10 Small Plants for Landscaping

Looking for the best small plants for landscaping? Here are some ideas that will have your yard looking good from the ground up.

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Landscaping design with hostas and daylilies
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Short- and Medium-Sized Plants for Landscaping

Short plants are essential to landscaping in small yards and large estates alike. Outdoor living spaces benefit from variety. Tall and short plants work together to create a full and interesting landscape design. Short- and medium-sized flora make up some of the best small plants for landscaping.

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Hostas are one of the most widely used small landscaping plants due to their unique shape and broad range of colors. Some types of hosta are a bright yellow-green, while some have a rich blue hue and others contrasting variegation.

Growing hostas is really easy; they don’t need much sun or watering. The Bressingham blue hosta sprouts white flowers in late summer.

Height: 28 inches.

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Dragons Breath Celosia
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These small decorative plants add pops of color and texture to your garden. Dragon’s breath celosia (pictured) grows a bit taller than other celosia varieties, but both options are less than three feet high. Their bright flowers grow in unusual spiky plumes.

Height: 15 to 24 inches.

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Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is a delicate, flowering ground cover plant. This low-growing shade plant sports tiny, bell-shaped flowers with a lovely aroma. It spreads quickly to fill bare patches at the base of tall landscaping plants. Plant them beneath lilac bushes to fill your yard with the scents of spring.

Height: 12 inches.

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Dragons Blood Sedum
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Some of the best small decorative plants are sedum. Lemon coral sedum grows three to 10 inches tall, while dragon’s blood sedum (pictured) is even shorter at just three to four inches. Sedum plants grow in many colors and patterns. These gorgeous small plants for landscaping are among the succulents that provide excellent ground cover.

Height: Three to 10 inches.

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Korean Boxwood

Korean boxwood is a compact evergreen shrub and one of the best medium-sized plants for landscaping. This green beauty is easy to prune, so it’s often sheared into a hedge or shaped into spherical mounds. This tough shrub is an ideal choice for driveway landscaping.

Height: Two to three feet.

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Here’s another medium-sized flowering plant. Daylilies feature lengthy, slender leaves and vibrant, long-stemmed flowers. These Stella de Oro daylilies are a cheerful yellow, but there are varieties in other colors, too. This foot-tall perennial flower is popular all over the U.S. and looks at home in flower beds and borders.

Height: 12 inches.

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Coral bells

Dolce wildberry coral bells is a stunning shade of purple. Its glossy, scalloped leaves provide texture and color. Coral bells sprout delicate white flowers in the summer. This is one of the best small plants for landscaping in shaded areas.

Height: 10 to 14 inches.

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Blue Rug Juniper

Blue rug juniper features distinctive turquoise foliage that beautifully accents purple and green plants, such as coral bells and hostas. In the fall, it stands out against red and gold foliage. Although blue rug juniper is a shrub, it’s one of the shortest plants on this list. It’s even short enough to work as a ground cover.

Height: Six inches.

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Coleus has some of the prettiest leaves. Deep burgundies, fiery reds, soft pinks and electric greens all appear in this plant family. The chocolate drop coleus has small green leaves with burgundy centers and veins. This variety of coleus has an attractive trailing pattern that works well in garden beds and containers.

Height: 14 to 18 inches.

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This spring-blooming bulb has large flower heads of small, pink florets. Hyacinth doesn’t bloom for long, but it’s a major crowd-pleaser while it does. These small decorative plants are incredibly fragrant, which makes them an excellent addition to indoor bouquets.

Height: Eight to 12 inches.

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Mikayla Borchert
Mikayla is an assistant editor for Family Handyman, specializing in indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. She has one cat and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she likes running, skiing, hiking and tending her balcony garden.