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Thursday - May 23, 2013

From: Stamford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub to hide gas line and water faucet from Stamford CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a small garden ( 8'x10') in front of my house in southwestern Connecticut which faces north. It gets very limited sun and the eave hangs over it. I am looking for a shrub to plant up against the house to hide the water spigot and gas line. Desired height of no more than 4 feet (I will keep it trimmed). Any suggestions -- other than boxwood, which I am very bored with -- ? Is mountain laurel able to be trimmed into a hedge? Thank you.


First a word from our sponsors: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to areas in which they evolved; in your case, Fairfield County, CT. This will help to ensure that the plants you choose will be able to flourish in the climate, rainfall and soils they experience. So, Buxus sempervirens (boxwood), native to western Europe, Turkey, northwest Africa and southeast Asia would not be on our list anyway. As you can see if you follow this plant link Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel), while it is native to Connecticut, its normal growth pattern as a single-trunked plant to 20 ft. tall would not be suitable for trimming to a shrub.

Next, another small caution we would extend. Be sure that digging in the area you have designated, where there are probably both water and gas lines, will not cause any damage to those lines. Your local gas and water companies should be able to help you with that.

We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down the page to Combination Search, select on Connecticut for state, "shrub" for Habit and 3 ft. to 6 ft. for Height. There will probably be a limited amount of sun that close to your house. You will need to watch the space for a few days to determine if you have "sun" (6 hours or more of sun a day), "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun) or "shade" (less than 2 hours of sun). When you follow each plant link on our list to our webpage on that plant, you will be able to determine if that shrub is appropriate to your space. Another caveat, don't plant your shrub too close to the wall; as it grows the shrub will expand equally all the way around and you will need to constantly prune it away from the wall, spoiling the shape of the shrub.

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry)

Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)

Comptonia peregrina (Sweet fern)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (Shrubby cinquefoil)

Hibiscus moscheutos (Crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Lonicera dioica (Limber honeysuckle)

Rhododendron canadense (Rhodora)

Ribes cynosbati (Eastern prickly gooseberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)


From the Image Gallery

Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Coastal pepperbush
Clethra alnifolia

Sweet fern
Comptonia peregrina

Shrubby cinquefoil
Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Crimsoneyed rosemallow
Hibiscus moscheutos

Limber honeysuckle
Lonicera dioica

Rhododendron canadense

Eastern prickly gooseberry
Ribes cynosbati

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

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