Tall Landscape Plants Add Versatility and Variety

When designing landscapes, we often aim for a mix of different sizes of plants to keep things interesting. Tall landscape plants can add variety, interest and can be low maintenance for your garden landscape.

What we love about tall landscape plants (5 or 6 feet tall or taller!) is that  they have so many purposes. But screening is usually #1.

They are a living fence- fences can be so formal and permanent. If your neighbor is putting up a fence you know they don’t want to see you. But tall plants are a bit more subtle and can do the same job as a fence but in a softer and beautiful way.

The Tall Plant Advantage


1. Add Privacy in Your Yard

Privacy is probably the number one advantage of a tall plant. Tall shrubs can create a fence-like function, but are much prettier than a plastic or wood fence.

Best Privacy plants: Viburnum, Rose of Sharon, burning bush, Amur maple, ornamental grasses

Evergreen options: Arborvitae (Green Giant and Emerald Green are the most popular), hicksi yew




Arborvitae - Green Giant 

Arborvitae are very popular for privacy fences. Watch out for diseases but oh what  beautiful giant it is! 

2. Soften Your Landscape

Tall landscape plants can soften the corner of a house, creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests, adding beauty and complementing the hardness of the brick and mortar home or business. 

Best softening plants: Our go-to choice to soften landscapes are the lovely hydrangeas. Hydrangeas can grow tall (or short) and help soften. There are so many ways to landscape with hydrangeas! The larger ones are limelight, serviceberry, vanilla strawberry and firelight.  

Butterfly bushes can also grow large and come in many varieties and heights.



The firelight hydrangea can reach up to 6 ft tall, making it a great backdrop in the landscaping! Hydrangeas just look soft when you see their big flowing blooms. Many hydrangeas are easy to care for and look good in the winter, too, as an added bonus. 


3. Hide Objects

Some home objects are necessary, but rather ugly. Think of tall landscape bushes and shrubs to hide an unsightly fence, light poles, electrical boxes or obscure a neighbor’s messy yard.

The best plants to hide stuff are ornamental grasses- they grow quickly, are affordable, easy to grow, and at maturity are extremely full. We avoid varieties that spread; I like them to stay in clumps. Some of my top favorites are: morning light grass or pampas for a larger grass, Korean feather reed grass , Karl Forester Grass, Desert Plains Grass. See more grasses.



Pampas Grass is a giant! A 12-footer making it among the largest ornamental grass! Great to add privacy and beauty. They're also very low maintenance. 

How to Choose Tall Landscape Plants

Like all landscaping, when it comes to choosing tall plants for your backyard, front yard, or sides of your home or business, prioritize your goals. What's most important? Fast growing? Easy to grow? What are your light conditions? How much time do you have to care for them? Here are some options for every need.

Low maintenance 

If you don’t have time to water or maintain the plants, pick a few grasses or burning bushes. - they don’t need much water or care. For grasses, just cut them down to the ground in late fall or early spring. Burning bushes just need pruning here and there. Just be sure to check the labels and plan and purchase accordingly. Professional landscapers have an eye for what works where.


Low Maintenance Tall Shrub: 
Burning Bush 

Groups of burning bushes create a compact barrier 5 ft x 5 ft - and watch them turn bright red in the fall, becoming a living fence that changes colors!

Learn about burning bush


Low Maintenance Tall Shrub: 

Tons of varieties make grasses a great low-maintenance option! Some grow as tall as 6' for taller! Some change color in the fall making them attractive year-round! 

Learn about grasses

Growth Options

Do you want the tall landscape plants to grow slow or fast? Here are a couple of options:


SLOW Growing Tall Plant:
hicksi yew 

Hicksi yew grows slow but makes a gorgeous dark green, evergreen fence.

learn about hicksi yew

Fast Growing Tall Plant:
rose of sharon: 

vase-shaped this perennial grows 6-8 ft tall and blooms from July-late Sept

Learn about rose of sharon

Sun & Shade

Don’t forget to consider the light conditions where you want to plant tall plants.


grand cascade Butterfly bush

The larger varieties of butterfly bush make great tall plants that love the sun.Grand Cascade is one of my favorites growing appx 6 ft x 6 ft the blooms are 1 ft long and last a long time they are amazing.

Learn About Grand Cascade

vanilla-strawberry hydrangea.jpg

brandywine viburnum

Many varieties of viburnum can grow in shade or sun and make great screens. Some like Korean Spice smell wonderful.

Learn More about brandywine viburnum

Care for Tall Landscape Plants

Remember that tall landscape plants need to have the proper space to grow to maturity. They start small but they grow so be sure to plan for the plants you pick. Talk to a professional to make a plan and get plants of best quality. 

Also be mindful of diseases and try to prevent them. The best approach for diseases is to just simply keep the plants from getting under stress- fertilize them with a slow release fertilizer in early Spring, water them if we go thru a extreme dry spell, - but water the roots not the leaves, occasionally inspect for insects and disease. anything that looks out of the ordinary- and treat if necessary, when pruning use sharp pruners.

Things are Looking Up! Plan for Tall Plants

So how do you decide what plants you need? Ask a professional to help you determine what size plants will work best for your yard’s square footage, light conditions and your preferences. Check out our interactive landscape catalog and have fun picking out your plants. Call us with your choices!

Cover Image: Fourth of July Butterfly Bush

Back to All Posts