It’s sometimes said that if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. While that may or may not be true from a landscaping perspective, if you have a bunch of small spaces and are feeling uncertain what to put there, Steve Myers & Sons Nursery would be happy to offer some recommendations. Let’s jump right in.
Downsized In Size Only
The term “shrub” may not sound like much. However, shrubs make a great fit for small outdoor areas that it’s tricky to put anything else in; furthermore, a good few of them have quite the impact despite their small size. Many small shrubs make good company with the standard retinue of annuals, perennials, trees, and anything else you’d like to put in. A good deal of them are flowering shrubs and will add color and scent to your landscape that you otherwise might not have. Furthermore, they can and do attract pollinators (which helps to keep the ecosystem healthy), may attract wildlife (whether this a good thing depends on the wildlife nearby), and also provide structure to your landscape layout -though, being a landscaper, you probably already have a plan thought out. You can also use shrubs to define boundaries and create outdoor “rooms” after a fashion.
Sun And Shade
Most shrubs need full or at least partial sun to do very well. Depending on the shrub, it may be content to sit in the sun for most of the day, or it may not be able to handle the scorching afternoon sun very well, in which case you should give it morning sun and afternoon shade. Either way, the right amount of light, water, and soil nutrients are crucial to getting your shrubs to look their best. Some may not flower if in the wrong conditions.
“Stars” Of The Show
So, with all the basics taken care of. What shrubs will do your landscape good in the best way possible? Let’s look over a few.
Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas make great landscape sprucer-uppers, despite not being spruces. Furthermore, some hydrangeas bloom almost endlessly for most if not all of the year, making them a great landscape fixture. Dwarf shrubs (for the really small spaces) can be absolutely stunning if employed correctly.
Daphne: You may have heard that daphne is finicky. It is, but certain varieties are considerably less so. If you happen upon any you like, talk to us about its required conditions and we’ll see how we can help.
Rhododendron: It may seem odd that rhododendrons would make the list. Most of them are too tall for small spaces, but there are a few that only reach about three feet tall in total, which works quite well.
Bamboo: In warmer places, some varieties of bamboo may fit the bill. Beware planting them too freely – in some places they might be considered invasive and do considerably more damage than help!
Lastly, always read up about what a plant might do ten years from when you get it. Some may start out small and then get surprisingly large (even a “dwarf” tree could stand as tall as a two-story building, given the right conditions). Others may start compact but expand horizontally more than expected.