If low maintenance is your preference in landscape design, then go with low growing or slow growing evergreen shrubs. Low maintenance landscapes may be a good choice for a homeowner who travels frequently, is not physically capable of maintaining the landscape, or cannot afford to pay someone to do the work for them. In the picture above, evergreen shrubs are used as foundation plants and to line the sidewalk. Planting a few deciduous trees (loses leaves in the fall) in the grassy area will provide shade to the house that helps reduce energy costs.
Plant short evergreen shrubs under windows. Use tall, slender evergreen shrubs to help soften sharp corners. Tall, full evergreens, like the two conical-shaped Weeping Blue Cedar shown at opposite ends of the house, need space to grow out and up. Full and tall evergreens provide privacy and help to block wind.
Following are examples of shrubs to fit a slow and low growing evergreen landscape design. Since the shrubs are not available in all planting areas, ask your local garden center for low growing evergreens they carry.
Creeping shrubs (12 to 24 inches tall)
Dwarf Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Nana'). Cold hardy to USDA zone 4b. Spreads 4 to 5 feet. Plant in full sun to part shade.
Sargent juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Sargentii') grows fast, but less than 2 feet tall. Spreads 7 to 9 feet. Cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 8. Plant in full sun.
Repanda juniper (Juniperus communis 'Repanda') grows in full sun and is cold hardy in USDA zone 6 through 9. Grows up to 5 feet wide.
Low growing shrubs (2 to 3 feet tall)
Chenault barberry (Berberis x chenaultii) is a dense with dark leaves. Chenault barberry is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 8. Suitable for full sun to part shade, the dark leaves of this evergreen shrub turn a bronze color in the fall.
Korean boxwood (Buxus x) works in many landscape design projects, especially a formal setting. Low growing varieties include 'Glencoe,' 'Green Gem,' 'Green Mound,' 'Green Velvet,' and 'Wilson.' This evergreen shrub grows in full sun to part shade and is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 9.
Golden mop sawara (Chamaecyparis pisifera), with a spread and height of 2 to 3 feet, this cypress offers a unique golden color to your landscape design. Plant in full sun to part shade in USDA zones 5 through 8.
Mid-height shrubs (4 to 6 feet)
Compact inkberry (Ilex glabra 'Compacta') grows best in part shade. This broadleaf evergreen grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide, and produces white blooms in the spring. Grows in USDA planting zones 4 through 9.
Blue boy meserve holly (Ilex x meserveae), a slow-growing leafy evergreen, grows to a height and width of about 5 feet. Plant in partial shade. Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. This evergreen shrub produces red berries in the winter.
Hinoki false cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’) reaches up to 6 feet tall, making it a good choice from a corner or to add some height elsewhere in the landscape. This needle evergreen is cold hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. Plant in full sun to part shade.*