How to create shrub borders

Written by donald reinhardt
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How to create shrub borders
Create a shrubbery. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Creating good, long-lasting shrub borders is important, because proper landscaping adds to the value of a home or property. You need to consider at least four aspects of shrubs: 1. Where to place the shrubs, as well as the mature shrub sizes; 2. The shrub types to use; 3. The number of shrubs to buy for the task; and 4. Your budget. These four ideas will help in the design and successful implementation of shrub borders.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • 3.6 or 7.5 m (12 or 25 feet) tape measure
  • Landscape pictures and plant shrub information

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  1. 1

    Make a sketch of the desired landscape borders.

    Measure the accurate length and width dimensions of the shrub landscape area(s).

    Determine the largest size of each shrub that is desirable; for example, width and height of shrub no greater than 60 cm x 60 cm (2 x 2 feet), 1.2 m x 1.2 m (4 x 4 feet), 2.4 m x 2.4 m (8 x 8 feet).

  2. 2

    Prepare a list of plants that meet the area fill desired for the linear and width spaces measured.

    Use the starter shrub list below, which indicates the expected average mature width and height after 10 years' growth of 11 outstanding evergreen shrubs:

    1. Golden-thread cypress (Chaemocyparis pisfera 'Filifera Aurea'), 1 to m x 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 feet x 3 to 6 feet)

    Junipers (many species and varieties) that range from flat and spreading to upright, recommendations include:

    1. Old Gold juniper, Juniperus x media 'Old Gold', 1.5 m x 2.4 m (5 x 8 feet)

    2. Pfitzer juniper, Juniperus x media 'Pfiterana'; 2 m x 90 cm (6 1/2 x 3 feet)

    3. Skyrocket juniper, Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket', 30 cm x 1.8 m (1 x 6 feet)

    4. Sweet, or tea, olive, Osmanthus, Osmanthus fragrans, 1.2 m x 3 m (4 x 10 feet)

    5. Prunus, Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken,' 1.2 m x 2.7 m (4 x 9 feet)

    6. Rosemary, Rosemary officianalis, 1,2 m x 1.8 m (4 x 6 feet)

    7. Holly English, Ilex spp., includes Chinese Japanese, American, yaupon, Winterberry and dwarf varieties; broad range of widths and heights, 60 cm to 3 m x 60 cm to 6 m (2 to 10 x 2 to 20 feet)

    8. Pieris, Pieris floribunda, 1.8 m x 3.6 m (6 x 12 feet)

    9. Photinia, Photinia sp., 1.8 m x 3.6 m (6 x 12 feet)

    10. Japanese Pittosporum, Pittosporum tobira, 3 m x 3 m (10 x 10 feet)

  3. 3

    Cluster plants appropriately in the measured, sketch diagram to accomplish complete, or partial, fill of the space based on 10-year approximate growth.

    Mark the landscape design with an X for the plants' positions, and give a suitable symbol to identify each shrub's name and placement.

    Place and distribute plants in a manner that prohibits plants from touching or encroaching on the foundation, or house proper, based on 10-year approximate growth.

  4. 4

    Review all the plant choices and positions, and determine if the placements seem satisfactory and accurate.

  5. 5

    Determine the availability of shrubs locally or by mail order.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure that the plants you purchase are types you prefer.
  • Visit one or more local nurseries to see the plants in their natural state (as opposed to simple pictures or photo views).
  • Remember, if fill of the space is desired, allow room for overlap and proper growing together within a reasonable time.
  • Planting shrubs too close to the foundation, or house proper, is not recommended. Many plantings soon encroach on the structure and can make for an unsightly landscape.

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