Low Maintenance Small Shrubs for Front of House Landscaping (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

Low Maintenance Small Shrubs For Front of House

Planting low-maintenance small shrubs in your front yard is perfect to increase your property’s curb appeal. Low-growing landscaping shrubs for the front of the house provide year-long color, fragrant flowers, and visual appeal to create a welcoming landscape. Small evergreen shrubs can grow along a foundation line, driveway, or in mixed beds for all-year greenery. Other dwarf flowering shrubs can enhance the beauty and aesthetics of your front yard.

Are you looking for inspiration to create a beautiful garden landscape at the front of your house? Do you want to find the best evergreen and deciduous shrubs for front yard planting? This article is a guide to choosing low-maintenance small shrubs for the front of the house.

What Are Low-Maintenance Small Shrubs for the Front of the House?

Small shrubs for front-of-house planting should require little care and maintain a short height without pruning. The ideal landscaping shrubs to plant in a front yard should not grow taller than 3 or 4 ft. (1 – 1.2 m). Ideally, the best low-maintenance front yard plants are flowering evergreen shrubs.

Excellent examples of small, low-maintenance evergreen shrubs for a front yard are boxwood, dwarf conifer shrubs, Oregon grape holly, Japanese black pine, and winter daphne.

Varieties of deciduous flowering shrubs for a front yard landscape include low-growing hydrangeas, blooming viburnum, forsythia, and azaleas. Some of these bushy plants have evergreen growth in warmer climates. In contrast, they grow as woody perennials in colder climates.

How to Choose Low Maintenance Small Shrubs for Front of House Landscaping

Landscaping your front yard requires choosing suitable small shrubs that are low maintenance. Before planting the bushy shrubs, you should consider your USDA growing zone, sun exposure, soil type, and watering needs. Low-maintenance small shrubs are drought-tolerant and don’t need pruning to keep them under 4 ft. (1.2 m).

When choosing to grow woody, multi-stemmed plants in a front yard, it’s good to remember how much sunlight the shrub gets. For example, small shrubs for full sun require at least six hours of direct sunshine daily. However, shade-tolerant shrubs typically require protection from direct sunlight at midday and early afternoon.

Low Maintenance Small Shrubs for Front of House Landscaping (With Pictures)

There are plenty of options if you need to add some greenery and colorful flowers to your front yard. Small landscaping shrubs are ideal for compact front gardens, accent taller shrubs, or highlight property features. Here are some of the best low-maintenance small shrubs for a front-of-house landscape.

Low Maintenance Small Flowering Hydrangea Shrubs

dwarf hydrangea

Small cultivars of hydrangea shrubs are low maintenance and a great choice for low-growing shrubs for front of house

Several varieties of small hydrangeas are low maintenance flowering shrubs suitable for a sunny front of the house. Smooth hydrangeas, bigleaf hydrangeas, and panicle hydrangeas have large, showy flower clusters. These landscaping shrubs bloom with floral displays in pink, red, blue, purple, white, and red flowers. Dwarf hydrangeas grow between 1 and 4 ft. (0.3 – 1. 2 m) tall.

Perennial hydrangea shrubs are suitable for growing in USDA zones 5 through 9. And some hydrangea cultivars are cold-hardy to zone 3. You can grow hydrangea plants in full sun to partial shade. However, you will need to regularly water the shrubs in hot climates and under full sun.

Dwarf hydrangeas are perfect for growing as a flowering hedge, foundation planting, shrub border, or planters in a container garden.

Related reading: How to care for hydrangea shrubs.

Dwarf Azalea Shrubs (Rhododendron spp.)


Flowering azalea shrubs include small cultivars that are easy to care for and give stunning color when landscaping the front yard

Dwarf azaleas are small flowering evergreen or deciduous shrubs, ideal for front-of-house, low-maintenance landscaping. The small shrubs typically grow 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m) tall and have leathery green leaves and masses of showy funnel-shaped flowers. The attractive azalea shrubs have a rounded shape and are suitable for growing in full or partial sun.

