As the warm hues of summer gradually turn to the crisp coolness of autumn, nature’s vibrant transformation unfolds before our eyes. During this enchanting season, the most captivating landscape designs include an array of shrubs with great fall color found in and around Barrington, IL.

While deciduous trees steal the spotlight with their fiery leaves, shrubs are important in adorning our landscapes with brilliant autumnal colors. Let’s explore five remarkable shrubs that boast an exquisite fall color. 

Oakleaf Hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia)

The Oakleaf Hydrangea is the only plant in its genus that offers vibrant fall foliage colors. This shrub-style plant grows to heights ranging from four to six feet. They are perfect for use in borders. The rich, deep burgundy and purple foliage retain its covering of magnificent leaves well into November and December, when most deciduous plants have lost their leaves. Oakleaf Hydrangea makes quite a beautiful impression in the fall. Its dried flower heads’ tan or light-brown color adds dimension, and its peeling bark from the trees during winter presents a unique tan color and texture to the often white landscape.

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Winterberry plants are typically trouble-free, low-maintenance shrubs. These hardy plants grow slowly and eventually develop into dense, multi-stemmed shrubs ranging from 5 to 15 feet tall, although there are varieties that stay more compact in size.

Late in the fall, the Winterberry Holly sheds its small, dark green leaves, exposing stalks of vivid red or occasionally gold berries. This shrub is named Christmas Holly because its berry-adorned stems look festive in indoor and outdoor holiday décor. In order to produce the berries, female plants will need to be planted in proximity to male plants.

Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Ninebark is a deciduous flowering shrub widely used in landscaping. The name refers to its distinctive exfoliating bark, which gradually peels back in small layers as the bush’s branches develop. It does well during cold winters and dry periods without the need for pruning or deadheading. These shrubs grow 5-6 feet tall, but there are cultivars that stay smaller.

The leaves of the purple Ninebark varieties, such as Summer Wine®, are crimson-red, while the yellow-leafed varieties turn a vivid shade of chartreuse before falling to reveal the shrub’s peeling bark.

Panicled Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)

The Panicle Hydrangeas are one of few plants that truly stand out in the autumn yard. Panicle Hydrangea refers to the panicles of cone-shaped flowers that consistently bloom from July through September. At the ends of each branch are large, heavy flower heads covered with white florets. The flowers turn from white to a rose-pink as autumn approaches and eventually to brown for the winter. They are great for privacy shrubs and most cultivars grow 5-6 feet, but there are also smaller varieties available.  Limelight, Pinky Winky®, and Quick Fire® are popular cultivars.

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)

This shrub has yearly appeal because of its white spring flowers, stunning orange-red fall color, and winter berries. This shrub may be used for a rain garden, pond or stream edges, screening, woodland edges, bird gardens, or slope erosion control. 

Fruits from the Red Chokeberry can be used to make jams and jellies. Because there is so much pectin in jellies, they are thick, sweet, and firm. Berries stay on the bushes and add aesthetic value because birds typically avoid them. ‘Brilliantissima’ is a popular variety that grows to 6-8 feet.

Landscape Design in Barrington, IL

Entrusting your backyard beautification project to The NL Group can turn your dreams of a stunning outdoor haven into a reality. By harnessing our expertise in landscape design, we’ll elevate your backyard’s appeal to new heights, creating a space that blends nature’s beauty harmoniously with your vision. 

The NL Group, experts in landscape design located in Barrington, IL, will guide you in selecting the perfect plants to suit your space, soil, and aesthetic preferences.