An Unsolicited Opinion on Boxwoods: A Shrub Rant

Palestine Realtor Opinion on Boxwoods

Boxwoods are a common landscaping shrub and can be found in almost every neighborhood (and probably every street) in Palestine. You may not know what a boxwood is off the top of your head, but you’ll recognize it in the pics, I promise!

Image: ian munroe via Flickr

These low-cut boxwoods are typical of the landscaping style in Palestine, Texas.  I bet you recognize them now!      😉         Image: ian munroe via Flickr

Oh…boxwoods…I have a love-hate relationship with them.  Don’t get me wrong…I am not a complete boxwood hater. Well, maybe I am. The photo above is a great use of boxwoods–they are clean and crisply manicured and they definitely add interest to the landscaping.  I like boxwoods when they are not the ONLY landscaping in a yard and when they are mixed in with other (preferably blooming) shrubs.  However, boxwoods can also date a house, especially when it is the only shrubbery in sight.  This is a prime example of the dating effect that boxwoods can have (the green shutters don’t help either, but that’s another post 😉 ):

This is the house that inspired this post--check out those Boxwoods...they are dating the house.

This is the house and the boxwoods that inspired this post–check out those Boxwoods…they are dating the house.  This could be a photo from 1984, seriously.  The yard screams “Please plant some azaleas!”  I’m not saying they need to go (..or maybe I am! haha!) They need to be cut back way more and another plant (or several) needs to be added for some color and variation.

Boxwoods also will grow into wild shapes when left untrimmed:

Insanely overgrown boxwood gets a fresh new makeover! BYE BYE BOXWOOD! *high five*   Image: Shelley Smith

Boxwoods will take over if you let them, turning into strange tree-like super shrubs.  Check out this Insanely overgrown boxwood and its fresh new makeover!  BYE BYE BOXWOOD! *high five*
Image: Shelley Smith

Another lesser known tidbit is that certain types of boxwood can leave an odor that is easily mistaken for cat spray, which is not the first impression you want to give when someone walks up to your house for the first time (especially if you are trying to sell it…yikes!)  I’m willing to bet that many a cat has been blamed for spraying, when in fact, it was the boxwood by the front door that did the “spraying!” The poor, poor kitties!

Image By one2c900d via Flickr

This is a great example of mixing in boxwoods with other shrubbery with a fantastic result!  There are boxwoods, but they are not the center focus! They are complimenting the other shrubs and plants! Fantastic use of planting!                                                   Image By one2c900d via Flickr

A mixture of boxwoods (on the left) with other more dramatic plants!

A mixture of boxwoods (on the left) with other more dramatic plants! (I have no idea what the other plants are called, but they look like pompons, so I’m going to call them that!)

I am not a professional landscaper, but I do know what looks good and what sells houses and I’ve never had a single client tell me “I will only buy a house with boxwoods!!!!”  I have had requests for pecan trees, azaleas, camellias and dogwoods, but not once has anyone ever swooned over a boxwood. And they never will…because it’s a boxwood.  There is nothing wrong with boxwoods as a plant species, only in the way they are so blandly used.  Make the neighbors (and more importantly, yourself!) swoon–make sure that you are mixing it up and not relying on a strict boxwood diet in your yard.

Lisa E. Priest is an unwitting shrub activist and local REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or email or at

3 thoughts on “An Unsolicited Opinion on Boxwoods: A Shrub Rant

  1. I’m asking you kindly to cease and desist this assault on the Boxwood. If not, you’ll be hearing from our lawyers from Evergreen, Holly and Juniper LLP.

  2. Cheap & Free Holiday Decorating with East Tx Plants! | Buy, Sell, Lisa: Palestine, Texas REALTOR®

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