Best Shrubs for the Front of a House (2024 Guide)

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 13, 2024

The aesthetic appeal of well-chosen shrubs is hard to overlook. These plants don’t just improve the look of your front yard but also have the potential to increase your overall property value. Since not all plants are created equally, we’ll list some of the best shrubs for the front of a house, discuss their benefits, and more.


Benefits of Planting Shrubs

Besides improving the curb appeal of your property, beautiful shrubs placed at the front of your house can have many benefits.

Better Environment

Shrubs help to improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This creates a better microclimate in your yard and contributes to a healthier overall environment. Shrubs also provide habitats for birds, insects, and other wildlife, supporting biodiversity and contributing to a better-balanced ecosystem.

Higher Property Value

The American Society of Landscape Architects claims that professional landscaping can increase the value of your property by 15% to 20%. Since shrubs could improve your home’s curb appeal, they partially contribute to this increase. With the right approach to shrub care and maintenance, keeping your property value high for many years is possible.

Increased Energy Efficiency

Well-chosen shrubs also contribute to energy efficiency. When strategically positioned around the house, they act as natural insulators, reducing heat gain during warm summers and heat loss during cold winters. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a smart approach to shrub placement could cut your energy consumption by 25%.

More Privacy

You can create a natural barrier by strategically planting taller and denser shrubs at property boundaries. This doesn’t just enhance your comfort but also adds a sense of security to your living space. For example, thorny Rosa Rugosa bushes can do an excellent job of keeping unwanted visitors away.


The types of shrubs you choose will both define your front yard’s appearance and dictate your ease of maintenance.

American Yew

This shrub features dark evergreen foliage. Its dense branches and red berries provide year-round visual interest. Thanks to its tolerance to shade, the American yew can survive in nearly any corner of your yard. An American yew’s maximum height is around 5 feet. It’s not suitable for households with pets since leaves and roots are toxic to many animals.

Euonymus

This deciduous shrub comes in various colors, from variegated green and gold to deep burgundy. It has white flowers in the summer and orange-pink berries in the fall.

Since euonymus can easily be pruned to various shapes and sizes, it’s a great choice for front yard landscaping. It’s also highly resilient in extreme weather and poor-quality soil.

Hydrangea

With showy white, blue, and pink flower clusters, hydrangeas add a vibrant touch to any front yard. These perennials can adapt to various environments and grow in many soil types. They bloom for an extended period, attract pollinators, and require minimal maintenance. Hydrangeas grow large and require significant space in your yard.

Rugosa Rose

Roses are timeless favorites that are known for their beauty and fragrance. Rugosa is a resilient and disease-resistant rose plant perfect for beginner landscapers. Its stems are dense and covered with thorns, making Rugosa a great barrier shrub. It can grow as high as 6 feet with a width of 10 feet.

Soft Touch Holly

This low-maintenance shrub has soft, dark-green foliage and a compact form. Its dense and beautiful leaves could add a touch of elegance to your home garden. This shrub is tolerant to elements such as drought, shade, poor soil, and air pollution. However, it doesn’t appreciate heat and high humidity, and its mature height is between 2 and 3 feet.

Wintergreen Boxwood

Boxwood shrubs are deer-resistant evergreen plants with small, glossy green leaves. The wintergreen variety is best known for its vibrant green color and compact growth habits. A mature wintergreen boxwood is 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Though its tiny yellow flowers aren’t noticeable, they produce a pleasant scent.


How to Choose the Right Shrubs

Several important factors will help you determine the best shrubs for the front of your house. You should consider the following when choosing shrubs for your home:

Climate

Choose shrubs adapted to your region’s specific conditions, including temperature, rainfall, and soil type. Native species will have a better chance of success. However, many popular modern shrubs grow well in nearly any soil type.

Maintenance Capability

Some shrubs require labor-intensive pruning, shaping, and regular care, while others require little maintenance. Assess the time and effort you’re willing to invest in maintaining shrubs. If gardening isn’t a hobby, avoid high-maintenance plants that could take extra work.

Planting Goals

Are you looking for evergreen shrubs that provide privacy and raise your property value? Or do you want to create a pollinating garden with the most beautiful flowers?

For privacy, choose tall and dense shrubs. For color and beauty, opt for flowering shrubs that bloom for a long time. To attract wildlife, select shrubs with berries or nectar-rich flowers.

Shrub Size

Consider the size of the shrub in relation to the available space. You must make sure that the plant doesn’t overcrowd other landscaping elements or obstruct your front porch, walkways, or windows. If the shrub needs to fit into a smaller space, it may be best to select a slow-growing plant or a dwarf variety of a larger one.

