November 25


Creative Ideas for Adding Structure and Visual Appeal to Your Garden with Evergreens Throughout the Year

Landscaping with evergreens – 9 ways to add structure and interest to your garden year round

Evergreens are a fantastic choice for any garden, as they provide structure and interest all year round. Their dark green leaves create a striking contrast against the lighter shades found in most gardens, making them stand out and catch the eye. In addition to their beautiful foliage, many evergreen plants also produce colorful berries and blooms, adding even more visual appeal.

One piece of advice to keep in mind when landscaping with evergreens is to choose plants that can grow well in your specific conditions. Some evergreens may prefer sunny locations, while others thrive in shade. It’s important to ensure that the plants you select will grow happily within your garden.

One of the best ways to use evergreens in your landscaping is by creating focal points. Placing a neatly clipped buxus hedge in the corners of your garden or using taller shrubs such as Ilex baccata can instantly add drama and structure to your outdoor space. You can also use evergreens to create formal parterre or topiary designs, which will give your garden a more structured and elegant look.

Another way to add interest to your garden with evergreens is by combining different shapes and colors. For example, you can use darker green shrubs, such as Osmanthus or Sarcococca, as a backdrop for plants with lighter foliage. The combination of light and dark creates a visually appealing contrast.

If you want to add some fragrance to your garden, consider using scented evergreens like the Osmanthus or Sarcococca. These plants produce small, delicate flowers that release a wonderfully sweet aroma, especially in the spring. Not only will they look beautiful, but they will also fill your garden with their delightful scent.

Clipping evergreens is an important part of maintaining their shape and form. Regular pruning will help to keep the plants looking neat and tidy, while also ensuring that they grow in the desired direction. However, it’s crucial to choose the right time to prune each plant, as some evergreens are best pruned in the early spring, while others should be pruned after they have finished flowering in the summer.

When it comes to landscaping with evergreens, the possibilities are endless. Whether you want to create a formal and structured garden or a more natural and informal space, there are many different plants and ideas to choose from. By incorporating evergreens into your garden, you can add year-round interest, structure, and beauty that will delight you for years to come.

Landscaping with evergreens

When it comes to landscaping, evergreens are an excellent choice. They provide color, texture, and interest to your garden year round. Whether you’re looking for shade, berries, or dramatic shapes, there’s an evergreen plant that will fit the bill.

1. Creating structure in your garden

One of the main benefits of using evergreens in landscaping is that they provide structure. They can be used to define boundaries, create privacy, and add interest to different areas of your garden. For example, you can use tall evergreen trees like Thuja plicata or Pinus sylvestris to create a backdrop for your garden, while smaller shrubs like Juniperus tenuifolium or Taxus baccata can be used to fill in corners or create hedges.

2. Adding color and texture

Evergreens come in a wide range of colors, from traditional greens to variegated or even purple foliage. These different colors can be used to add interest and depth to your garden design. For example, you could plant a mix of different evergreen shrubs with different foliage colors to create a visually striking color scheme. Additionally, the texture of evergreen foliage can also bring something unique to your garden, whether it’s the fine foliage of a Juniperus tenuifolium or the dramatic, needle-like leaves of a Pinus nigra.

3. Providing year-round interest

Unlike deciduous plants that lose their leaves in winter, evergreens maintain their foliage year-round. This means that they can provide interest and color to your garden, even in the darkest months. For example, some evergreen plants like the Osmanthus or Rhododendron have beautiful and fragrant blooms in late winter or early spring, while others like the Mahonia have vibrant berries that persist through the winter.

4. Creating privacy and shade

Evergreens are a popular choice for creating privacy and shade in gardens. Their dense foliage can block out unwanted views and create a secluded place within your garden. Additionally, their shade can help keep your garden cooler in the summer, which is especially useful in sunny and hot climates.

5. Low maintenance

Evergreens are generally low maintenance plants, making them an excellent choice for busy gardeners or those who prefer a low maintenance garden. Once established, evergreens require little pruning or special care, and they can tolerate a variety of soil conditions and weather conditions.

