Best shrubs for the front of the house – 10 pretty ideas

These shrubs for the front of the house will create a charming and warm welcome to your home

shrubs for the front of the house
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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. 

Introducing greenery and foliage to your front yard ideas will increase the curb appeal, while adding flowering shrubs will bring with them beauty and fragrance in equal measure. When planted in the right location, the right shrubs for the front of the house can also be used to provide privacy, block unsightly views and reduce noise pollution – so working them into your front yard landscaping ideas is a must.

‘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 (opens in new tab).

Shrubs for the front of the house

There are species of shrubs for the front of the house to suit almost any type of home and garden. 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. 

The best shrubs for the front of the house are also great companions for the best trees for front yards, as together they will add height, color and texture to the front of your home. Landscaping with evergreens is also the most environmentally friendly option.

1. Best floral shrub for the front of the house

garden with rose shrub and white picket

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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

According to experts at David Austen (opens in new tab): 'Shrub roses look best when planted in groups of three or more of the same variety. They will then grow together to form one dense shrub, which will provide a more continuous display and make a more definite statement in the border.'

If growing shrub roses, then it is important that you 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.'

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

Lavender bushes close-up. An image with blurred and sharp lavender flowers

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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. Lavender are great low growing shrubs for the front of the house and has a signature fragrance that offers a warm welcome as you approach your front door. 

'Though it can only grow about one foot in height, its 2 inch wide blossoms are loved by butterflies and bees,' says gardening expert Lindsey Hyland of Urban Organic Yield (opens in new tab). This makes them a great choice if you are trying to incorporate more wildlife garden ideas into your front yard.

A staple of front yard walkway ideas, 'lavender is a popular choice for foundation plantings and when established, they are drought tolerant plants, but they are best placed in full sun,' continues Lindsey. Planting drought tolerant shrubs in the front of the house will help to keep your front yard even during the driest summers.

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

Curved path through banks of Azeleas and under dogwood trees with tulips under a blue sky

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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. 'The azalea features long, leathery, egg-shaped leaves as well as showy white, magenta pink flowers with ruffled petals. This outstanding flower can become the focal point of every garden,' says Victoria Kuchinskaya, a plant physiologist for the NatureID app (opens in new tab).

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.

4. Best evergreen shrubs for the front of the house

flowerbed with annuals and box shrubs

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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.

'Winter Gem Boxwood shrub is a common type of low-growing shrub that is perfect for growing at the front of your house,' says Shannon Bernadin, botanist and creator of The African Garden (opens in new tab). 'It is a dense and bushy shrub that is evergreen and super easy to maintain. It will provide greenery to the front of your house all year round.'

Plus, boxwood shrubs are one of the best low growing shrubs for the front of the house.

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

close up of dwarf english holly shrub with green leaves and red berries

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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.’

6. Best colorful shrub for the front of the house

Hydrangea flowers in full bloom, in front of cedar style farm house

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Hydrangeas are unusual in the fact that their color is defined by the soil pH. 'An acid soil ( pH below 7) will usually produce flower color closer to blue, whereas an alkaline soil (pH above 7) will produce pinker flowers,' explains Victoria Kuchinskaya. Hydrangeas 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 there are some evergreen varieties that 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.

7. Best floral shrub for the front of the house

colorful Cloth of gold flower bush are blooming with blurred metal gate of modern house in perspective side view

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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. Typically growing around 2m tall, it 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. 'All butterflies and bees go mad for this, and it's incredibly easy to grow in a pot or border,' says plantswoman Sarah Raven (opens in new tab).

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

Color image depicting beautiful pink camellia flowers blossoming outside a traditional London townhouse

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Camellias have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, quickly becoming favorite 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. 

'Camellias have been hybridized to create more durable flowers and longer bloom times and the pink 'Winter's Star' is lovely in late fall and early winter. Camellia 'Winter's Snowman" blooms earlier in white, usually in October or November where we are in Washington,' says Robert Bell, principal at Bell Design (opens in new tab).

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.

9. The best wildife shrubs for the front of the house bush (Buddleja davidii)

fast growing shrub buddleja with a butterfly

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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,' says Victoria Kuchinskaya. 'Furthermore, it is fast-growing and not in the least fastidious. Unfortunately, however, Buddleja davidii is considered to be an invasive species in some U.S. regions so be careful before you add it into your garden.'

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

Forsythia hedge with yellow flowers close-up

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

'They offer speedy growth, beautiful blossoms in the spring. 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. In fact forsythia are one of the best fast-growing hedges for both privacy and interest.

'You'll need to prune your forsythia regularly because they grow seemingly overnight! Expect them to grow well over 12 inches per year. Some may reach a height of up to 10 feet – and some even slightly taller. However, there are smaller cultivars that are great for incorporating into your small front garden ideas,' continues Elle.

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 boxwoods are all good options that bring year round interest to the front of your house.

What shrubs look good in front of the house?

Lavender, shrub roses, forsythia and hydrangeas are all shrubs that look good in front of the house. 'I always recommend a variety of shrubs, plants, and flowers for the front of your home – especially if you intend on building a privacy screen or supporting wildlife,' says Elle Meager.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature four years ago, 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.