Fragrant Shrubs

Take outdoor spaces to the next level with fragrant shrubs

Fragrance is often an afterthought in garden planning. Although we meticulously arrange colors and textures, masterfully incorporating hardscapes along the way, we rarely consider fragrance. But scent can be one of the most memorable aspects of a garden and should always be thoughtfully considered in our designs.

Place fragrant shrubs where each can be best appreciated. Although most florals combine well, some flowering shrubs, like gardenias, emit a bold fragrance that easily overpowers the subtle scents of more bashful bushes. Although these modest scents may add pleasant notes to the gardenia’s perfume, they can never be fully experienced in its shadow. They are better placed close to plants with similar scents to boost their appeal or close to plants with complementary perfumes, where their delicate notes can mingle in a complex bouquet.

Since scent is an essential ingredient in creating an atmosphere, choosing the right fragrant shrubs for your entertainment areas can turn simply enjoyable events into truly memorable occasions. But the wrong fragrance can have an adverse effect. For instance, a heady floral fragrance at the front door makes a lovely welcome for visitors but may prove unappetizing at an outdoor dinner party, when a subtle herbal, spicy, or fresh, fruity fragrance may be more palatable. And we may find uplifting and invigorating fragrances, like spice or citrus, create a more convivial atmosphere for daytime gatherings, while sensual and soothing scents that comfort and reduce anxiety, like musk and delicate florals, may enhance relaxing evenings spent lingering in the garden with family and friends.

Well-placed fragrant shrubs can take your outdoor spaces to the next level and boost your entertainment cachet.