6. Useful for different garden designs

Evergreens can be used in various garden designs, from formal to informal. For example, you can create a traditional English garden with clipped evergreen hedges and topiaries, or a more contemporary garden with sleek and minimalist shapes. You can also use evergreens to create a parterre garden with intricate geometric patterns.

7. Helping darker and shadier areas

Evergreens are a great choice for areas of your garden that receive less sunlight or are in shade for part of the day. They can tolerate and even thrive in these conditions, providing much-needed greenery and interest to these areas. Some evergreen plants like Hebe or Ilex crenata can even tolerate full shade.

8. Attracting wildlife

Many evergreen plants produce berries or flowers that attract wildlife to your garden. For example, plants like the Ilex aquifolium or the Pyracantha coccinea produce berries that birds love to feast on. By including these plants in your garden, you can create a haven for birds and other wildlife.

9. Bringing year-round interest to container gardens

9. Bringing year-round interest to container gardens

Evergreens are not limited to traditional gardens. They can also be grown in containers, making them a perfect choice for balconies, patios, or small gardens. By selecting evergreen plants with interesting foliage or flowers, you can create a striking container garden that provides year-round interest.

So, whether you’re looking to add structure, color, or year-round interest to your garden, consider incorporating evergreens into your landscaping design. Their versatility, low maintenance, and beauty make them a fantastic choice for any garden.

1 Use evergreens for screening and privacy

One of the most common uses for evergreens in landscaping is to create privacy and screening in your garden. Evergreens provide year-round coverage and can help block views of your property from neighbors or busy streets. They can also provide a windbreak, reducing the impact of harsh weather conditions.

Claudia Ball, a landscaping expert, suggests using evergreen varieties such as Ilex aquifolium (holly), Taxus baccata (yew), and Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel) for this purpose. “These evergreens have a dense growth habit and dark green foliage, which helps ensure good privacy,” says Ball.

In addition to their screening capabilities, these evergreens can also add interest to your garden with their flowers and berries. For example, Ilex aquifolium produces fiery red berries, while Taxus baccata has small, purple flowers. These colorful elements can play off the green foliage and create a wonderfully dramatic and well-balanced look.

If you want to go for a more clipped and formal look, Claudia Ball suggests using Osmanthus delavayi (Delavay osmanthus) or Ilex aquifolium ‘Ball’s Selection’ (Ball holly). These evergreens can be clipped into various shapes, such as mounding or hedging, creating a focal point in your garden.

To add fragrance to your garden, you can use Sarcococca confusa (sweet box). This evergreen has small, scented flowers that bloom in the winter, adding a wonderful scent to your garden when most other plants are dormant.

When choosing evergreens for privacy and screening, it’s important to consider their growth habit and leaf color. Some varieties have a more upright habit, while others are more spreading. The leaf color can range from bright green to dark green, so choose a variety that suits your design preferences.

Overall, evergreens are a great choice for creating privacy and screening in your garden. They provide year-round coverage and can add color, texture, and scent to your outdoor space. Whether you prefer a more natural look or a formal, clipped design, there are plenty of evergreen options to choose from.

2 Add blissful scent

Evergreens can not only provide year-round interest with their foliage, but many of them also have delightful scents that can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your garden. Adding fragrant evergreens to your landscaping can help create a calming and aromatic atmosphere.

Choosing fragrant evergreens

There are several varieties of evergreens that are known for their wonderful scents. Here are some options to consider:

  • Buxus: This traditional evergreen shrub is not only a good option for creating formal hedges, but it also produces small, white blooms that have a pleasant fragrance.
  • Osmanthus: These evergreen shrubs have small, white or orange blooms that emit a sweet fragrance. They are fast-growing and low maintenance, making them a popular choice for many gardeners.
  • Hebe: With its variegated foliage and compact habit, hebe is a beautiful evergreen shrub that can bring not only color but also a heavenly scent to your garden.

Planting fragrant evergreens

When planting fragrant evergreens, it’s important to consider their placement in your garden. You want to ensure that their scent can be enjoyed in the areas where you spend the most time. Consider planting them near seating areas, pathways, or entrances to your garden.

Additionally, you may want to use fragrant evergreens as a form of natural air fresheners by placing them near windows or in corners where the breeze can carry their scent throughout your home.