Low-growing azalea shrubs have a range of zones. For example, Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’ only grows 1 to 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall and is suitable for evergreen landscapes in USDA zone 4 to 8. On the other hand, heat-loving azaleas like ‘Red Ruffle,’ ‘Madonna,’ and ‘Fashion’ grow 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m).

Here are descriptions of dwarf azaleas suitable for growing in a front yard:

Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’—Blooms with masses of small pale purple flowers and has evergreen foliage.

Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’

Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’

Azalea japonica ‘Girard’s Rose’—The azalea flowers are magenta or deep pink and add floral fragrance and color to a front yard. The bushy plant grows 1 to 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall.

Azalea Japonica ‘Girard’s Rose’

Azalea Japonica ‘Girard’s Rose’

Rhododendron ‘Ginny Gee’—The dwarf, semi-evergreen azalea shrub has spectacular clusters of white and pink star-shaped funnel flowers. It grows 1 – 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall in full sun and is suitable for USDA zones 6 to 8.

Wintercreeper ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ (Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’)

wintercreeper Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’

The colorful foliage of small evergreen Euonymus shrubs adds ornamental element to any front garden

Also called spindle ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold,’ this brightly colored yellow and green shrubby plant is easy to care for in a front-of-house landscape. The low-growing spreading shrub has variegated yellow leaves with patches of green in the center. The easy-to-grow shrub grows 1 – 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall and up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide.

Wintercreeper shrubs have evergreen foliage and thrive in full sun to deep shade. Due to its spreading nature, wintercreeper is perfect for ground cover in a front yard. Its yellow foliage also brightens up foundations and driveway borders and can grow up a shaded wall.

Wintercreeper is an evergreen landscaping shrub suitable for USDA zones 5 to 9.

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’)

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’)

The small flowering evergreen winter daphne ‘Aureomarginata’ has attractive variegated leaves and doesn’t require much care

Winter daphne is a low-maintenance, small evergreen shrub for front-of-house landscaping. It features fragrant clusters of pinkish flowers and dark green variegated foliage. This small shrub offers plenty of ornamental value for a front yard due to its dense growth, pink and green colors, and evergreen leaves. Winter daphne grows 3 to 4 ft. (1 – 1.2 m) tall.

Winter daphne is ideal for planting in USDA zones 7 to 9. Planting it along a foundation line under windows or near a front entrance allows you to enjoy the fragrant perfume aromas in the home. The small, low-maintenance shrub also performs well as a flowering hedge, shrub border, or specimen plant.

Small Boxwood Landscaping Shrubs (Buxus)

boxwood shrubs

Dwarf evergreen boxwood shrubs are hardy and easy to grow in most areas and thrive in full sun or shade and can look great as potted plants

Boxwood shrubs are some of the most popular front-of-house landscaping plants due to their evergreen foliage, compact growth, and hardiness. In addition, boxwood shrub cultivars typically have either a rounded or conical shape. This makes the plants highly versatile in a front yard landscape growing in full sun or shade.

Here are some low maintenance evergreen boxwood shrubs to enhance a front garden:

Littleleaf Boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’)—The small shrub has evergreen foliage consisting of small oval, leathery leaves. Suitable for formal hedges, this cultivar grows 1 ft. (0.3 m) tall.

Littleleaf Boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’)

Littleleaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’)

Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)—Features of this dwarf, evergreen shrub are its glossy green leaves, soft foliage, and rounded growth.

Dwarf English Boxwood

Dwarf English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)

Boxwood ‘Silver Beauty’ (Buxus sempervirens ‘Silver Beauty’)—The dwarf boxwood has attractive variegated foliage consisting of tiny green leaves with creamy-white margins. It has a rounded shape and grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall.

Boxwood 'Silver Beauty'

Boxwood ‘Silver Beauty’ (Buxus sempervirens ‘Silver Beauty’)

Inkberry ‘Shamrock’ (Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’)

Ilex glabra Shamrock

Inkberry ‘Shamrock’ is a small easy to care for evergreen shrub that tolerates poorly-drained soil

The inkberry shrub ‘Shamrock’ is an easy-care, low-growing, evergreen shrub. The shrub’s valuable landscaping features are small white spring flowers, lush, glossy green foliage, and dark blue berries in the fall. Inkberry ‘Shamrock’ grows 3 to 4 ft. (1 – 1.2 m) tall in full to partial sun.

