Landscape Improvements

Jump to: Think Outside the Box | Perennial Favorites
Green Waste Removal | Customer Spotlight

Think Outside the Box: Ten Alternatives to Boxwoods

Landscapes come in many shapes and sizes, especially when you work with a variety of properties like NatureScapes does.  However, all landscapes have one thing in common…shrubs.  Some have more than others because of space, but shrubs are a staple in a landscape because they can serve so many different purposes including:
  • Screening unsightly views like electrical boxes or parking lots
  • Forming a natural fence to deter visitors from walking through turf
  • Unifying a space or providing a transition from one bed to another
  • Creating a focal point in the landscape
  • Providing interest throughout the seasons
One of the most common shrubs is the boxwood.  It is evergreen and easy to care for.  It can stand alone, or form a neat hedge.  It is a sure thing.  So why bother considering other options?  There are hundreds of varieties that can make your property stand out.  You still have to consider the space and conditions for which you are selecting the shrubs as light, soil and watering requirements are all important to ensuring plants grow properly and remain healthy.  But the next time you are in need of shrubs, consider these alternatives for adding color, texture and seasonal variety to your property’s landscape.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
  • Evergreen
  • Glossy dark green leaves with fiery red blooms
  • Good choice for colorful, low hedge, screen or border shrub
  • Blooms fall through winter
  • Requires filtered sun
  • Great holiday decoration in containers
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’
  • Evergreen
  • Fine-textured foliage that grows in a neat, dense mound
  • Good choice for breaking up bold, large-leafed plants
  • Foliage becomes rusty red in the winter
  • Requires part to full sun
Gardenia jasminoides ‘Daisy’
  • Evergreen
  • Glossy green foliage with creamy white flowers
  • Looks good in a mixed shrub border
  • Blooms from late spring to early fall
  • Requires full to part sun
  • Fragrant blooms
Euonymus japonicas ‘Microphyllus’
  • Evergreen
  • Shiny small-leaf shrub that requires minimal trimming
  • Perfect for a low hedge or border
  • Requires full sun
  • Formal appearance
Loropetalum chinensis ‘Purple Pixie’
  • Evergreen
  • Deep purple foliage with vibrant pink fringy blooms
  • Low maintenance and a good choice to cascade over walls
  • Blooms heavy in the spring, some in the summer and fall
  • Requires full sun to part shade
  • Deer resistant and drought tolerant
Nandina domestica ‘Gulfstream’
  • Evergreen
  • Deep purple foliage with vibrant pink fringy blooms
  • Green bamboo-like foliage that turns red in the fall
  • A good choice for a low hedge or mass planting
  • Looks best in full to part sun, but will grow in shade
Rhododendron sp ‘Encore’
  • Evergreen
  • Rich, green leaves with colorful blooms nine months out of the year
  • Most impressive when planted in groups or mass plantings
  • Blooms in the spring, summer and fall
  • Looks best in full sun, filtered afternoon shade
  • 24 varieties from which to choose!
Taxus x media ‘Everlow’
  • Evergreen
  • Dense, dark green foliage that is fern-like
  • Good for mass plantings and hedges/screens
  • No fall color, but spring growth is lighter green
  • Performs well in both full sun or full shade
  • Low maintenance and long life span (can live for 50 years)
Thuja occidentalis ‘Globe’
  • Evergreen
  • Bright green foliage
  • Good for mass plantings and hedges/screens
  • Turns a red-brown color in the winter
  • Performs well in both full sun or full shade
  • Maintains globe shape
Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Conoy’
  • Evergreen
  • White flowers and deep green leaves that turn maroon in the winter
  • Good for a dense, informal hedge or mass plantings
  • Fragrant flowers in the spring and red fruit in the autumn
  • Requires full sun to part shade

Perennial Favorites

Annuals are always a cost effective way of adding instant color to your landscape, but these plants only last one season.  If you want to stretch your landscaping dollar some, consider a more permanent option.  Perennials, which are plants that will live for multiple seasons with proper care, will add color and interest to a landscape for years after being planted only one time.  However, it is important to note that if it is constant color you like most, perennials’ bloom times are typically shorter and do not produce that “wow” factor as a mass planting of annuals.

Following are a few perennial favorites of NatureScapes Seasonal Color Designer and Floriculturist Shelley Threefoot Cowan.  She uses them primarily for their evergreen foliage to add interest and color throughout the year.


Heuchera Citronelle (left) has bright chartreuse foliage that adds pop to a landscape in the winter.  It requires shade or filtered sun, and its leaves are large and ruffled.

Autumn Fern (middle) has bronzy pink fronds in the spring that turn green as they mature.  The fern does best in shady beds with filtered sun, and is also a good option for pots or baskets.

Sedum Angelina (right) has needle-shaped foliage that is a bright golden chartreuse color.  It is a creeper, draping over sides of raised beds or pots.  It takes full sun and is drought tolerant.

Note: If the winter is too cold or wet, the foliage of these plants may “melt,” but will come back in the spring.

For more information about perennial options, contact NatureScapes at 770-973-7023.

Green Waste Removal

For 12 weeks during the months of October to December, 22 trucks roll into the NatureScapes’ Lilburn and Marietta facilities’ parking lots each weekday bulging with the leaf clean up from our properties.  Additionally, four vacuum trucks follow the crews all over town to pick up the leaves that the maintenance teams cannot load onto their trucks.

These collected leaves will fill up three 40-yard roll-off dumpsters per day from the onset of fall in mid-October until winter pruning is completed in mid-March.  This results in a five-month total accumulation of 8,000 cubic yards of green waste.  Add to this three 40-yard dumpsters per week for the remaining seven months of the year and NatureScapes will process a grand total of about 10,000 cubic yards of leaves, sticks, and trimmings by the time the leaves start to fall again next year!

So what happens to all of this waste?  An outside vendor hauls off and grinds the green material to create organic mulch.  It is part of NatureScapes’ “green” imitative and it is included in the operating budget.  The best part is that green waste removal is part of your landscape maintenance service so you never have to worry about what to do with all of those leaves!

Customer Spotlight

“NatureScapes is awesome!  It has been an extraordinary year for the properties I manage.  My account manager is a top notch, first class guy, and the crew is very detail oriented.  The landscaping always looks ‘finished’ – all of the shrubs are pruned and cleaned up, and the sidewalks are edged.  People from all over the world come to one particular property of mine and have commented on how good it looks.  I never have to worry because the account manager and crew consistently do a great job, and the place shows it.  NatureScapes just gets better every year.”

- Ron Wilkerson, Commercial Property Manager, Colliers International