Clipped and flowering evergreens

In addition to the pleasant scents they offer, some evergreens also provide visual interest through clipped and flowering forms. Buxus and hebe, for example, can be clipped into various shapes and forms to create formal or exotic hedges and topiaries.

Furthermore, some evergreens, such as the fiery tenuifolium, can produce colorful blooms in the summer months. These flowering evergreens create a stunning contrast against the green foliage and add an extra element of beauty to your garden.

Using fragrant evergreens all year round

By choosing a variety of fragrant evergreens, you can ensure that your garden smells delightful throughout all seasons. Some evergreens, such as osmanthus, bloom in the spring, while others, like buxus and hebe, produce fragrance year-round.

Consider creating a planting scheme with different varieties of fragrant evergreens to ensure that there is a continuous aroma in your garden. Mix them with other landscaping elements such as flowering plants, berries, or clipped forms to create a visually appealing and fragrant garden all year round.

3 Use evergreens for form and rhythm

3 Use evergreens for form and rhythm

Evergreen plants can be utilized in your garden to create form and rhythm, adding structure and interest year round. Whether you have a small garden or a large one, there are many evergreen options to suit your needs. These plants have the advantage of retaining their foliage, even in the colder months, providing both visual interest and a sense of permanence to your outdoor space.

One way to use evergreens for form and rhythm is to incorporate them into the corners of your garden or as focal points along walkways. By using evergreens with a slightly higher growth habit, they can bring a sense of height and structure to your garden, even in the winter months.

For fiery seasonal interest, consider using evergreens with vibrant blooms or berries. Plants such as Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ or Ilex aquifolium ‘Baccata’ can add a splash of color and exotic feel to your garden. These plants can be especially useful in darker areas of your garden or to create a focal point. Claudia de Yong, a landscape designer, suggests using these plants in combination with lighter foliage or flowers to create a well-balanced color scheme.

In areas that receive little to no direct light, evergreens such as Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis or Viburnum tinus can thrive. These plants can tolerate shade and are well-suited to planting along a fence or wall. With their neat growth habit, they can provide a sense of order and structure to your garden.

One useful tip when using evergreens for form and rhythm is to consider the size and shape of the plant. While many evergreens can be pruned or clipped to maintain a certain shape, it is important to select plants that naturally have the habit you desire. This will save you time and effort in the long run.

Overall, incorporating evergreens into your garden design can help bring year-round interest and structure. Whether you are looking to create a focal point, add color and texture, or simply fill in empty spaces, there are many evergreen options to suit your needs. By selecting the right plants and placing them strategically, you can create a garden that looks great throughout all seasons.

4 Plant an evergreen backdrop

Another way to incorporate evergreens into your landscaping is by using them as a backdrop. This not only provides structure and interest to your garden, but also helps to create a unified and cohesive design. Claudia suggests planting evergreens in the back of your garden beds or along fences and walls to create a lush green backdrop that will look good throughout the year.

When choosing evergreens for a backdrop, it is important to consider the size and growth habit of the plants. Larger evergreens, such as buxus or yews, are a good choice for creating a dramatic backdrop, while smaller varieties like sarcococca can be used for a more subtle effect. You can also choose evergreens with different foliage colors and textures to add more interest to your backdrop.

In addition to providing structure and interest, an evergreen backdrop can also serve as a useful alternative to traditional hedging. “You can create a clipped parterre using evergreens, which will not only provide a year-round green framework, but also offer a more fragrant and attractive option,” says Claudia. This is especially helpful in areas where the conditions may not be suitable for growing traditional hedging plants.

To ensure that your evergreen backdrop looks its best throughout the year, it is important to provide the right conditions for the plants to grow. Most evergreens prefer well-drained soil and full sun, although some varieties can tolerate partial shade. Regular watering and mulching can also help to keep the plants healthy and happy.

In terms of plant selection, there are many evergreens to choose from. Some varieties, like holly, produce berries, while others, like boxwood, have small white flowers. Claudia suggests using a mix of evergreens with different bloom times and foliage colors to create a backdrop that will provide interest throughout the seasons. “You can also include evergreens with fiery fall foliage or fragrant blooms to bring even more interest to your backdrop,” she adds.

