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The Right Shrub for the Job

Choosing the right shrubs for your yard or garden can be a frustrating process. Get started with these useful tips.

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When you make the proper selections, shrubs can help you work out a variety of landscaping challenges — and create a more peaceful environment in your yard. Here are some shrub varieties that help solve problems:

  • Shrubs that are quick growing and tall work well to create a screen between you and noisy — or nosy — neighbors.

  • Azaleas or rhododendrons or other blooming shrubs help dress up the front yard. They're also fragrant if you spend a lot of time on the front porch.

  • To distance your home and yard from a busy street, gradually build a wall of shrubs. Start with low shrubs such as juniper, then phase in a row of something a little higher behind it — like holly. Last, work in some shrubs that grow higher still. But do make sure that you don't obscure your house so much that burglars can sneak in easily.

  • Rounded shrubs, such as hydrangeas, work well for borders.

  • Vertical shrubs work in front of windowless walls — but don't put one outside a window with a view!

  • An arching shrub, such as forsythia, looks good in the yard by itself.

  • For small gardens, select a very few spreading shrubs, but don't cover up all your soil.

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