Choosing shrubs for your landscape can seem overwhelming, with so many sizes, colors and forms to choose from, each having their own specific soil, light and moisture requirements. Make it easy on yourself with evergreen shrubs that stay under 6 feet tall. With their year-round foliage, these plants will always provide color and texture. Many bear fruits or flowers, and some even draw butterflies and birds to your yard to keep the kiddos entertained.
1. Dwarf Cultivars
For small planting sites, the "Morris Midget" Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica "Morris Midget") grows to 12 inches tall, forming a dense mound of green-yellow foliage. It's hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 9. Another low-growing evergreen, creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis "Prince of Wales") reaches heights of 6 inches, forming a carpet of rich green in dry areas. It's hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.
2. Low-Growing Shrubs
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is prized for its aromatic, silver-green foliage and purple flower spikes. This 3-foot-tall shrub is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8 and attracts butterflies. The low-growing wintercreeper (Euonymous fortunei) reaches 1 to 3 feet tall and can grow as a groundcover. This spreading shrub tolerates salt, poor soil and shade, hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. The abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) adds color and fragrance to the fall garden with its late-blooming pink flowers. Hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9, the "Confetti" cultivar has white-green foliage and grows to 3 feet tall. The "Herbert" rhododendron blooms with showy purple flowers in spring. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, this 3-foot-tall shrub attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
3. Flowering Shrubs
Winter daphne (Daphne odora "Marginata") offers both colorful foliage and showy fragrant flowers. This 4-foot-tall evergreen blooms in late winter and early spring with white-pink flowers atop green-yellow foliage. It's hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9. The inkberry (Ilex glabra "Compacta") grows to 4 feet tall and blooms with white summer flowers. It tolerates wet and clay soils and is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.
4. Screening Shrubs
Chinese juniper (Juniperus x pfitzeriana "Sea Green") grows from 4 to 6 feet tall and has aromatic foliage. It's hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, where it makes a good screening and background plant. The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus "Blue Shag") is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8 and grows from 3 to 5 feet tall. Its blue needles and mounding shape make it an interesting specimen plant.