Black chokeberry “Autumn Magic” (Aronia melanocarpa “Autumn Magic”) easily grows in average soil, tolerates poor drainage and an annual clipping of its suckers prevents spreading. Its white flowers come out in May, followed by black, edible berries, and it grows 3 to 6 feet tall in USDA zones 3 through 8. Juniper “Gold Coast” (Juniperus x pfitzeriana “Gold Coast”) does well in rocky, dry, shallow soil and tolerates drought and air pollution. This easygoing, needled evergreen offers golden foliage and grows 2 to 3 feet tall in USDA zones 4 through 9.
4. Tall Foundation Bushes
Tall foundation bushes conceal raised foundations found on older homes and beautify the face of raised front porches. American cranberry bush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) flourishes in average, well-drained soil and has flowers April to May. It grows 8 to 12 feet tall in USDA zones 2 through 7. The highlight of oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is its flowers that emerge white and turn pinkish-purple, which look lovely in cut or dried flower arrangements. This old-fashioned shrub grows 6 to 8 feet tall in USDA zones 6 through 9.
- University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Pruning Deciduous Shrubs
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buxus "Green Velvet"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hypericum Kalmianum "Ames"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Cornus Mas "Variegata"
- Missouri Botanical Garden:Betula Nigra "Little King"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Viburnum Opulus Var. Americanum
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Aronia Melanocarpa "Autumn Magic"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Juniperus x Pfitzeriana "Gold Coast"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hydrangea Quercifolia