Question: Our new home is finally complete but doesn’t look finished because the lot seems so bare. I have planted many things, but nothing looks right and everything is so small. Where do I start?

Answer: Sounds like a fun project! Start with evergreens. Evergreen trees and shrubs form the foundation and purpose of your landscape.

Margo Roten

Margo Roten


Evergreens range from the tallest of trees to the smallest bush. Having an understanding of the differences in the types will allow you to plan your landscape so that it will have beautiful colors throughout the year.

The three main types of evergreens are needled, broadleaf and flowering.

Needled evergreens are usually used as a filler in empty or low spaces or as a background. Yew and junipers are some examples.

Broadleaf shrubs have leaves that come in several different sizes and shapes. Usually, they are non-flowering and some having varied colored foliage and some produce berries. Examples of these would be English boxwood and Japanese holly.

Flowering shrubs, as the name implies, produce beautiful and colorful blooms as well as having lovely foliage.

When selecting your evergreens, select varying sizes, shapes and colors. Also, some evergreens change colors each season. Adding a variety of evergreens allows for more interest all year long.

Strategically placing evergreens in your yard provides many benefits. Placing trees in areas to shade the home will cut heating and cooling costs and will also provide needed shade for your outdoor work and entertaining areas.

Since evergreens are usually such a large part of our landscaping, it’s fortunate that most require very little care beyond watering and yearly fertilization. Some varieties will need a yearly pruning. Plant them in the proper site and they should flourish for years.

Making sure you select the correct evergreen for each location is extremely important and, luckily, easy to do. Each plant you purchase will have information on how tall and wide it grows and other important care information.

Paying close attention to the height and width that the plant will attain will pay dividends in the end. Planting the wrong size tree or bush too close to the house may be very costly and may eventually result in problems with your roof and the foundation of your home if the plant is too large for the selected site.

Also, avoid planting too close to a retaining wall. Again, if the plant becomes too large for the site you have selected, its growth can eventually affect structures.

Some evergreens to consider for privacy screens and hedges: Boxwood (Buxus); Yew (Taxus baccata); Leyland Cypress ( x cupressocyparis leylandii); Privet (Ligustrum); Arborvitae (Thuju plicata).

Evergreens for around the foundation of your home: Globe arborvitae (Thuju accidentalis; Common Juniper (Juniperus communis); Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’).

Some suggestions for flowering evergreens include Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculate) and Rhododendrons.

Do you have a gardening or insect question? Contact the Douglas County Master Gardeners at or 541-672-4461 or visit 1134 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg. Douglas County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the OSU Extension Service serve the people of Douglas County.

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