Whether you want a green backdrop or one with more color and texture, evergreens can be a wonderful addition to any garden. Their year-round interest, structural qualities, and ability to provide a backdrop for other plants make them a versatile and valuable addition to your landscape.

5 Landscape with evergreen hedges and borders

Evergreen hedges and borders are a fantastic way to add structure and interest to your garden year round. Here are some ideas for using them to create beautiful landscape designs:

1. Buxus sempervirens (Common Boxwood)

  • This classic evergreen hedge can be easily pruned into formal shapes, such as balls or cones, to create a well-balanced form.
  • The dark green foliage provides a wonderful backdrop for flowering plants and other colorful elements in the garden.

2. Hebe ‘Claudia’

  • With its slightly mounding habit and purple variegated foliage, Hebe ‘Claudia’ adds a touch of drama to any landscape design.
  • The flowers that appear in summer are an added bonus, attracting bees and butterflies.

3. Ilex crenata ‘Green Hedge’ (Japanese Holly)

  • This compact evergreen shrub is a great choice for low hedges and borders.
  • The small, dark green leaves create a neat and tidy appearance, making it a low-maintenance option.

4. Pittosporum tenuifolium (Kohuhu)

  • Pittosporum tenuifolium has a dense growth habit that makes it ideal for creating privacy screens or hedging.
  • The dark green foliage contrasts beautifully with the white flowers that appear in spring.

5. Osmanthus x burkwoodii (Burkwood Osmanthus)

  • This evergreen shrub has a compact growth habit and produces wonderfully fragrant flowers in the spring.
  • It can be used to create a hedge or border, and is also suitable for planting along a path or in containers.

These are just a few examples of the many evergreen hedges and borders that you can choose from. Whether you prefer a formal or informal design, there are plenty of options that will add structure and interest to your garden year round.

6 Create structure with topiary

Topiary is a great way to introduce architectural interest into your garden. By shaping and pruning evergreen shrubs and trees into geometric or whimsical forms, you can create stunning focal points that add structure and intrigue to your outdoor space.

There are many different plants that can be used for topiary, but some popular choices include boxwood (Buxus), yew (Taxus), and holly (Ilex). These evergreens have a dense, compact growth habit, making them perfect for shaping into different forms such as balls, cones, spirals, or animals.

Topiary can be used in various areas of your garden. If you have a sunny spot, you can create a dramatic entranceway by placing two topiary plants on either side of a path or door. Alternatively, you can use topiary to contrast with other plants in a more traditional planting scheme. For shady areas, there are also topiary options available such as ilex crenata ‘Stokes’, which is a compact, shade-tolerant variety.

Claudia de Yong, a garden designer, says, “Topiary can bring structure and interest to a garden throughout the year. You can create different shapes and forms with topiary, and it can be used to enhance both modern and traditional garden designs.”

Topiary requires regular maintenance to keep the shapes looking neat and tidy. Pruning should be done at the right time of year, depending on the plant and its growth habit. Some evergreens, such as boxwood, can be pruned multiple times throughout the year, while others, such as yew, only need an annual trim.

If you want your topiary to have more than just green foliage, you can choose plants that have additional interest. For example, holly (Ilex) has red berries that add a pop of color, and sarcococca (sweet box) has fragrant blooms that will fill your garden with a delightful scent in the winter months.

To ensure a well-balanced design, it’s a good idea to mix different types of topiary with other plants. You can use low-growing topiary as edging along a path or border, or taller topiary as hedging to provide privacy and structure.

7 Bring color or interest to shady spots

7 Bring color or interest to shady spots

Shady spots in the garden can often feel dull and lifeless, but with the right plants, you can bring color and interest to these areas throughout the year. Here are some ideas for adding beauty to your shady spots:

1. Scented Shrubs

Consider planting scented shrubs like sarcococca or osmanthus. These plants have small, white flowers that bloom in winter or early spring and emit a delightful fragrance. Their dark green foliage will provide a lush backdrop for the flowers, creating a beautiful contrast.

2. Winter Berries

Add a pop of color to your shady spots with plants that produce berries in winter. For example, the winterberry (Ilex) is a large shrub that grows well in shaded areas and provides bright red berries that last throughout the winter months.

