10 Low-Maintenance Small Shrubs for the Front of Your House

Enhance your curb appeal with these easy-care small shrubs that won't try to take over your yard.

oakleaf hydrangea 'ruby slippers'

Kritsada Panichgul

The best low-maintenance small shrubs for the front of your house depends on your landscaping goals. You'll need to decide whether you’re looking for compact shrubs for a tidy hedge for privacy or perhaps you want to create a more open, natural look in your front yard. Do you want colorful flowers and fruits, or just greenery? Would you like to focus on planting native shrubs or would you rather keep your options more open? This list of small low-maintenance shrubs will give you a good place to start.

01 of 10


Bearberry Plant with red fruit

Getty Images / siur

When you need a low-growing shrub for your front yard border garden, bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is perfect. Grow it as a dense groundcover that will block weeds. It offers four-season interest: its small pink spring flowers give way to bright berries favored by wildlife, and its dark green evergreen leaves turn purple in winter. This drought-tolerant plant will even grow in rocky and sandy soils where many other plants might struggle.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and average to poor soil

Size: 1 foot tall

Zones: 2-8

02 of 10


Caryopteris Blue Mist
Peter Krumhardt

Like most members of the mint family, bluebeard (Caryopteris spp.) requires very little care to look gorgeous. This naturally mounding shrub is best for sunny front yards, where it will produce beautiful, small purplish blue flowers that draw pollinators from July through September. In colder regions within its hardiness range, bluebeard will die back to the ground most years, but quickly jump back up again each spring.

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: 3 feet

Zones: 5-9

03 of 10

Dwarf Fothergilla

Dwarf Fothergilla
Doug Hetherington

Also known as bottlebrush, dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) is a low-maintenance small shrub that can take some shade. It produces lots of feathery white flowers in spring that are pollinator magnets. The leaves of this deciduous native shrub will turn from green to multiple shades of yellow and orange in fall.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Zones: 5-9

04 of 10

Dwarf Oregon Grape

mahonia nervosa plant

Stephen Cridland

Dwarf Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa) is a low-growing native shrub that can add year-round interest to your front yard. Its evergreen holly-like leaves are deep green throughout the summer before darkening to shades of red and purple as the cold of winter arrives. Its small yellow flowers appear in spring, followed by small, bluish, grape-like fruits. Topping out at about 4 feet, dwarf Oregon grape slowly spreads underground but never aggressively.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade with consistent moisture

Size: 2-4 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

05 of 10

'Nana' Purple Willow

purple willow Nana plant

Better Homes & Gardens

Technically, purple willow (Salix purpurea) is a large shrub (or small tree) that grows about 10 feet tall, but 'Nana' is a more compact variety that only gets about half as tall. Plus it can be kept shorter by pruning it to the ground every couple of years. Otherwise doesn't need much maintenance to look beautiful. This willow offers fine-textured, blue-green leaves throughout the summer and purplish stems. It's especially useful planted in a rain garden or low-lying spot that is prone to flooding.

Growing Conditions: full sun with consistent moisture; can tolerate soggy soils

Size: 3-5 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

06 of 10

Oakleaf Hydrangea

oakleaf hydrangea

Kritsada Panichgul

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a beautiful native shrub that not only provides long-lasting flowers, but colorful fall leaves and interesting peeling bark for winter interest. Naturally occurring in woodlands, they fit right into a front yard landscape with mature shade trees overhead. Because they stay under 8 feet tall, they can easily hold their own in an established garden, but rarely get out of hand. If you'd prefer a smaller version of this low-maintenance shrub, try ‘Ruby Slippers’. This variety grows about 4 feet tall and wide, perfect for a small front yard.

Growing Conditions: full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 4-8 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

07 of 10


Edgeworthia Paperbush
Denny Schrock

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is a small shrub that will add some uniqueness to your front yard, thanks to its creamy yellow, very fragrant flowers that bloom on its bare branches in late winter to early spring. It also has a striking, architectural branch structure that naturally forms a tidy dome of green leaves. Paperbush is a slow grower, eventually reaching about 7 feet tall and wide, and rarely needs pruning. 'Gold Rush' is a more compact variety that gets about 5 feet tall.

Growing Conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 5-7 feet

Zones: 7-10

08 of 10

Showy Hebe

Hebe 'Wiri Blush'
Denny Schrock

For those who live in mild climates and along the coasts, showy hebe (Veronica speciosa) is a gorgeous evergreen shrub hailing from New Zealand that should be on your short list of additions to your front yard landscaping. While showy hebes produce thick, shiny green leaves, they’re primarily grown for their bright pink flower spikes which are produced throughout the growing season.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 6 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

09 of 10

Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia Sweetspire small white flowers shrub
Denny Schrock

Native Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) has gracefully arching branches that grow into a tidy, mounding shape without pruning. Pendulous, white flowers in summer give off a sweet fragrance. In fall, the leaves turn varying shades of yellow, red, and orange. This low-maintenance small shrub can take a bit of shade and will grow in a wide variety of soils–even clay.

Growing Conditions: full sun to part shade in average soil

Size: 5 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

10 of 10


weigela shrub in bloom
Lynn Karlin

Although a regular weigela (Weigela florida) can get quite large (up to 10 feet), there are many compact varieties that work beautifully as a small shrub for the front of your house. For example, 'Minuet' maxes out around 3 feet tall. Weigelas bloom profusely for weeks in late spring and again in summer with colors ranging from white to pink and red. Leaves can be green to wine red, or variegated.

Growing Conditions: full sun to part shade in average soil

Size: 2-10 feet (depending on variety)

Zones: 4-9

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