The Q&A Archives: Hide Base of Porch with Evergreen Shrubs

Question: I live in Northwestern Vermont, Zone (3/4). I have a 40 ft front porch with an 8 ft set of stairs in the center. The floor of the porch starts 2 ft above the ground. The porch railing extends about 3 ft above that. I am looking for an evergreen shrub that would cover the 2 ft area between the ground and the porch. I would prefer something that would be green (not blue, silver or bronze) year round, would have about a 3 to 4 ft. (max of 5 ft.) spread, and would stay about 2 to 2 1/2 ft (max 3 ft) high so no pruning or shearing would be necessary. The area gets morning shade and afternoon sun. It gets alot of wind in the winter. Could you please give me a few suggestions on what I could use in this area? Thanks.

Answer: The fact that it is windy and also sunny in the afternoon make the growing conditions somewhat difficult. This is especially true for evergreens because both windy conditions and reflected heat/sun off of a building stress them in winter and hot afternoon-only sun is hard on them in the summer. With the wind factor giving you a colder microclimate, you should also use plants hardy to zone 3. You might be able to use a dwarf conifer; there are a number of small-growing cultivars among the junipers, spruce (Picea), arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) and also possibly mugo pine. Your local professional nursery staff should be able to help you select something that meets your criteria and will also thrive for you, based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions of where you want to plant. Good luck with your project.

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