Beautiful Garden Border Shrubs

Cortada Landscape Design | Miami Residential Landscaping Project

Now that you’ve taken great care to create the perfect garden, you’ll want to do all you can to protect it. Fences can distinguish the garden space from the rest of the yard and keep pests from ruining your plants. You can also choose from a variety of border shrubs. These live fences can be just as attractive as your flowers. The shrubs can keep small creatures and insects from feasting on your plants. Here are a few garden border shrubs that grow well in a variety of weather conditions.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

This type of hydrangea is a favorite among gardeners. The leaves on the shrub are beautiful and look great next to other garden plants. The large leaves are also a stunning complement to plants with smaller leaves. The oakleaf hydrangea has pretty white flowers that are positioned on large panicles. The flowers turn to a shade of medium pink as they get older. The oakleaf hydrangea is also called the “snowflake” hydrangea. This is because new white flower petals form while older pink petals are still present. This gives the shrub an interesting look and adds depth to the flower blooms. During the fall season, the foliage transforms to a shade of red. The red color intensifies if the hydrangea is exposed to full sun. The flowers on the shrub continue to grow during the winter and pair nicely with the shrub’s bark. Snowflake or oakleaf hydrangeas grow to be around six feet tall. The shrubs can also grow as wide as eight feet. The shrub will be smaller if it’s grown in the shade, so it’s best for hot or warm climates.


Spireas are a border shrub that tends to stay small, which makes them ideal for tiny gardens. You can have the spireas clipped to make the shrubs look especially elegant. If you’d rather go with a freer or creative look, you can grow the shrubs without pruning them. The Ogon spirea grows to be around five feet tall and six feet wide. The shrubs will grow tighter if they thrive in full sun. The spirea features tiny white flowers that open before apple green leaves form. The leaves then turn a bright yellowish green. Spireas have narrow leaves that look great with other border shrubs like oakleaf hydrageas. The golden green shade of the shrubs also contrasts nicely with bold red and purple shrubs like the smoke bush. This is especially true during the fall, when the spirea’s foliage turns orange with red edges. Spireas grow well in zones 5 through 8 and needs full sun or partial shade to thrive.


There are a few varieties of sedum, but the Matrona is one of the best for a border shrub. The Matrona thrives well in the fall and serves as an edge plant for taller plants and shrubs. Sedum is very appealing to butterflies, so expect to see these beautiful winged creatures in your yard. Sedum thrives even throughout extreme drought and heat. So, even on hot summer days, the shrubs will still appear lush and healthy. Matrona grows best in zones 3 through 10.


Thrift is a perennial shrub that has lots of grassy foliage. The plant gives your garden texture and lots of color; the blooms grow in shades of pink or white. Thrift thrives in the later part of spring and into the beginning of summer. If you live in hardiness zones 3 through 9, thrift shrubs will likely thrive well in your garden. Thrift shrubs enjoy full sun and grow best in soil that is well-drained.

Tatarian Honeysuckle

These lovely honeysuckle bushes grow up to nine feet tall. This plant is growing in popularity when it comes to garden borders. The shrub has flowers that are white or pink. The flowers bloom in May and turn into bright red berries near the middle and end of summer. The Tatarian honeysuckle plant transplants easily and becomes established quickly. The shrub will grow on virtually any type of soil and requires full sun or partial shade.

Large Fothergilla

Even though the Fothergilla grows slowly, the plant can grow between 6 and 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Partial shade is fine when growing this shrub. However, the soil has to be well-drained, slightly acidic, and moist. You can use this shrub by itself as a garden border, or combine it with other shrubs for a thicker, more textured border. The leaves of the plant are a vivid shade of red, yellow or orange in the fall. If you don’t want a large fothergilla, there are dwarf versions available.

Drooping Leucothoe

The drooping leucothoe is an evergreen that is native to the southern region of the United States. The plant is said to have originated in Virginia. The branches of the shrub droop almost down to the ground. The drooping leucothoe only grows to be about 4 feet all. This makes the shrub ideal if you also have low-growing flowers or edible plants in your garden. In the spring, the leaves of the drooping leucothoe are a stunning shade of bronze. In the summer, the leaves change to a deep green hue. The foliage transforms once again to a light purple shade in the fall. The shrub also has small white flowers that grow in clusters and bloom in the spring. Drooping leucothoes need acidic well-drained soil and partial shade to grow.


A number of gardeners prefer alyssum as a border shrub because it’s compact and grows quickly. In most regions, alyssum is an annual plant. The small white flowers on the shrub are pretty and fragrant. There are also some alyssum shrubs that boast lavender, pink, and cream-colored flowers. If the alyssum is cut back, it will continue to bloom during the entire growing season. The alyssum grows best in hardiness zones 5 through 9.


If you have a garden bed that is under the shade of a tree or deck, barrenwort makes an excellent shrub. The plant is a perennial and blooms during spring. The shrub has flowers with spider-shaped petals in shades of purple, yellow, orange, pink or white. A number of barrenwort varieties have foliage that takes on a bronze tinge in the fall. Barrenwort is best for gardens in zones 5 through 9.

Bloody Geranium

This beautiful shrub got its name from the bold red leaves that decorate its branches. The leaves take on their stunning color in the fall. The bloody geranium blooms near the end of spring as well, and sometimes during fall. The shrub is ideal for bordering gardens that are in full sun or partial shade. These perennial shrubs are ideal for hardiness zones 4 through 8.

Japanese Forestgrass

Although it is technically a grass, Japanese forestgrass forms small mounds for foliage and creates an arch shape. The grass can be used as an accent plant along the edges of your garden. This is one of the only grasses that will grow well in shade, and should be grown in zones 5 through 9.

Purple Smoke Bushes

These shrubs are placed around gardens because the sun shines through them. The sunlight, coupled with the bold color of the foliage, will instantly make your garden more attractive. The stems of the shrubs grow straight up, which is another reason the shrub makes such as a great border. Purple smoke bushes can grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. Older shrubs grow well in full sun and will flower if not pruned. Younger shrubs will transform into an orange-purple shade in the fall. Purple smoke bushes grow in virtually every type of soil.