14 Boxwood Landscaping Ideas

Boxwood are the most popular shrubs for landscaping. What are some design ideas?

Boxwoods are one of the most popular shrubs used in landscaping. You can use this multi-purpose evergreen in many different ways besides planting it to fill in a spot in your flowerbed. With so many other landscaping uses, this list will either have you wondering why you haven’t planted some already or think you need more.

Creative Landscaping Ideas for Boxwoods

1. Create Privacy Around Your Pool

Boxwood hedges are dense and make an excellent living privacy wall and noise screen. Plant them along the sides of the pool that flank neighboring houses or just in spaces where you need a little extra privacy from peering eyes. Their dense growth is impenetrable to stares but also absorbs sounds and muffles distracting noises from surrounding homes and streets.

Use in ground-plants works to create a permanent structure or cover a large area. Container plants work well if you’re leasing and can’t plant anything in the ground.

Boxwood plants and landscaping used for pool privacy

2. Plant Under a Lollipop Boxwood 

Boxwoods add a dramatic element to your garden when pruned into the whimsical lollipop or pop-pom shape. Planting around the base of the shrub amps up the wow factor. Opt for lavender to add scent and color, contrasting against the green. Or you could plant chives—their pale mauve flowers mimic the circular shape while adding texture.

If you’d rather stick with low-maintenance, you can plant other boxwoods around the base.

A boxwood plant shaped as a lollipop

3. Flank Hardscaping With Softer Globes

Hardscaping elements like paths, retaining walls, and even patios create beautiful lines and angles in your landscaping. Introduce boxwoods clipped into balls or gloves to enhance and contrast the linear objects. The smooth spheres soften the look while providing year-round color and shape. Unlike other herbaceous plants, the dark green boxwood is a constant regardless of the season. 

A boxwood landscaping in a park

4. Minimize Erosion on Hillsides

Boxwoods provide homeowners looking for erosion control with a low-maintenance alternative to grass. Use a free-form dwarf variety or go with manicured shrubs, planting them across the slope to prevent erosion. You’ll save yourself from cutting more grass, and the shrubs’ root systems create a mat below the surface that helps keep the soil in place. 

A hillside decorated with varieties of boxwood plants

5. Use Uplighting to Create a Nighttime Focal Point

Increase the beauty of your boxwood shrubs by installing uplighting at their base to bring attention to these gorgeous plants after dark. Whether you choose discreet uplights that seem to hide away or bold fixtures that are part of the overall design when the lights are turned on at night, your shrubs become a gorgeous focal point in your landscaping. 

6. Build a Labyrinth-Style Garden

While this idea doesn’t take advantage of the boxwood’s low-maintenance needs, creating a labyrinth-style garden is a beautiful addition to a carefully manicured, formal landscape. When starting with young, immature shrubs, plant them at about half the spacing recommended on the plant tag. As they mature and fill in, they’ll create an excellent tight hedge without gaps.

Boxwood plants used for a labyrinth style garden

7. Border Your Vegetable Garden

If you’re looking for an interesting way to create a border around your vegetable garden, think about using boxwoods to create a defined perimeter that helps protect your garden from unwanted foot traffic. Low-growing varieties like dwarf English, Wee Willie, and Morris Midget stay compact, so they are easy to step over and don’t need as much pruning as taller varieties. 

8. Keep Vehicles Off Your Lawn

It is frustrating when people park or drive their vehicle(s) on your lawn without permission. Not only does the vehicle’s weight compact the soil, but continuous tire tracks and leaking fluids can kill the grass. To keep cars off your lawn, plant a boxwood hedge where the offense typically happens, or plant a few shrubs across the space.

9. Design an Evergreen Potager

What exactly is an evergreen potager? Similar to the English cottage garden, the French kitchen garden or potager combines vegetables and herbs—instead of flowers—in stunning displays that are pleasing to the eye. The exciting aspect, though, is the entire garden is surrounded by a square or rectangular boxwood planting as a border.  

An evergreen potager enclosing a vegetable garden

10. Plant with Wispy Freeform Grasses 

Ornamental grasses are popular in landscape designs, adding a wispy freeform touch to flowerbeds and gardens. Interspersing them with shrubs like boxwoods combines naturalistic planting with crucial structure, especially when the shrubs are clipped routinely. The two vastly different plant forms play off of one another to create a pleasing space that is soft yet regimented.

11. Accent a Courtyard with Color and Texture

Courtyards with concrete and gravel tend to feel “hard” and often impersonal. They also typically lack color, filled with the drab gray of cement walkways and light-colored stones. Adding boxwoods, whether you plant them in-ground or put them in containers, helps to soften the aesthetic and bring a welcoming accent of bright, bold green to the space.

an evergreen shrub tree in a wooden container

12. Frame Your Front Entrance for Instant Curb Appeal

Looking to amp up your home’s curb appeal? If so, set a potted boxwood on either side of your front door, or stagger them along the walkway leading to the entrance for a welcoming display. This setup takes less maintenance than seasonal annuals! Keep the shrubs neatly clipped to add year-round style to the front of your home.

A house front entrance with boxwood decorations

13. Build a Magazine-Worthy Parterre

A parterre is a formal garden made up of colorful flower beds enclosed with boxwood hedges and separated by gravel. When designing your parterre, take inspiration from the other elements in your backyard to create something that harmonizes with the surroundings. This could mean recreating the curves in a wrought-iron fence or long rectangular boxes parallel to fences. 

A beautiful landscape framing a yellow hyacinth

14. Hide Eyesores in Your Yard

Thick boxwood shrubs also do an effective job at hiding eyesores in your landscape, requiring minimal upkeep. You can use them to cover the foundation, hide your garbage bins, camouflage your air conditioning unit, or disguise your compost pile. You can also plant them along the sides of your deck or patio to hide the bare area underneath. 

Why are Boxwoods so Good to Use in Landscaping?

Boxwoods are undoubtedly one of the most-used, functional plants in gardening history because of their functionality, attractiveness, and endless uses. These high-versatile evergreen plants keep year-round color in your landscape, can grow in sun and partial shade, are low-maintenance, and have a high pruning tolerance. Their dark green leaves are also complementary to other plants and hardscaping.

Carley Miller
Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at Bustling Nest. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.
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