More or less any shrub or bush can be used in landscaping - whether in your own garden or in public places. I would personally say that there is a good case for 'not' making a list of shrubs that are suitable, rather than making yet another list of 'landscaping shrubs' that would of course list the different Cotoneasters, Berberis or Barberries that are the norm.
As a landscaper, designing a shrub or bush planting scheme for either public or private property, you will need to take into account the locale, and choose to blend or contrast with that situation.
For public planting schemes you may well have to 'conform' to the wishes if the main architect, or whoever your paymaster is. But, be brave enough to set yourself apart from the hackneyed ideas that are the 'boredom factor' in so many planting schemes.
Dare to adopt an attitude of including, rather than excluding in your choices. Think of the project as ‘Your Project’; Your Statement to those who will enjoy your foresight for many years.
So many shrubs get planted in the wrong place, that the little task of knowing your shrub has to be emphasized! Height and spread – whilst of course important factors – are just the basic starting points. So many shrub borders and landscape areas fall into a regime of neglect before finally being ripped out simply because knowledge of the ultimate size was not taken into account. I can give countless examples of beautiful shrubs spoilt by over-planting – by professionals as well as amateurs.
But knowing your shrub goes a bit deeper than that!
Let’s examine a widely planted shrub, which is normally trouble free – Perovskia – the Russian Sage. A beautiful shrub with several attributes to make it an ideal inclusion in any landscape shrub area.
Good foliage for most of the year, with silvery grey aromatic leaves from early spring through until mid autumn. Upright – if slightly lax – habit of growth, rarely getting to more than 4ft (1.2m) and a good open habit that allows plenty of light to percolate through for other lower plants. It will put up with most soils, neglect and drought conditions.
Gorgeous powder blue spikes that attract many flying insects – bees in particular. Perovskia has a long flowering period from mid-summer through until hard frosts. Maintenance is generally confined to cutting back hard each spring. No pests or diseases to worry about. The season of interest is even extended through to depth of winter with attractive spikes of seedheads that look great when frosted! Plant and forget!
Hidden away in that basic delving into its habit, is one little detail that might well preclude it from being planted near seating or patio areas. (I have seen it extensively planted in pub outdoor garden areas.) It attracts bees! Some people are petrified of bees; some kids are attracted to bees! Perovskia can make for an unpleasant experience if planted too near sitting areas – for several months of the year! Know Your Shrub!