Inkberry ‘Shamrock’ thrives in USDA zones 4 to 9 and tolerates a wide range of soil types. You can plant the shrubby plant near ponds, along a foundation line, or grow the shrub in a border or an evergreen hedge.

Dwarf Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’)

Dwarf Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’)

Dwarf Japanese black pine is suitable even for the smallest front yard and makes an excellent choice for the landscape

The Japanese black pine cultivar ‘Kotobuki’ is a relatively fast-growing coniferous shrub with dark-green needle foliage, ivory-white candle-like buds, and brown cones. The sun-loving conifer grows 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide. Its short, irregular branching creates an attractive silhouette in a front yard.

Japanese black pine ‘Kotobuki’ thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8. Its relatively narrow, columnar growth makes this ideal for accenting the corner of a house. You can also grow the full-sun shrub in a container at the front door or entranceway.

Low Maintenance Small Oregon Grape Holly Shrub (Mahonia aquifolium)

Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)

Oregon grape holly is a flowering evergreen shrub with yellow flowers in early spring, followed by blue berries, and is small enough for accenting front of house shaded areas

Oregon grape holly is a small yellow-flowering landscaping shrub with jagged holly-like glossy green leaves and bunches of waxy-blue berries. The fragrant yellow spring flowers add a splash of color to shaded front yards, and its lustrous evergreen leaves emerge bronze-red, turn green, then transform to burgundy in the fall.

Oregon grape holly grows 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall and performs best in part shade or deep shade in USDA zones 5 – 8. The flowering perfumed shrub is ideal for foundation planting on the north-facing side of a house.

Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

Rhaphiolepis indica

Indian hawthorn is a type of evergreen flowering shrub with pink or white flowers. This image shows Rhaphiolepis indica cv. ‘Ballerina’ that grows only to 3 -4 ft. (1 – 1.2 m) tall

Indian hawthorn is an evergreen, low maintenance front-yard landscaping shrub that blooms with masses of pink and white flowers. This low maintenance shrub is identified by its thick, leathery, lance-shaped leaves, fragrant pink spring blossoms, and blue berries in the fall. Indian hawthorn grows 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m) tall.

Indian hawthorn is best grown in warm climates in zones 8 and above. It’s a drought-resistant, salt-tolerant shrub that brightens front yard landscapes through the year. Grow the shrubby plant as a foundation planting, shrub border, evergreen hedge, or container plant.

Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Minima Aurea’)

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Minima Aurea'

Lawson cypress is a slow growing low maintenance shrub that retains its attractive shape without pruning

The Lawson cypress cultivar ‘Minima Aurea’ is perfect for an evergreen landscape due to its soft, feathery foliage and golden yellowish-green colors. The low maintenance evergreen conifer shrub is characterized by its conical habit and slow growth. Growing in full sun, the attractive shrub grows 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide.

The Lawson cypress shrub is easy to grow and doesn’t require pruning to keep its pyramid shape. It is a full sun to part shade shrub that thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8. To create a focal point, you can plant the shrub as a specimen plant. Alternatively, it thrives in a container to be placed beside a front door.



Dwarf forsythia cultivars are hardy shrubs that make a good choice for fast-growing flowering hedge for front of house

Yellow forsythia shrubs are early-blooming deciduous bushy plants with a gracefully arching habit. The stunning yellow shrub becomes a mass of yellow flowers at the end of winter or early spring. In the fall, the dense foliage turns shades of purple, gold, or bright yellow.

