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» Landscaping: Shrubbery

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Shrubs and bushes are a perfect addition to nearly any landscaping effort. Not only do they provide privacy, but also create a sense of space/border, and allow you to guide the foot traffic into and out of your home as you wish with a clever design. Speaking of which, the desired design and function of your bushes also dictates, to some degree, which varieties you should buy.

For example, we use cotton easter and flame bushes near the house because they grow slowly and maintain their shape very well in between pruning.

Additionally they won’t grow so high as to block windows. We also use these bushes for covering otherwise unsightly features in our yard (like a boxed electrical outlet). Overall this creates an informal hedge that adapts to flowers and other landscaping touches from year to year. Formal hedges are a little different in that they need regular care for shaping.

Other things to look at in picking out shrubs include the quality of soil in your yard, how much light you have (in the area where you want to put the bushes) and if there are any local ordinances about where bushes can be planted. With soil and light, choose something hearty suited to your conditions. As for legal matters, some townships don’t allow them within a certain distance of property lines or the street. Call the local building department for details.

If you’re just starting to plant young bushes, be aware that these will grow. Look at the information provided with the greenery regarding how deep to plant it, and how much room to leave the bush for growth. Also make sure that the adult size of the plant suits its location and your overall vision for the yard.

Be aware, however, that if you’re mixing types of bushes, they won’t all grow at the same rate. So you may need to have a few filler plants for the first couple of seasons (up to five years) until the shrubs mature. Some of the bushes I really like include lilac and boxwood, the later of which makes a great formal hedge.

Note to new gardeners: plant your bushes no later than late spring if possible. They will require time to adapt to the climate and become established before the ground freezes in winter if you live in a four-season region. In areas where the soil doesn’t freeze, you can plant bushes in Fall.

There are a vast array of nurseries online that will ship products to your door, including Musser Forests, located in Indiana Pennsylvania which offers amazing trees and great values.

You might also want to take a look at the nursery and garden center at your local Walmart department store.


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