We love colorful spring and summer annuals as much as the next guy, but your landscape needs more.

Enter the evergreen.

While annuals fade and perennials have one or two showy seasons, evergreens keep your property intriguing all year long.

Shelley Russell, landscape designer at Level Green Landscaping, shares her favorite evergreen trees and plants.

You might want one of each.

Magnolia Grandiflora

Not all magnolias are evergreen, but this one is.

Yup, it will knock your socks off every spring with those huge, spectacular, intoxicatingly fragrant white blossoms.

Magnolia Grandiflora

But it’s a workhorse year-round, offering glossy dark green leaves.

After the flowers fade, there’s another cool show: big cone-like clusters of rose-red seeds.

Russell loves this magnolia as a specimen or mixed in a border to form a screen.

Japanese Cedar

This is the national tree of Japan, so it must be doing something right.

Sporting pretty blue-green foliage and interesting texture, it’s one of Russell’s favorite evergreen trees to use as a screen or in a mixed border.

Japanese Cedar

Its evergreen foliage often develops a bronze hue during cold months.

Love arborvitae, but hate how deer use it as a dinner buffet? This is a great alternative.  Deer typically walk on by.

Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress

Add a glow to your landscape with this dwarf stunner. It has delicate golden fan-shaped foliage that makes it a standout in your landscape.

Perfect as a small specimen plant or lovely in a container, it grabs attention wherever it lands.

Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress

Consider a pair of them flanking your entrance.

“It’s very slow growing, so it won’t dominate the landscape,” Russell says. 

Bonus: It’s low maintenance.

Encore Azalea

No evergreen list is complete without this show-stopping azalea that blooms in spring and again in fall.

Are you picky? There are 31 varieties to choose from, with captivating blooms in pink, red, white, yellow, coral, magenta and purple.

Encore Azalea

We promise you’ll find at least one to love.

Butterflies and bees flitter around the bright blooms in warm weather.

After the fall blooms fade away, the foliage keeps on working, providing a beautiful backdrop for your winter landscape.

Bonus: Encore boasts a higher resistance to disease and pests than traditional azaleas.


There’s so much to love about this classic evergreen. It’s great for foundation plantings, easy to prune, and offers impressive dark green foliage.


“It’s very versatile,” Russell says. “It can be pruned tight for a formal look or left unpruned for a more natural look.”

The fun doesn’t stop there — you can pop boxwood in containers, too.

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

The slender fern-like foliage of this evergreen adds great texture to your shade landscape year-round.

Fragrant yellow flowers offer a pretty accent from fall through winter.

Mahonia Soft Caress

It’s a great size, too, maturing at about three feet. It might be just what you need for a captivating low evergreen hedge.

Russell loves to pair it with coral bells, Lenten rose and ‘Bowles Golden’ sedge.

Coral Bells

This is technically a semi-evergreen perennial, but it’s so great we have to include it.

The ruffly veined leaves are like artwork for your landscape, and it comes in a host of colors, from plum to bronze to orange.

Coral Bells Palace Purple

“There are so many exciting varieties now,” Russell says. Among her favorites: ‘Georgia Peach,’  ‘Caramel,’ and ‘Palace Purple’ — the 1991 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Pro tip: coral bells need part shade. Don’t plant them in full sun. 

We’ve Got Your Perfect Evergreens  

Need some easy-care, attention-grabbing, hardworking evergreens in your landscape?

Trust us — you do.

Russell knows the best evergreen trees and plants for Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland. She can’t wait to suggest the perfect year-round beauties for you.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.

Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

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Image sources: Magnolia Grandiflora, Japanese CedarGolden Dwarf Hinoki CypressEncore Azalea, BoxwoodMahonia ‘Soft Caress’, Coral Bells