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10 Tall Outdoor Plants for Landscaping

Mixing plants of varying sizes and textures is an easy way to add visual interest to any yard.

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Landscaping With Cannas Zerbor/Getty Images

Using Tall Outdoor Plants for Landscaping

Good landscape design mixes size and texture. Manicured rows of identical plants can look nice and are especially fitting for large properties, but they require lots of maintenance and easily become boring. So the typical residential garden­­ has a more informal, randomized design.

Incorporating short and tall outdoor plants for landscaping improves a yard’s appearance and prevents monotony. Here are some of the best tall plants to add to your home’s landscape.

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Canna Lily

Canna lilies are gorgeous, colorful summer bulbs. They come in many shades, from golden yellow to sunset pink, but these canna musifolia bulbs are a brilliant coral. This particular canna variety is known for its large, dramatic leaves. They’re deep green with red-tinted edges and eye-catching, exotic stripes.

Height: Six to eight feet.

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Pampas Grass

Tall grass plants easily add texture to your landscaping. Pampas grass in particular has distinctive fluffy plumes. This ornamental grass is a hard worker in the landscaping world, growing in four-foot-wide clumps that seamlessly fill bare spots. The popular white flowers bloom summer through winter and look stunning in an indoor vase.

Height: Eight feet.

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Often praised as a privacy plant, arborvitae’s evergreen foliage makes an elegant landscape addition in summer and winter. These tall, narrow shrubs are incredibly versatile. They can be lined up to create a living privacy screen, or placed among other plants in a landscape bed. They’ll even grow in containers.

Height: 12 to 15 feet.

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Smoke Tree

Smoke trees add a subtle touch of purple to your yard. These tall outdoor landscaping plants can grow to incredible heights, but with a little pruning, a smoke tree can be kept smaller and fuller like a bush. Wispy, pink seed clusters accent its plum foliage. This smoke tree’s leaves turn scarlet in the fall.

Height: 15 to 20 feet

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These tall flowering plants pack a colorful punch. Delphinium’s vertical flower spikes can be blue, purple, pink, red, white and even yellow. This delphinium seed mix includes blue, pink, white and purple.

Height: Five to six feet.

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Hollyhocks are colorful, tall flowering plants that bring a hint of country charm to any yard. These are the perfect tall outdoor plants for landscaping around a home with cottage or farmhouse inspired décor. These heirloom hollyhock seeds include pink and white varieties.

Height: Five to six feet.

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Joe Pye Weed 2ndLookGraphics/Getty Images

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed is the perfect addition to a native prairie garden. It’s pretty, easy to grow, and attracts butterflies. This tall outdoor plant is ideal for landscaping in full sun. Delicate clusters of mauve flowers bloom in the fall.

Height: Six feet.

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‘Sky Pencil’ Japanese Holly

“Sky pencil” Japanese holly is another tall, narrow landscaping shrub. This striking plant features glossy oval leaves and branches that point straight up, like pencils. This tall outdoor plant’s white flowers make it stand out among other evergreens.

Height: Eight feet.

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This fragrant, pollinator-friendly landscaping plant has magnificent burgundy foliage, and its dainty white and pink flower clusters only enhance its coloring. Although beautiful, the diabolo ninebark is not a fussy plant. It’s surprisingly drought-tolerant and cold hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3.

Height: Five to nine feet.

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Hydrangeas are popular due to their enormous globe-shaped blooms and their wide array of colors. These tall flowering plants can be white (as shown above) or green, as well as any shade between blue and pink. This smooth hydrangea features white flowers that turn green.

Height: Four to five feet.

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Mikayla Borchert
Mikayla is an assistant editor for Family Handyman, specializing in indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. She has one cat and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she likes running, skiing, hiking and tending her balcony garden.