5 evergreen shrubs to plant in your front yard right now – add color, structure and texture with these year-round beauties

Choose a gorgeous fall afternoon to get outside and plant an eye-catching evergreen shrub (or two) that will spruce up your front

a front yard with shrubs in front
(Image credit: Gieves Anderson. Design: Frederick Tang Architecture)

Evergreens should form the backbone of your front yard planting scheme, providing a focal point with one distinctive style on show or alternatively providing a framework against which other plants can shine. They work hard to earn their place in every garden, but never more so than when planted in the front yard, where they add interest and structure whatever the month. 

Fall is an excellent time to plant many evergreen shrubs. 'As the hot summer sun gives way to milder, shorter days, a fantastic window opens up for fall planting before the first frost hits,' says Jim Putnam, plant expert for Southern Living Plant Collection. 'As an additional benefit of fall planting, new shrubs generally require less watering too.'

Some evergreens add color with beautiful blooms and berries as well, while others are highly scented, so they add far more than just year round good looking foliage. Evergreens also tend to be low maintenance options, with little pruning necessary, so another win.

If you're looking for ideas on evergreen shrubs to enhance your front yard landscaping ideas right now find out what our experts selected as 5 of the best to grow.

1. Wintercreeper 'Emerald Gold'

wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) Emerald Gold

(Image credit: Natallia Khlapushyna/Alamy Stock Photo)

Wintercreeper (botanical name Euonymus fortunei) is an evergreen shrub you can use as a specimen plant, a climber or for ground cover. If your growing space is limited it also grows well in large pots to add color and texture to a front porch.

The distinctive green-and-gold varieties provide a classic but colorful look for the garden. The 'Emerald Gold' cultivar of wintercreeper is an easy care, colorful evergreen shrub that spreads nicely, but is simple to keep in check. It thrives in zones 5-9, and early fall is a great time to plant it.

'At 3 to 4 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide, 'Emerald Gold' bears bright green leaves with broad golden margins,' says Spencer Campbell, plant clinic manager at Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, Illinois. 'The leaf color is best in full sun and takes on a reddish tinge in winter.'

2. Nandina 'Lemon-Lime'

Nandina 'Lemon Lime' leaves

(Image credit: By Eve Livesey/Getty Images)

Nandina has long been a mainstay in Southern landscapes, and for good reason. A remarkably adaptable plant, Nandina effortlessly transitions from sun to shade, moist to dry soils, and modern to traditional front yard designs. This tough plant needs little pampering and performs beautifully. Nandina is a compact shrub, perfect for small gardens and large pots. And now is the time to plant it.

The 'Lemon-Lime' variety has fresh citrus-colored growth that will brighten dark city gardens and courtyards. 'As the days grow shorter, illuminate the shady spaces in your yard with this sunny evergreen pick,' says Jim Putnam. 'With attractive lime green new growth and evergreen foliage, ‘Lemon-Lime’ is an ideal choice for a year-round interest plant in a border or mass planting.' 

‘Lemon-Lime’ Nandina matures to 3-4 feet high by 3-4 feet wide, and thrives in zones 6a-10b. Jim flags that for any plant that’s marginally hardy in your USDA zone, meaning that it’s especially sensitive to your area’s colder temperatures, he recommends a spring planting in lieu of fall. 

3. Loropetalum 'Purple Diamond'

Loropetalum shrub with pink flowers

(Image credit: Wirestock Inc/Alamy Stock Photo)

Highly ornamental Loropetalum (also known as Chinese fringe plant) has a winning combination of showy evergreen foliage that's a lovely deep plum and brightly colored flowers with a light fragrance.

'Nothing pairs with the fiery hues of fall like sumptuous, saturated purple,' says Jim Putnam. 'Purple Diamond® is a semi-dwarf variety of Loropetalum that delivers decadent color through its rich year-round purple foliage, with the added beauty of hot pink fringe-like flowers in spring.'

Offering easy care and a convenient compact form, 'Purple Diamond' is well-suited to accent plantings and container gardening, and is a great option for small front yards too, as it reaches no more than 4-6 feet high by 4-5 feet wide when mature. Loropetalum excels in USDA Zones 7a-10b in full sun to partial shade conditions. 

4. Daphne 'Carol Mackie'

Daphne Burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'

(Image credit: Botanic World/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you're looking to add an evergreen shrub to your front yard flower beds in fall and want to double the wow factor with beautiful blooms that have a heavenly fragrance too, daphne should be right at the top of your list. When it comes to fragrant plants it's one of the most rewarding.

The variety 'Carol Mackie' is an absolute favorite of mine. Planted in a sheltered spot by a wall in my front yard 10 years ago, its gorgeous pink blooms beautify the late winter garden and drench the air with scent year after year. The evergreen foliage provides constant interest too. It's hardy in zones 4-9.

Occasionally (every couple of years or so) an errant stem might need snipping to tidy up the shape but this is rare. I don't feed it, water it, or prune it (my front yard is dappled shade), and it continues to look good year after year despite my negligence. This shrub forms a neat, dense and rounded shape naturally and this is why it requires very little care. It's my definition of a dream evergreen shrub.

5. Boxwood

clipped boxwood and gravel front yard

(Image credit: Herrmann Agenturfotografie/Alamy Stock Photo)

Incorporating a classic like boxwood into your front yard planting will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your landscape as you can form them into any shape you desire but also offers year-round greenery. Hardy in zones 5-9, boxwood is easy to grow and requires very little maintenance, unless of course you want to go for a super clipped look.

'Another fantastic evergreen shrub for front yard planting is boxwood,' says Amelia Haslehurt, founder of locallygrowngardens.com. 'This evergreen shrub is perfect for creating a topiary or forming a neat, low hedge along a front yard pathway. It's an elegant plant that provides year-round color, and it's renowned for its ability to withstand heavy pruning, allowing you to maintain a tidy, manicured appearance.'

It's possible to create incredibly striking entry gardens and modern front yards simply using boxwood planted in hedges, and sculpted into globes and pyramids. If you're looking to increase curb appeal and elevate the landscaping of your home, as well as find evergreen shrubs to plant in your front yard right now, nothing is more elegant than pruned boxwood, either planted alone as a statement feature or as a backdrop for other plants.

Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about flowers, plants, and garden design and trends since 2015. Having already studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently adding to her list of qualifications with an RHS Level 2 course in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development. In addition to livingetc.com, she's also written for homesandgardens.com, gardeningetc.com, Modern Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors magazines.