Yard Design

The shrubs you plant should complement your landscape and create a harmonious visual appeal. For example, if you have a traditional-style house, classic shrubs such as boxwoods and hydrangeas would be suitable choices. Meanwhile, modern-style houses may benefit from a more contemporary option such as Viburnum davidii.


Planting and Maintenance

The proper approach to planting and maintenance will contribute to the prosperity of shrubs in your front yard. Note that even the most low-maintenance shrubs require some attention.

Disease Prevention

To avoid the spread of diseases, maintain good plant hygiene practices. Remove fallen leaves and debris around your shrubs to minimize the risk of fungal infections. Monitor for common pests and take appropriate measures to control them. You can consider using organic pest control methods to minimize toxicity and pollution.

Planting

You must find the right places for your shrubs. Keeping their potential sizes in mind, find places to allow the plants to grow freely. Avoid planting them too close to your house, walkways, or driveway.

Pruning

Pruning requirements vary from shrub to shrub, so you’ll need to research how to take care of yours. For each shrub, you must remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches and thin out crowded areas to improve air circulation.

Watering

Find out how often you need to water your chosen shrubs. Generally, newly planted shrubs need to be watered daily for one or two weeks after planting. From three to 12 weeks after planting, you’ll need to water them every two to three days. After 12 weeks, you can water weekly.

During hot and dry periods, increase the frequency of watering to prevent drought stress. Avoid watering if it rains heavily. It takes far less time to water shrubs than it takes to water a lawn, so this form of maintenance should be relatively simple.


Shrubs for Different Climates

Shrubs can grow and thrive in whichever climate they’re accustomed to. Because of this, you’ll want to consider a few climate factors before planting a new shrub in your front yard.

Humidity

Humidity levels can vary significantly between regions. Some shrubs thrive in high-humidity environments, while others prefer drier conditions. Matching the humidity preferences of shrubs to your local climate will help prevent issues such as fungal diseases and leaf damage.

Humidity-tolerant shrubs: Alternanthera, Salvias

Rainfall

Some landscaping shrubs prefer moist conditions, while others are more drought-tolerant. Choosing shrubs adapted to your area’s average rainfall patterns can help you avoid excessive maintenance.

Moisture-tolerant shrubs: Leycesteria formosa “golden lanterns,” Rosa gallica “officinalis”

Drought-tolerant shrubs: Blue Star juniper, Japanese box

Sunlight

Some shrubs thrive in full sun, while others prefer full or partial shade. Consider the sun exposure of the space where you want to plant a certain shrub. Professionals will likely have landscaping ideas if you’re curious about how to develop your garden with full sun, partial sun, or full shade.

Shrubs for sunny spaces: Common lilac, Butterfly bush

Shrubs for shady spaces:  Yew, Witch hazel

Temperature

Some shrubs appreciate cold Northern climates, while others are better suited to warm areas in the South. Many growers take advantage of hardiness zone maps to determine which perennial plants can thrive in their locations. These maps are based on the highest and lowest temperature values in an area.

Heat-tolerant shrubs: Rosa “Blue Moon,” winged sumac

Cold-resistant shrubs: Boxwood, hydrangea


Our Recommendation

Besides enhancing curb appeal, shrubs can improve the value of your property, strengthen security, and contribute to a healthier environment. Most popular shrubs that homeowners use for landscaping don’t require complicated care. However, without due attention, even the most low-maintenance plants can develop serious problems. That’s why you must research the needs of each shrub, and then water, fertilize, and prune them accordingly.

If you don’t feel like you have enough experience and want a professional to plant and take care of your shrubs, you may want to consider taking advantage of plant and lawn care services.


Best Shrubs for the Front of a House FAQ

What are the best low-maintenance shrubs for the front of the house?

A few low-maintenance shrubs for the front of a house are hydrangeas, weigelas, boxwood, and spirea.

How often should shrubs be watered?

Mature shrubs should be watered about once a week. However, when you first plant a shrub, you must water it daily for at least a week. Heavy rainfall and continuous hot weather can affect the frequency of watering.

What are some fast-growing shrubs for the front of a house?

Some of the fastest-growing shrubs for the front of a house are hydrangeas, barberry, weigela, holly, and Chinese fringe flowers.

How do I choose the right-size shrubs for my front yard?

To choose the right-size shrubs for your front yard, consider available space, proximity to structures, growth rate, and required maintenance. You should also think about the shrub’s purpose. For example, you’ll need taller shrubs for privacy, while low-growing shrubs or ground-cover shrubs can be sufficient for curb appeal.

Can shrubs damage the foundation of my house?

If planted too close, shrubs can damage the foundation of your house. To stay safe, plant small shrubs at least 2 feet away from the house’s foundation, medium shrubs at least 3 feet away, and tall shrubs a minimum of 4 feet away.