Landscape Elements: Anchor Plants

Landscaping adds beauty to your home, giving it a finished look and increases your property value.  This series will discuss the different elements of a successful landscape design, we’ll begin with Anchors.  These are larger plants used at the outermost corners of your home.  They help soften the square edges of the corners of the house.

Landscaping Elements

Usually, the plants used are larger than the other plants in the design.  The taller/fuller size and placement of them at the opposite ends of your home act as “anchors”.  If planted within 4 feet of the house the height should be less than the height of the house eaves.  You can choose taller plant varieties if the landscape bed depth is increased at the corners and the plant is 6+ feet from the house.

Landscaping Elements

There are many options of plants that can be used as anchors.  Here are some suggestions for both under eave height and larger specimen plants to be used further away from the house along with their sun/shade requirements:

Yew 'Maki'

Dark green, long leafed evergreen plant that has red berries but does not bloom.  It is upright and columnar in growth and can be pruned to stay 2’ wide or allowed to grow wider.  It will eventually reach 8-10 feet tall, but can be pruned to lower height.  Will grow in sun, partial sun/partial shade.


Green, glossy leaves with 3 pointy spines on its leaves.  Red berries cover it in winter and birds love them.  Will grow in sun or partial shade and will reach 6-8 feet tall and 4-8 feet wide.  This is a rounder shaped plant that keeps it’s leaves year-round.  Can be pruned easily.

Azalea Lavender Formosa

This evergreen plant is one of the larger standard azaleas that blooms each spring.  It will reach 6 – 8 feet tall and 4 – 6 feet wide at maturity and does best in partial sun/partial shade.

Rose Knock Out® ‘Double Pink’

Evergreen except for Jan/Feb.  This shrub rose is disease resistant and blooms almost continuously from April through November.  Growing up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide it is a show stopper when in full bloom.  Requires 6 hours of sun per day to bloom properly.

Cleyera Japonica

Slower growing, glossy leafed, evergreen shrub that can be used under eaves if pruned once it reaches the desired height.  The new growth is a copper color and changes to green as the leaf matures.  Performs well in sun or shade.


This shade loving plant blooms in the winter.  Sasanqua varieties are a good choice for under the eaves and blooms in November – January.  Japonica varieties will work under the eaves if pruned or plant them out from the house and they will reach up to 12’ tall.  These bloom in January – March.


This natural pyramid shaped holly will reach 12-15 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide unless pruned occasionally.  A truly beautiful plant.  Will grow in full sun or partial sun and each plant will have red berries in the winter.

'Emerald' Arborvitae

These bright green, evergreen trees reach a height of 10-15 feet tall and grow in a narrow columnar shape 3-4 feet wide.  They prefer partial sun – afternoon shade is best.

Crape Myrtle

They are deciduous, but their bare multiple branch shape bring an architectural interest to a landscape.  Blooming in many colors and available in many sizes they can be planted below eave height or choose a taller variety for planting away from the house.  Requires full sun for best bloom performance.

Quick Fire Fab® Hydrangea

This shade lover will bloom from April – September.  They range in height from 4-8 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide. They are deciduous but plant shorter evergreen plants in front of them in the landscape to draw attention away from them while dormant.

There are many other plant options that work well as anchors.  Choose a plant that appeals to you that fit’s the planting area and sun/shade requirements.  We will look at “framing” in the next newsletter and how it adds interest to your beds.

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