3. Evergreen Leaf Clipping

If you want to create a more formal look in your shady areas, consider using evergreen shrubs that can be clipped into shape. Buxus (boxwood) and Taxus (yew) are popular choices for creating clipped hedges or topiary. Their dense, green foliage will add structure and interest to your garden year-round.

4. Fiery Autumn Colors

Create a vibrant display in your shady spots by planting shrubs that offer fiery autumn colors. For example, the Viburnum tinus shrub has dark green leaves that turn shades of red and purple in the fall. The combination of these colors will add a touch of warmth to your shaded areas.

5. Flowering Shade Plants

There are many flowering shade plants that can add color to your garden year-round. Some popular options include Lenten roses (Helleborus), bleeding hearts (Dicentra), and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum). These plants will brighten up your shady areas with their beautiful blooms.

6. Play with Light and Dark

6. Play with Light and Dark

Introduce contrast to your shaded spots by playing with light and dark foliage. For example, mix plants with dark green leaves like rhododendrons or camellias with those that have lighter green foliage like hostas or ferns. This combination will add dimension and visual interest to your garden.

7. Use Traditional Hedging Plants

Traditional hedging plants like laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) or privet (Ligustrum) can also be used in shady areas. These plants have dense foliage and can create a natural boundary within your garden. Additionally, some varieties offer scented flowers or berries, adding extra interest to your shady spots.

Don’t let shady spots in your garden go to waste! With the right plants, you can bring color, texture, and fragrance to these areas throughout the year. Whether you choose scented shrubs, winter berries, or flowering shade plants, there are plenty of options to suit your garden’s needs. So get creative and transform those dull shady spots into beautiful and vibrant areas!

8 Add symmetry and shapes with an evergreen parterre

If you want to add some structure and visual interest to your garden, consider creating an evergreen parterre. This classic garden design element uses carefully clipped and shaped evergreen plants to create symmetrical patterns and shapes. Whether you have a large or small garden, an evergreen parterre can add a touch of elegance and formality.

One of the advantages of using evergreen plants in a parterre is their year-round beauty. They retain their foliage all year, providing greenery even in winter when many other plants have gone dormant. Variegated evergreens, such as the Variegated Box (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) or the Claudia (Buxus sempervirens ‘Claudia’), can add even more interest with their colorful leaves.

When choosing the right plants for your parterre, consider their growth habit. Some plants, like the evergreen Ilex crenata ‘Fastigiata’, have a naturally narrow and upright habit, making them perfect for creating vertical shapes. Others, like the clipped Ball Hedging Ilex meserveae ‘Blue Prince’, can be shaped into round or ball-like forms.

To create a parterre, you’ll want to plan out the shapes and patterns you want to create. Traditional parterres often feature symmetrical designs, with identical or mirrored shapes on either side of a central axis. However, you can also play with asymmetry and create more modern and unique designs.

Clipping and shaping the evergreens is an important part of maintaining a parterre. Regular clipping helps ensure that the plants keep their shape and form, and it also stimulates new growth, resulting in a denser and more well-balanced parterre. To make the clipping process easier, you can use templates or create temporary frames to guide your shears and ensure precise shaping.

Don’t be afraid to mix different types of evergreens in your parterre. Combining plants with different leaf shapes, textures, and colors can create a more visually interesting and dynamic design. For example, you can combine the fine, feathery leaves of a Ilex crenata ‘Fastigiata’ with the larger, glossy leaves of a Pittosporum tenuifolium.

In addition to their visual appeal, evergreen parterres can also be used to create scented gardens. Some evergreens, like the Scented Box (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’), produce fragrant leaves that release their scent when brushed or crushed. Including scented evergreens in your parterre can add another sensory dimension to your garden.

Once you’ve created your evergreen parterre, it’s important to maintain it properly. Regular pruning and clipping will keep the plants in shape and prevent them from becoming overgrown. You should also monitor the health of the plants and address any issues, such as pests or diseases, promptly.

With their year-round beauty and ability to create interesting shapes and patterns, evergreen parterres offer a great alternative to traditional flower beds. Whether you want a formal or more whimsical design, an evergreen parterre can add structure and interest to your garden that lasts throughout the year.

