I had never before thought to use shrubs and bushes to break up all of the stone and cement of a pool deck -- it makes me so happy that I came on here looking for a few design ideas and inspiration! So many of the landscape design pictures that I have seen with pools have mostly hardscaping elements like stone patios, rocks, etc. to provide most of the decor. While this is usually the case with a pool simply due to the nature of the project, I do want something that has more greenery and natural elements to it to bring warmth and an organic vibe to the back yard. I hate how cold stone and cement looks, I much prefer lush green lawns and well-manicured bushes.
Shrubs and bushes make a huge difference in your landscape and, for a much lower cost than purchasing large trees, can provide so much color and texture to an otherwise very simple yard. I always look for fast growing shrubs like crepe myrtle or forsythia because they will fill out very quickly. Then I may layer in some north privet because it is an evergreen shrub that will provide a nice burst of color all year round, even into the winter months. Because our backyard has tons of trees, I did a lot of research on the best shrubs for shade thinking that I would need to replace my usual go-to plants. Fortunately most of these were totally fine to be in the shade, and even thrive in a little bit less sunlight.
For some reason, when I used to think about landscaping I primarily focused on trees and colorful flowers beds rather than shrubs and bushes (I know it is strange that I forgot about this whole category of plants haha). As I am learning a lot more about gardening and spending time researching trendy landscaping ideas 2020, I am seeing that I missed a whole area of potential beauty for the yard. One of the biggest take home messages from all of my research is that you have to fill all of the visual planes or layers of the yard -- ground, mid height, and then tall. Ground level is of course your flower beds and ground cover. Mid-level is usually taken up by bushes and shrubs, and then your taller plants like trees will fill that top level.
One of my favorite out-of-the-box uses for shrubs and bushes is to create natural fences and walls around a property or a particular outdoor entertaining zone. I was trying to find the best example of landscaping bushes used in this way, and I think that this gorgeous pool and backyard entertaining space provides the perfect visual of what I am talking about. As you can see, they planted a huge (probably 15 foot) wall of privacy shrubs behind the pool to block of the neighbors house. First of all, I am sure that there is no way that their HOA would allow them to build a wall that high, so they never could have achieved that level of privacy.
Planting shrubs and bushes is a fantastic way to dramatically upgrade your landscaping if you don't want to spend a ton of money on larger trees. I don't think that many people realize the style potential that colorful bushes can have because, before I jumped into the landscaping world, I was like most folks and thought that they really only came in one color -- green haha. While, in all reality, the vast majority are green, you can find different varieties of bushes in all shades of green so that you can create dimension and variation in your designs. I think that some of the best shrubs for front of house are these small round boxwood balls that we used at our own property.
People on here my jump down my throat for this, but I really want to rip out the shrubs and bushes from the front fountain area of our driveway because I feel that it blocks the view of the home as well as the beauty of the fountain. While the colorful shrubs are certainly beautiful and lush, they have just gotten overgrown and overwhelm the landscape design in my opinion. I think that if were able to completely tear them out or, at minimum, trim them back quite a bit, that the entire front yard would look completely different. I would replace them with more well manicured landscaping shrubs and maybe a topiary or two for good measure.