Two dwarf forsythia cultivars suitable for front yards in full sun are Forsythia ‘Happy Centennial’ and Korean forsythia (Forsythia ovata). ‘Happy Centennial’ thrives in USDA zones 5 to 9 and grows 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m) tall. The Korean forsythia grows 4 to 5 ft. (1.2 – 1.5 m) tall in full sun and in USDA zones 5 to 7.


dwarf Viburnum

Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum obovatum (in the picture) is a perfect shrub for small, compact front gardens. It grows between 1 and 5 ft. (0.3 – 1.5 m) tall

Viburnum shrubs are spectacular cold-hardy landscaping shrubs that can fill a front-of-house landscape with fragrant flowers. The pretty flower clusters consist of tiny five-petaled pea-like blossoms blooming throughout spring. The shrubs bloom in colors like pink and creamy white, followed by red, orange, or blue berries.

Dwarf viburnum shrubs grow 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall depending on the cultivar. Some of the best landscaping viburnum shrubs are cold-hardy to zones 2. But most are suitable for growing in USDA zones 4 to 7.

Korean Barberry (Berberis koreana)

Berberis koreana

Korean barberry is a low maintenance semi-evergreen landscaping bush that provide year round interest to a front yard

Korean barberry is an attractive ornamental shrub known for its golden yellow flowers, vibrant red berries, and semi-evergreen leaves. Korean barberry has dense foliage forming a rounded shrub that grows 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall. It has four-season interest with yellow spring flowers, attractive summer leaves, and maroon or purple fall colors.

Korean barberry thrives in USDA zones 3 to 7 in full sun to partial shade. The drought-tolerant shrub is ideal for front-of-house foundation planting, a security hedge, privacy screen, or specimen plant. It also grows well in most soils that have excellent drainage.

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea Nana’)

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea Nana’)

The low growing Japanese barberry ‘Atropurpurea Nana’ has attractive red foliage and tolerates many poor conditions

Japanese barberry ‘Atropurpurea Nana’ is a small red landscaping bush for front of the house with small red leaves, yellow spring flowers, and bright red berries. It’s a low-growing bushy plant with sharp, spiny stems that adds a pop of color to a summer landscape. Japanese barberry grows 1 to 2 ft. (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall.

Japanese barberry thrives in most soils and performs best in full sun or part shade. Additionally, the low-maintenance landscaping shrub is tolerant of many unfavorable conditions—drought, salt, pollution, and deer.

Its sharp spines make the Japanese barberry shrub ideal as a security foundation plant. You can also grow the shrub as a specimen or border plant or as a colorful hedge or screen. Grow in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Cavatine Dwarf Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’)

Cavatine Dwarf Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’)

The small flowering Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’ shrub looks beautiful in any front or backyard

Low-growing, compact Japanese Pieris ‘Cavatine’ is a fantastic shrub for low maintenance front-of-house landscaping. The shrub’s valuable features are its showy clusters of fragrant white bell-shaped flowers and narrow, lance-shaped dark green leaves. The white-flowering shrub grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall in a low-maintenance yard.

The compact evergreen shrub is suitable for planting in USDA zones 6 through 9. Its evergreen foliage keeps front yards attractive all year long, and its showy white flowers brighten spring landscapes.

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’)

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense 'Sunshine')

The compact Chinese privet shrub adds a burst of sunny yellow colored foliage to brighten up your front garden

Chinese privet is a low maintenance, small evergreen yellow-leaved landscaping shrub to add a touch of vibrancy to a green landscape. It’s an excellent shrub for the front of the house because of its golden yellow leaves, small white flowers, and bluish-black berries that add visual appeal throughout the year. The small shrub grows 3 – 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall and performs best in full sun.

Chinese privet performs best in USDA zones 6 to 10. It is tolerant of drought, salt, and heat and grows in most soil types with excellent drainage. The compact yellow shrub is ideal for small front yards, a low-growing hedge, or a container plant.

Oriental Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

Oriental Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

Oriental paperbush grows best in partial shade and rich, moist soil

Oriental paperbush is a beautiful shrub that blooms in winter with showy yellowish-white to orange flower clusters. The deciduous shrub grows up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and wide and has a rounded habit. Fragrant flowers cover bare stems in late winter or early spring before leaves appear. Grow in USDA zones 7 – 9.

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