9 Create an exotic feel with evergreen landscaping

Evergreen landscaping is a great way to add structure and interest to your garden year-round. While many plants lose their leaves during the colder seasons, evergreens bring life and color to your outdoor space. With their ability to retain leaves throughout the year, they can create an exotic and tropical feel in your garden.

When it comes to creating an exotic feel with evergreen landscaping, placement is key. By strategically placing evergreen plants in your garden, you can achieve a lush and tropical atmosphere. Consider placing them slightly off center or in the corners of your garden to add depth and intrigue.

If you’re unsure about which evergreen plants to choose, seeking advice from a professional landscaper can be helpful. They can guide you on the best options for your specific conditions and design ideas.

Clipping and pruning evergreen shrubs and hedges can also help create an exotic feel. By shaping them into unique and specific designs, you can bring a touch of artistry to your garden. Plants like Buxus sempervirens and Ilex crenata ‘Stokes’ are popular choices for topiary and hedging, as they can be easily pruned and shaped.

Adding scented evergreens to your garden can also enhance the exotic ambience. Plants like Osmanthus fragrans, Sarcococca confusa, and Hebe odora bring a delightful scent that can transport you to a tranquil garden oasis.

Variegated evergreens can add an extra layer of interest to your garden. The contrasting colors and patterns on their leaves make them stand out and create a visually pleasing effect. Consider planting Variegated Baccata or Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Variegatum’ for a pop of color and texture.

Evergreen plants can also provide berries during certain seasons, adding another dimension to your garden’s appeal. Ilex aquifolium ‘Golden King’ is known for its bright red berries. Including plants with berries in your landscaping design can attract birds and wildlife, adding even more life and charm to your garden.

Finally, an alternative way to bring an exotic feel to your garden is by incorporating evergreens into your pathway design. Planting evergreen shrubs or trees along the path can create a sense of enclosure and elegance. Consider using plants like Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Prince’ or Viburnum tinus as border plants.

With their vibrant green foliage, ability to retain leaves, and the variety of shapes, sizes, and scents available, evergreens are a useful and versatile choice for creating an exotic feel in your garden. Whether you want to add structure, bring a touch of the tropics, or create a dramatic seasonal display, evergreens are sure to make a statement. So go ahead and explore the world of evergreen landscaping to transform your outdoor space into a lush and exotic paradise.

How do you make an evergreen garden

Creating an evergreen garden can bring a sense of structure and interest to your outdoor space all year round. By carefully selecting and arranging evergreen plants, you can ensure a neatly manicured garden with a focal point that lasts throughout the seasons.

Choose the right plants

  • Select evergreen plants that have a compact and well-pruned habit. This will ensure that they maintain their green appearance and shape all year round.
  • Consider plants that not only provide greenery, but also offer additional features such as blooms, berries, or fragrant foliage. Some examples include Ilex with its dark green leaves and red berries, and Osmanthus that produces fragrant white flowers.
  • For a combination of greenery and color, choose evergreens that have variegated foliage or ones with purple or fiery red leaves.
  • Ensure that you have a mix of evergreens that grow at different rates. This will create depth and interest in your garden, with some plants growing faster than others.

Design with evergreens

  • If you want to play with different design ideas, consider using evergreens to create boundaries or hedges that define different areas in your garden.
  • Use evergreens to fill in corners and provide a sense of structure in areas where other plants might not thrive. Plants like Hebe and Viburnum tinus are great for filling in these spaces.
  • Arrange evergreens along pathways to create a sense of direction and lead the eye through your garden.
  • Consider the light conditions in your garden and choose evergreens that are suitable for shady or sunny spots. This will ensure that your garden looks good throughout the year, regardless of the lighting conditions.

Take care of your evergreens

Take care of your evergreens

  • Regularly prune and clip your evergreens to maintain their shape and prevent them from becoming overgrown. This will also encourage the plants to produce new growth and remain compact.
  • Give your evergreens some extra care during the winter months. Water them well before the ground freezes to ensure they have enough moisture to sustain them through the winter.
  • Consider adding mulch around the base of your evergreen plants to help retain moisture and keep the soil temperature more stable.

By following these tips and advice, you can create a stunning evergreen garden that looks beautiful and vibrant all year round.


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