Start the growing season with a big flush of color from flowering trees and shrubs. If you love fragrance, plant lilacs. They offer large purple, violet, or white blooms. Small varieties, such as 'Miss Kim' look good even in confined spaces.
Other spring-flowering shrubs include azalea, forsythia, mock orange and viburnum. Spring-flowering trees include redbud, flowering plum, dogwood, and crabapple. There are many more examples. Just look around your neighborhood. Or stop in and talk with your local Lowe's garden specialist.
In summer, many shrubs and trees are lush and green. But some also provide colorful foliage and eye-catching berries. Look for cultivars with silver, gray, burgundy or chartreuse foliage for lasting contrast. Then mix in some berry producing species, such as serviceberry, which has white blooms in spring, small reddish-purple berries in summer, and bright foliage in fall.
Another beautiful shrub for a four-season landscape is barberry, which comes with colorful chartreuse or burgundy foliage and is exceedingly easy to grow. Ornamental grasses are a snap, too. They're low-maintenance and add tons of texture.
Fall is all about leaf color. When the weather gets cooler, maple trees really shine, turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Japanese maple is a good choice for smaller areas that receive a little afternoon shade. October Glory' red maple is a particularly nice shade tree that turns brilliant red in autumn. There are many showy shrubs for fall, too, including burning bush, clethra, ninebark and viburnum.
For winter interest in your four-season landscape, include evergreens such as yews and junipers and berried plants such as holly. Also look for plants with bark that is colorful (red-twig dogwood) or peeling (paperbark maple). In addition, ornamental grasses add pleasing hues of tan and buff to the winter landscape, along with richly textured seedheads that wave in the wind.