Boxwoods are landscapers and gardeners’ favorite shrubs, especially in North America. These dense, evergreen shrubs can grow in both sun and partial shade and have a high tolerance for pruning. They usually make the best additions to elegant and formal gardens. However, as we will see below, you can succeed landscaping with boxwoods in wilder, less formal gardens as well.
Before we present you with some of the best, easiest, and most beautiful boxwoods landscape designs, we need to share some information on how to grow and care for boxwoods so you can enjoy their reach deep green foliage all year long.
Boxwoods Growing and Maintenance: Conditions and Tips
First, you need to know that boxwoods require well-drained soils. They also prefer organically amended soils. However, being such a resilient plant, boxwood can easily adapt to all soil types.
Before planting boxwood, you need to make a soil test to verify if the pH levels are right for these shrubs. For boxwoods optimal growth, the soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7. Landscaping experts can rise or lower the soil’s pH so the boxwoods fare better year-round.
No matter what landscaping with boxwoods design ideas you have in mind, you need to take into account the planting locations’ requirements:
- Do not plant boxwoods in areas that are vulnerable to winter wind – you can thus avoid a boxwood specific condition called “winter bronzing”.
- Do not plant the boxwoods too deeply (keep the same planting depth level from the nursery or the container) – avoid thus stress and death.
- Plant the boxwoods in the spots that are the most appropriate for their needs: sunlight and shade in the summer afternoon, well-drained soil, lack of powerful wind etc.
Before landscaping with boxwoods, you need to consider your local climate and weather phenomena. If summer heat is rather extreme in your neighborhood, you need to water the boxwoods deeply (shallow irrigation will not help them thrive). Moreover, you need to know that boxwoods take around two years to establish and become strong and stable. Until this age, you need to water them on a weekly basis.
One of the most important boxwood maintenance tasks is mulching. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch extending 12 inches past the foliage mixed with weekly watering will keep your boxwoods in perfect shape. They need the organic nutrients in mulch, the moisture, coolness, and protection offered by the layer of mulch. Just as you mulch your trees and other shrubs, make sure the mulch layer does not touch the trunks.
Pests and Diseases
Boxwoods are rather resilient shrubs when they are properly treated. However, one of the most common boxwood pests is the boxwood leaf miner, which needs immediate pest control intervention. If you see the foliage turn yellow, have some organic oil or insecticidal spray at hand. As diseases are concerned, you need to keep the boxwoods soils well drained. Saggy, moist soils lead to the development of the Phytophthora root rot.
Finally yet importantly, you need to know that boxwoods pruning is the task you will be engaged in the most when it comes to landscaping with boxwoods. Shearing will be time-consuming but it is worth every second, especially if you plan to use boxwoods for hedges.
Landscaping with Boxwoods: 10 Ideas
Now that we learned how to grow and care for boxwoods, let us see next a few gorgeous landscaping with boxwoods ideas you can implement on your own property!
1. Pathway Edging
Add color, contrast, depth, volume, and texture with beautifully aligned boxwoods alongside your garden pathways or main driveway. The boxwoods will add a deep dark green finish to your edging projects. If you are redesigning a landscape from A-to-Z, make sure there are taller plants, flowers, and shrubs behind the row of boxwoods for more depth and textured volume.
2. Living Boxwood Garden Design
Boxwoods are amazing because they can be shaped almost any way you want them – but if you allow them to thrive in their most common and favored shape, round spheres of rich deep green foliage, only sky is the limit to what you can do with them. For instance, try this garden ornament with different boxwoods of different sized placed in a cluster of beauty. This is a stone-inspired ornament. However, it is better and classier to build a statue out of green living boxwoods than of round boulders.
3. Garden Beds Edging
Do you know what looks better than an edge made of boxwoods? A garden edge mixing boxwoods, flowers, and flowery shrubs. Of course, you need to think about the plants’ height to make sure you get a ladder effect. In addition, you need to think about the matching colors as well for a nice blended garden bed. Boxwoods make an excellent backdrop for any type of ornamental trees, flowers, and other shrubs due to their rich deep green color.
4. Boxwoods Galore in Formal Large Yards
Boxwoods are the quintessential element of formal, tidy, organized gardens. Their round shape sweetens sharp edges and angles and adds soft geometry to the entire edgy ensemble. You can introduce boxwoods in contrasting rows alongside your garden pathways and walkways. By “contrasting”, we mean you need to plant them together with either shorter or taller plants or ornamentals for a wow effect.
5. Boxwood Topiary with Giant Alliums
If the climate permits, mix boxwoods with giant alliums for a topiary that will make the front cover of a house and garden magazine. The contrasting heights but the matching roundness, together with the beautiful stone edge make this type of topiary something to gaze at for hours. This landscaping with boxwoods idea work best in large spaces where you can be generous with your plants to put up a show and unravel their simple and elegant beauty.
6. Wild Garden Boxwood and Agapanthus Walkways
We said that a formal boxwood garden design would be the most common landscape idea you will see. Nevertheless, wild gardens in more raw, untidy designs closer to nature are the perfect canvas to paint with boxwoods. Add Agapanthus for contrast, height, texture, and color to get a small corner of paradise! Enjoy the effortlessly sophisticated, raw, natural, and seductive look.
7. Spice up the Outdoor Living Room
Placing a sofa in the garden against the property wall and turning the spot into a comfortable corner for morning coffees or fun chats with the family is probably the best ideas you can have. Add some potted and planted boxwoods to get focal points and you are a professional landscaper! Since we are talking about walls, a vertical garden on that wall makes a glorious backdrop for your garden furniture and accessories. In this landscape design, the boxwoods are not the main characters, but they do add to the plot!
8. Soften up Corners
Boxwoods have an important utilitarian effect. Besides being beautiful in and out of themselves, they prove extremely useful as landscape accessories and enhancements as well. In this case, landscaping with boxwoods did not have the purpose of building a boxwood-centric design, finishing a formal garden or fine-tuning an outdoor living space. In this particular case, boxwoods’ role is to soften a rough, sharp pathway corner. Of course, you can achieve the same effect with a rounded stone pathway edge, but the boxwoods sweeten the deal, embellishing the house’s corners as well.
9. Pots and Urns and Minimalists Designs
Boxwoods make excellent companions for pots and urns, especially when you use such containers to highlight or edge a deck or a patio. If you are into minimalist designs and modern landscapes in sharper, edges and less embellished ensembles, then you can safely use boxwoods in pots and urns. For a wow nighttime effect, make sure your patio lighting works properly to add a glamorous aura of mystery to the row of potted boxwoods.
10. Neat, Clean-Cut Hedge
We spoke mostly about the round beauty of boxwoods, forgetting to show you the simplest and easiest manner to use them in landscape designs: clean-cut, neat, sharp-edged hedges. This trend is mostly popular in Europe, as dwarf boxwoods varieties make perfect choices when you want to achieve dense hedges. Such hedges work great to border a driveway or a pathway. However, you can insert such hedges in the garden to separate different areas and edge narrower pathways. To spice things up, insert landscape light lamps here and there in the hedge for an eerie, fairy-tale like atmosphere all over your garden.
Picking up the Scissors…
…Boxwoods are very popular and quite expensive. They are slow-growing landscape elements and thus valuable. Before you decide on your landscaping with boxwoods ideas, pick carefully the boxwoods varieties you would like to add to your property. Make sure you also pick a reputable nursery. Have a chat with a seasoned gardener about soil pH and planting locations if you are a beginner and do not forget the two golden rules of boxwoods planting: watering and mulching as frequent as you can.