Best shrubs for the front of the house – 10 plants to grow for color and fragrance

These shrubs for the front of the house will create an impactful and warm welcome to your home

Lilac blooms in a garden border
(Image credit: Getty Images/Mariia Zotova)

Planting one of the best shrubs for the front of the house in your front yard will imbue the entrance to your home with character and personality, creating structure, a refuge for wildlife and a frame for your front porch. 

When planted in the right location, these shrubs for the front of the house can provide privacy, block unsightly views and reduce noise pollution – so working them into your front yard landscaping ideas is a good idea.

‘When choosing a shrub for your front yard – pay more attention to your local hardiness zone than anything else. Your hardiness zone determines which shrubs will survive and thrive in your front yard,’ says Elle Meager, founder and CEO of Outdoor Happens.

Shrubs for the front of the house

From towering specimens that are great for achieving your garden privacy ideas, to the prettiest floral varieties and the best low-growing shrubs for the front of the house to incorporate into your small front garden ideas, adding one of these shrubs will help you to create a warm welcome to your home. 

Elle Meager headshot
Elle Meager

Elle Meager is the founder of Outdoor Happens, a website dedicated to helping homesteaders in the USA and Canada garden, providing information on plants, raising animals, and producing homegrown food.

1. Best floral shrub for the front of the house

Pink roses in bloom

(Image credit: Getty/Avatarmin)

Shrub roses make for stunning front yard cottage garden ideas. Unlike other types of roses, shrub roses have a bushy appearance making them a great addition to front yard flower bed ideas as well as to rose gardens

If growing shrub roses, then you must know how to prune roses. 'For bush and shrub roses prune down to half their height in spring and remove all dead wood,' advises Period Living garden expert Leigh Clapp.

'Don’t, however, prune English shrub roses too hard over the first couple of years, until they have established, to help the stems mature and support the blooms.'

Roses are available to buy from Nature Hills.

Leigh Clapp profile photo
Leigh Clapp

Leigh Clapp is a professional photographer with over 25 years experience, primarily as a garden specialist photojournalist but also with food and travel. She delights in exploring gardens, discovering the tiny elements to their overall essence and meeting lots of enthusiastic gardeners along the way.

2. Best low growing shrub for the front of the house

Lavender plant growing in a clay pot

(Image credit: Getty Images/Jacky Parker Photography)

If you only have a small front yard, then looking for low-growing shrubs for the front of the house will be a better option. Despite only having a small footprint, lavender makes a big impression.

Learning how to grow lavender is relatively straightforward, and these plants need a full-sun location and good drainage. They are great low-growing shrubs for the front of the house and have a signature fragrance that offers a warm welcome as you approach your front door. What's more, lavender is often thought of as one of the best plants for pollinators.

Planting drought-tolerant shrubs in the front of the house will help to keep your front yard even during the driest summers.

Lavender plants are available from Nature Hills.

3. Best shrub for the front of the house for a show-stopping display

Pink azalea in flower

(Image credit: Getty/Karin de Mamiel)

Part of the rhododendron family, azaleas are beautiful flowering shrubs that are favored for their long-lasting blooms. Popular plants for flower bed ideas, azaleas are great shrubs for the front of the house as their large size makes a bold impression.

Azaleas have long, leathery, oval-shaped leaves. This outstanding flower can become the focal point of every garden. If deciding to grow azalea shrubs for the front of the house, it is also important that you know how to prune azaleas to enjoy the best from them.

Azaleas are available to buy online from Nature Hills.

4. Best evergreen shrubs for the front of the house

Creeping and spreading yew planted as a ground cover

(Image credit: Getty Images/pcturner71)

Evergreen shrubs are one of the best shrubs for the front of the house as they offer year-round character and interest to your front garden ideas.

Yew is an ideal option, as opposed to the problematic box. Yew plants have dense and bushy foliage that is evergreen and super easy to maintain. It will provide greenery to the front of your house all year round.

Yew plants are available from Nature Hills.

5. Best winter interest shrubs for the front of the house

brick wall and holly branches with red berries

(Image credit: EvgeniiAnd / Getty Images)

Holly shrubs can be grown as either a small tree or a shrub and is a great addition to the front of the house. Characterized by dark green, sharp leaves, they are great evergreen trees for gardens and can also be grown into a hedge to provide garden privacy.

