10 Low-Maintenance Shrubs That Will Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal
Shrubs can add instant curb appeal to any home. Not only do these hedges bring structured accents to your landscape, but most grow year round, which means they can add seasonal interest to your yard even in the bitter and snowy months of winter. "Shrubs put a fresh, lively face on your front yard, frame the home landscape, and offer an inviting welcome to visitors," says Lester Poole, Lowe's live nursery specialist.
Beyond their visual impact, bushes are a relatively low-maintenance and budget-friendly way for beginner gardeners and those who have honed their green thumb to elevate the aesthetic of their home instantly.
Empire Yeti Spiraea
Want to attract more pollinators to your yard while also increasing your home's curb appeal? This is the shrub to plant. "This compact Spiraea produces many clusters of small, white blooms in the early summer," says Kristen Pullen, woody ornamental product manager and international business assistant at Star® Roses and Plants. She adds that this variety is also extremely hardy and blends seamlessly into any style garden.
This variety should be planted in an area with full sun and well-draining soil. "Apply a natural, balanced fertilizer in the spring before new growth emerges for more proliferous blooms and general plant health," Pullen says. "Water regularly when planted, then only in long periods of drought when established." Due to its low, mounding habit, it requires little maintenance, you should prune this plant in early spring before buds emerge—or in late fall.
- Zones 4 to 9
- Reaches 3 x 3 feet when mature
Wedding Gown Hydrangea
Bright white blooms set on dark green foliage define this bush, which Pullen says puts on a wonderful show. "This variety has excellent garden performance through the seasons as the summer blooms and foliage fade into fall," she adds. "The compact habit makes the Wedding Gown great in a container or tucked into the landscape."
Plant this hydrangea in light to partial shade in a location with rich, well-draining soil. Water regularly until established, then only water when needed. In the spring, apply a balanced, natural fertilizer or compost to help promote and maintain the plant's general health. Prune during early spring, before growth begins.
- Zones 5 to 9
- Reaches 3 x 5 feet when mature
Orange Rocket Barberry
Spring foliage on this shrub begins as a vivid coral and transitions to scarlet red in fall, according to Jim Putnam, founder of HortTube and Southern Living Plant Collection expert. Not only is it eye-catching, but the barberry is extremely low maintenance—so you won't need to keep too close an eye on it. Plus, its column-like shape makes it perfect for borders and containers.
Full sun to partial shade with at least three hours of direct sunlight is the ideal light level for this shrub. "Orange Rocket does best in well-draining soil, and can handle sandy to poor to rich quality soils," Putnam says. He adds that the plant should be watered two to three times per week for the first few months after planting. Once established, it is a low-water plant. "A cold-hardy pick, Orange Rocket requires little extra winter care once it goes dormant," he says.
- Zones 5 to 9
- Reaches 4 x 1.5 feet when mature
Diamond Spire Gardenia
"Gardenias are the showpiece of a traditional Southern garden, beloved for their captivating fragrance and deep green foliage," Putnam says. This variety has a unique upright growing habit and single white fragrant flowers that bloom late spring through fall. "As a more compact shrub, add Diamond Spire to containers as the main thriller, or embed into the landscape as a specimen plant," Putnam says.
A versatile evergreen that thrives in any light exposure—from full sun to part shade—Diamond Spire Gardenia should be planted in well-draining soil. Once the root ball is in the ground, water it deeply to help the plant get established, and then regularly for the first few weeks. "Mulch about 1 to 2 inches around the plant, avoiding the main trunk," Putnam says. "Natural, balanced fertilizer can be applied anytime during the growing season to encourage blooms and maintain shrub health." Minimal pruning is required, but can be done after the first blooms fade to maintain shape.
- Zones 8 to 10
- Reaches 4 x 2 feet when mature
Platinum Beauty Lomandra
One great way to add curb appeal to your landscape is with some texture, and grass-like Platinum Beauty Lomandra offers just that. Its white variegated foliage moves beautifully in the breeze, making it a star player in your garden. "This tough, low-water perennial pairs perfectly with everything from succulents to shrubs and requires little additional maintenance once planted," Putnam says. "Its mounded habit is perfect for borders, containers, or even slope gardens, and deer and other grazers won't mess with it."
This beautiful evergreen needs full sun to part shade, according to Putnam. Plant it in well-draining soil and apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring or summer. "This water-wise plant requires little additional irrigation after it is established," Putnam says. He also notes that the easy-to-care-for variety typically requires no pruning.
- Zones 7 to 10
- Reaches 3 x 3 feet tall when mature
Emerald Green Arborvitae
This shrub gets its name in part from its hue—emerald—and its towering stature. "Arborvitae shrubs and the vibrant green foliage complement major curb accents such as mailboxes, borders, flower beds, and more," says Poole. "Its disease-resistant foliage retains its color, even in winter, and never needs trimming."
A variety of soils and weather conditions are suitable for this disease-resistant plant. Poole says it should get at least six hours of full sun daily. Additionally, the emerald evergreen benefits from weekly watering.
- Zones 3 to 8
- Reaches 15 x 4 feet when mature
Viburnum Tinus Compactum
More stout bush than tall tree, Viburnum Tinus Compactum is a smart option for those who would like to plant shrubs close to their home. "Its compact growth makes this a favorite choice for small hedges or foundation plantings," Poole says. Plus, it boasts fragrant, pinkish-white flowers—a pleasant welcome for any visitors.
An easy-to-grow shrub, this variety performs best in well draining soils with medium moisture. The plant likes full sun or partial shade and should be watered weekly, or when the top two inches of soil are dry. Prune the shrub once it has flowered to promote continuous growth.
- Zones 7 to 11
- Reaches 4 x 6 feet when mature
Blushing Bride Rose of Sharon
The pink-hued Blushing Bride Rose of Sharon is a showy specimen, according to Poole. It produces upright, willowy branches with large pink double blooms that are perfect for achieving colorful curb appeal in late summertime.
Partial sun and semi-moist soil are best for growth, according to Poole. Additionally, Blushing Bride should be watered weekly, or more depending on heat levels. Prune the plant during winter or early spring by removing about a third of the overall shrub, as well as any dead or diseased branches.
- Zones 5 to 9
- Reaches 10 x 6 feet when mature
Drought tolerant and visually stunning, this shrub is ideal for dry climates. It comes in single and multi-color varieties that can add hues of pink, red, and white and white to your yard. Plus, it retains its foliage throughout the year, which—according to Poole—makes it the perfect option for placement in prominent areas of your landscape, like the front yard.
The shrub grows best in areas that provide partial shade, but Poole says that with supplemental nutrition it can also thrive in full-sun conditions. It likes well-drained soils with a neutral to acidic pH and should be watered about two times a week.
- Zones 7 to 9
- Reaches 14 x 7 feet when mature
Wine and Roses Weigela
With showy rose-pink flowers in late spring and dark purple foliage in the summer, this flowering shrub will give your home multi-seasonal interest. "It's great in shrub borders surrounding the front and back of the house, or as a specimen plant," Poole says.
Plant this shrub in an area that receives full sun and has well-draining soil for optimal success. It should be watered about once per week and pruned immediately after flowering. Fertilize in early spring with a slow release fertilizer that's made for trees and shrubs.
- Zones 4 to 8
- Reaches 5 x 5 feet when mature