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Landscape Evergreens, Find Your Match

Landscape Evergreens, Find Your Match

Year-round interest in your yard is reason enough to landscape with evergreens. Their range of colour and forms make them truly irresistible.

Selecting Your Evergreen

  • Choose the space where your evergreen will be planted rather than impulse buying and discovering there’s no room for it when you get it home!
  • Decide how big you want your evergreen to grow in terms of height and diameter.
  • Determine what light conditions your space has (deep shade-full sun).

This handy Evergreen list will help get you started:

Large Evergreens

Good for privacy or as a windscreen when used in groups or individually.

  • Silver and Fraser Fir, and Colorado Spruce – Symmetrical pyramid shape.Silver Fir Tree Ontario
  • Austrian Pine – Irregular open shape, shorter and rounder, long needles.
  • Weeping Nootka False Cypress – striking with ascending branches with pendulous thread like foliage.
  • Weeping White Spruce and Weeping White Pine – similarly unusual and takes a lot of impact.

Upright Evergreens

Good for designing or renovating a foundation planting or mixed border where vertical elements are needed. Topiary uprights are great for a focal point but require trimming to maintain their effect.

  • Junipers and especially the blue/grey varieties prefer sunny locations.
  • Cedars are more shade-tolerant (with the exception of the yellow-leaved varieties) and vary in mature height from 3 m – 8 m (10′ – 26′)
  • Upright Yews with their dark green needles can be planted in full sun or shade. Since they grow slowly and live a long time, they don’t require much maintenance.

Medium Size Evergreens

Good for horizontal balance and great textural contrast to the upright evergreens especially the broadleaf varieties whose leaves remain all winter.

  • Euonymus are highly versatile and maintain dense form (125 cm/4′ tall or less). They are easily pruned any time of year. There are variegated (2 colour) leaved varieties available for both shade and sun locations. The golden varieties should all be planted in sun to maintain their colour but Emerald Gaiety with its green and white foliage can also grow in full shade.

Medium-sized, Broadleaf Evergreens for Shade

  • Rhododendron, Pieris, Mountain Laurel, Mahonia (Oregon Grape), and Holly (with red berries in winter on the female plants). Holly Berries for Colour


Medium-sized Broadleaf Evergreens for Sun

  • Rose Daphne – Only 40 cm (16″) tall and with very fragrant rose-pink flowers in May.
  • Yuccas – Bold spiked foliage with flowers on 150 cm – 175 cm (5′ – 6′) spikes in July.

Spreading Evergreens

Evergreens that will not grow over 150 cm (5′) in height

  • Gold Star Juniper – Light green foliage and bright yellow tips
  • Blue Star – Steel-blue

Compact, Spreading Yews and Round Form Evergreens

Requires little pruning and their shape contrasts well with softer-textured Junipers and Yews.

  • Globe Cedars
  • Dwarf Spruces
  • Green Gem
  • Green Velvet Boxwood
  • False Cypress (dwarf forms of that are very slow-growing with irregular shapes and vivid colour) Green Velvet Boxwood


Evergreen Ground Covers

Good for cascading over a retaining wall or water garden, to fill in bare patches, and anywhere else a very low growing plant is required. They are a great, low-maintenance alternative to grass.

Varieties that change colour in winter:

  • Siberian Cypress (turning coppery- brown)
  • Compact Andorra Juniper (deep plum)
  • Wintercreeper (purple)

Broadleaf Evergreens as ground cover

  • Vancouver Jade Bearberry
  • Japanese Spurge
  • Periwinkle
  • Wintergreen
  • Spring Heath
  • Vancouver Gold Broom
  • Mountain Cranberry
  • Paxistima, Bearberry Cotoneaster
  • Heather

Evergreen Vines

  • Sarcoxie Euonymus – can easily climb 2 storeys high on the side of a house in sun or shade supporting itself on strong, woody stems.
  • English Ivy – best planted on the east or north side of a house to avoid winter burn to its dark green leaves.English Ivy Climbing a Wall
  • Hall’s Honeysuckle – fragrant creamy-yellow flowers, requires a trellis for support.
  • Firethorn – planted for its clusters of bright orange berries requires a trellis for support.

Evergreen Hedges

Good for creating a living fence.

  • Emerald Cedar – Has an incredibly rich “emerald” colour that stays true through winter. These do not need any trimming if you are happy with its ultimate height, 4 m (13′).
  • Green Gem Boxwood – Ideal for a low fence. Boxwood hedges lend a formal appearance to the garden; they look good beside walkways and patios outlining herb, rose, or perennial gardens. These Broadleaf Evergreens grow only about 5 cm (2″) a year so they do not require much trimming to remain small and neat.