Holly comes into its own in the winter, with its bright red berries adding vibrancy to your garden during the bleakest winter months. As well as providing aesthetic interest, the berries are also great for feeding birds in winter.

'Another tremendous benefit of holly shrubs is that they come in many cultivars. Whether you live in North Carolina or frosty New England – you can find a holly shrub that will acclimate to your area,' says Elle Meager.

'However, one word of warning - holly shrub cultivars vary substantially in their size. Some maintain a height of only a few feet, while others skyrocket to over 30 feet, so pick the right plant for your yard.’

Holly plants are available from Perfect Plants.

6. Best colorful shrub for the front of the house

Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer

(Image credit: Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo)

Hydrangeas are popular, timeless plants, and are unusual in the fact that their color is defined by the soil pH. An acidic soil (pH below 7) will usually produce flower color closer to blue, whereas an alkaline soil (pH above 7) will produce pinker flowers.

When considering how to grow hydrangeas, they can be grown either in the ground or in a pot, making them a great choice for small front garden ideas.

Most hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs, however, some evergreen varieties can make for great shrubs for the front of the house.

'Hydrangeas are a versatile choice with an array of options on offer to match your color scheme and work beautifully in more formal front gardens. They prefer sun in the morning with some shade in the afternoon,' says garden expert Leigh Clapp.

Hydrangeas are available to buy online from Perfect Plants.

7. Best floral shrub for the front of the house

Pink and yellow Lantana camara flowers

(Image credit: Getty/barbaraaaa)

Part of the verbena family, Lantana camara is a fast-growing shrub that is native to Central and South America. Characterized by its colorful flowers in carnival shades, its pretty blooms catch the eye and produce a sweet tutti frutti scent.

When thinking about how to grow lantana, these plants typically grow to around 4 to 6 feet tall, which creates a bold statement that will make it a welcome addition to the front of the house. 

Furthermore, they're a great addition to other wildlife garden ideas. Lantana is a popular plant with butterflies and bees, so if you are looking to support pollinators, this plant is for you.

8. Best flowering winter shrub for the front of the house

camellia shrub in flower in the snow

(Image credit: Yeoreum / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Camellias are one of the most popular shrubs for the front of the house. Loved for their flamboyant flowers, they are one of the first flowers, offering a cheery display through the darker months of the year. 

These plants have been hybridized to create more durable flowers and longer bloom times. Flowers can be found in pink, white and red, so there is sure to be a flower to suit you.

As such, camellias are one of the best winter plants for pots and borders and would make a stunning container display on the front porch. If growing these beautiful shrubs, it is vital to know how to prune camellias to get the best out of these pretty plants.

Camellias are available to buy from Perfect Plants.

9. The best wildife shrubs for the front of the house bush

buddleja flower

(Image credit: I love Photo and Apple. / Moment / Getty Images)

If you are looking for shrubs for the front of the house that will help you to incorporate wildlife garden ideas into your plot, then buddleja is a must.

Perfect for adding to front yard cottage garden ideas, buddleja can be grown as an ornamental plant pretty much anywhere and can be grown in most US hardiness zones.

What's more, this plant is fast-growing, which is good if you are prepared to do some garden maintenance. However, it is considered to be an invasive species in some U.S. regions, so be careful before you add it to your garden.

10. Best shrub for the front of the house for privacy

Forsythia shrub with yellow blossom

(Image credit: Getty/VICUSCHKA)

You can't help but fall in love with the golden yellow color of forsythia. They are characterful shrubs for the front of the house that will brighten even the greyest spring day. 

'They offer speedy growth and beautiful blossoms in the spring, and because they grow so fast and offer thick foliage, they make unrivaled screeners – especially if you want a privacy hedge in front of your home quickly,' says Elle Meager.

'When thinking about how to grow forsythia, you'll need to prune your plant regularly because they grow seemingly overnight,' Elle says. 'Expect them to grow well over 12 inches per year.'

Forsythia plants are available to buy online from Nature Hills.


Which small shrubs for the front of the house look good year-round?

Evergreen small shrubs look good all year round. Since they don't lose their leaves they continually add life to the front of your house. Holly, camellias and yew are all good options that bring year-round interest to the front of your house.

Adding shrubs to the front of your house can help to add privacy, color and interest to your front yard, which is good for both you and pollinators. For more shrub advice, see our guide on how to plant shrubs, to give your new plants the best chance of success this year.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature. 

With contributions from