Adding well placed, decorative shrubs can add curb appeal, dimension and a welcoming feel to the front of a home. Define the front porch by planting shrubbery alongside the porch's rails and steps, or add container shrubs directly onto the porch. Flowering shrubs can help add even more dimension, as the colours of the flowers will contrast with the foliage of the shrub, and complement the colours of the home.
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This small flowering semi-evergreen adapts well to diverse soil contents and thrives even during droughts. The shrub can be used as ground cover or pruned to a lesser width. The Wintergreen cotoneaster reaches between 3 feet to 4 feet in height and can span across an 8-foot width if allowed to spread. The shrub's foliage varies between medium and dark green and the blossoms are a creamy white colour. The plant does well in either shade or full sun and should be watered regularly, even though it will survive during extended absences of rainfall. This shrub is perfect for defining the area around the porch and entranceway of the home.
Green Mountain Boxwood
An upright-standing, evergreen shrub, the Green Mountain boxwood thrives best in damp soils and cooler, less humid environments. This boxwood works well when landscaping low-height porches, decks and flowerbeds, as it only reaches about 3 feet in height. In spring, this shrub produces tiny, velvety yellow blooms and dark green leaves. When planted close to each other Green Mountain boxwoods make a nice thick hedge.
William Penn Barberry
The William Penn barberry's short heights, between 3 and 4 feet tall, and thick mounding shape make it an excellent plant for flower gardens and front porch landscapes. The leaves of this plant are dark green, but transform to a brilliant bronze colour during the winter months. During the spring months, this shrub produces small yellow blooms, when the foliage once again turns green. If not planted closely together with other William Penn barberries, or trimmed back, this diminutive shrub can extend its width up to around 6 feet. This shrub adjusts easily to various soil conditions and, while it needs regular watering until adequately established, it can still flourish during periods of drought.
For those with larger front porches or decks who want to display shrubbery on the actual porch, container shrubs can add new life to the outside living area. Small or dwarf shrubs such as the dwarf Burford holly, the Japanese boxwood and the Rotunda Chinese holly are good choices if you are looking for a small container variety of shrub. While the Japanese boxwood and the Rotunda Chinese holly do not reach large heights, the dwarf Burford holly will need annual pruning or it can reach heights up to 6 feet.
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- Washington State University: William Penn Barberry
- Evergreen Nursery: Boxwood - Green Mountain
- Plant Database: Wintergreen Cotoneaster
- University of Missouri Extension: Landscaping Your Front Yard; Karen Ellersieck; June 2006
- Plant Answers; Gardening Column; Jerry Parsons, Ph.D.
- Monrovia: Green Mountain Boxwood