Do you want your landscape to look stunning all year round, whether in the middle of summer heat or the chilling cold winter? If so, you must choose your landscaping plants wisely.
You need plants that can withstand different seasons and climatic conditions. While the vibrant blooms of spring and summer may steal the show, the priority is to have plants that maintain their beauty every season, ensuring a picturesque garden.
You could choose evergreen trees and shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennial flowers, groundcovers, climbing plants, or even deciduous trees and shrubs. Check out these 20 landscaping plants that look good year round.
20 Landscaping Plants That Look Good Year Round
1. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Grow this plant with stunning foliage and a unique form as a focal point. If you want the Japanese Maple for small spaces and patios, choose a compact variety you can plant in containers.
It’s beloved for its year-round beauty as colorful leaves in spring, summer, and fall, and their sculptural branches add interest to the winter landscape.
The Japanese Maple thrives in hardiness zones 5 to 8.
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2. Pine Trees (Pinus spp.)
The distinctive needle-like leaves of a Pine Tree remain green throughout the year, providing year-round color and texture to landscapes. Its versatility, beauty, and year-round appeal are why this plant is widely appreciated.
Besides its aesthetics, Pine Trees also provide privacy, wind protection, and shelter and food for wildlife.
Hardy in zones 2 to 10, this plant can also be a focal point in larger landscapes.
3. Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Define your garden borders or create edging along pathways and effective screens for privacy and windbreaks using tall Holly varieties. Regardless of the type you pick, you will have a versatile, beautiful plant with glossy leaves, vibrant berries, and an ornamental appeal.
When winter comes, Holly berries will provide bright spots of color, attracting birds to your home. It’s suited for hardiness zones 3-11.
4. Fir Tree (Abies)
The symmetrical, cone-shaped growth habit and beautiful evergreen foliage of Fir Trees will add a touch of elegance and charm to your landscape, providing a visually pleasing focal point.
With these plants on your landscape, your home will have a splash of green even in winter since they retain their needles throughout the year.
Fir trees also emit a pleasant fragrance, especially during the holidays. They are best in hardiness zones 3-8.
5. Boxwood (Buxus spp.)
Are you going for formal aesthetics for your landscape? Boxwood is the perfect choice for plants that offer year-round appeal. Its dense foliage and neat growth habit make them ideal for formal garden designs.
You can create clean lines and geometric shapes with this plant, thus enhancing the visual appeal of your landscape.
Boxwoods are suitable for hedges, topiaries, borders, standalone ornamental shrubs and thrive in zones 5-9.
6. Yew (Taxus spp.)
The dark green foliage, dense growth, and fine texture of Yew beautify any landscape, but be careful not to ingest it. Every part of this plant is highly toxic except the fleshy aril (red berries). Speaking of berries, they add ornamental value.
That’s not all; this plant has mythological significance and the ability to thrive in various growing conditions, giving you a genuinely wholesome plant. Plant it in hardiness zones 2-10.
7. Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.)
This evergreen shrub is best known for its vibrant and showy blooms. Its stunning flowers, glossy evergreen foliage, and ability to thrive in various climates make them popular landscaping plants. The flowers come in multiple colors, like purple, white, pink, and red shades.
When Rhododendrons are not in bloom, the glossy evergreen leaves will make your home appealing all year round. It’s suitable for hardiness zones 4-9.
8. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum spp.)
Add texture and movement to your landscape with fountain grass. This ornamental grass is known for its graceful, cascading growth habit and feathery flower heads held above the foliage on tall stems, creating an elegant effect as they sway in the breeze.
You can use Fountain Grass as borders or edging plants to define pathways or flowerbeds. Also, grow it in containers to provide vertical interest and soft texture. Its cultivars are hardy from zones 4-10.
9. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Switchgrass looks graceful in late summer to early fall as it produces feathery flower panicles that rise above the foliage. It contributes to the visual appeal of landscapes through its elegant form, attractive foliage, and airy flower panicles that add movement and texture.
Since it can tolerate wet conditions, it is suitable for rain gardens and areas with poor drainage and thrives in hardiness zones 3-9.
10. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
There is plenty to love about Lavender, from its fragrant flowers and soothing qualities to its ornamental value. It has silvery-green leaves and produces tall, slender flower spikes topped with small, aromatic flowers in shades of purple, blue, pink, or white. These flowers also emit a calming and fragrant aroma.
Enjoy this lovely plant in your flower beds, borders, patio, and deck if you live in hardiness zones 5-0.
Sedum maintains its appearance throughout the year but is particularly attractive in late summer and fall when its flowers create a burst of color. It produces pink, white, red, or yellow star-shaped flower clusters. As for foliage, it can range from blue-gray to deep green and even purplish tones.
It’s best suited for Hardy zones 3-11.
12. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.)
Introduce a touch of wild beauty and color to your landscape with this beautiful plant with daisy-like flowers with yellow or orange petals and a prominent dark central disk (the “black eye”). Its coarse and rough foliage adds texture to the landscape.
This plant is particularly striking in late summer and early fall when in full bloom and thrives in hardy zones 3-11.
13. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
This trailing perennial plant can spread and cascade to create a carpet of vibrant color featuring small, rounded bright yellow or chartreuse leaves. Besides groundcover, you can also plant it around the edges of the water, in rock gardens to add a splash of color and texture, or in containers to create stunning trails.
While its main attraction is the gorgeous foliage, you will also love its small yellow cup-shaped flowers in summer. Grow it in hardy zones 3-9.
14. Ajuga (Ajuga reptans)
Adaptability, ease of care, and ability to add texture and color to various garden settings make this low-growing perennial plant a popular choice in landscaping. Its rosettes of leaves vary in color from deep green to bronze and burgundy shades or even variegated patterns.
It thrives in hardiness zones 3-10 and produces spikes of small, tubular blue, purple, pink, or white flowers in spring.
15. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
There’s no mistaking Red Maples for other trees, thanks to their distinctive lobed leaves that turn brilliant red, orange, or yellow shades in the fall. In spring, they produce clusters of small red or yellow flowers, followed by winged seeds called samaras, characteristic of maple trees.
You can grow it for shade or as your landscape’s focal point. It’s best suited for hardiness zone 9.
16. Dogwood (Cornus spp.)
Aesthetically, Dogwoods are strikingly stunning and eye-catching, with distinctive flowers, colorful foliage, and colorful barks. They bloom in spring with the flowers surrounded by bracts that give the appearance of petals. Some species, like Redtwig Dogwoods, stand out with their vibrant winter bark.
This 5-9 hardy plant has something to offer for every season.
17. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
This plant offers a striking visual appeal, especially during the colder seasons, and its red berries develop in fall and persist through winter. Since it prefers moist soil, consider it for wetland gardens or rain gardens.
Its vibrant red berries stand out against a snowy landscape’s backdrop. It’s suitable for hardiness zones 3-9.
18. Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Visually, this shrub remains beautiful even in winter due to its distinctive peeling bark. Also, the foliage comes in various colors depending on the variety, ranging from deep burgundy to green and even variegated combinations.
In spring to summer, ninebark produces clusters of small, white to pinkish flowers, then decorative seed pods. Grow it in hardiness zones 2-8.
Consider Clematis if you want a stunning year-round climbing plant. It helps add vertical interest, color, and elegance to trellises, gardens, and fences. It has compound leaves with a bold, green appearance and produces flowers in various shapes, sizes, and colors, depending on the variety.
It suits hardiness zones 4-9.
20. Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
This is another climbing plant, and it’s popular for covering structures like fences and arbors. A Trumpet Vine grows rapidly and is renowned for its large, orange, red, or sometimes yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers.
The Trumpet Vine suits hardiness zones 5-9.
Thoughtful plant selection is essential when choosing plants that remain captivating throughout the year. Consider sunlight, soil type, water availability, and hardiness zones to ensure the plants you pick thrive year-round.
So, carefully choose from the 20 landscaping plants discussed above, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a harmonious and visually appealing garden that delights your senses year-round.
Hey there, I’m Derek Schew, a writer for Lawnholic.com, where we cover everything and anything related to lawns. As someone who’s spent countless hours tending to my own lawn, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others achieve the perfect yard. From lawn care tips to product reviews, I’m committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. So whether you’re a seasoned lawn enthusiast or just getting started, I invite you to join our community and discover the joys of a lush, green lawn.