Because of their wide variety of sizes and shapes, Yews have many uses in the yard. Use them as foundation plantings around the house or as background to a flowerbed. Their dark, almost black foliage sets off plantings of bulbs and flowers beautifully.
Some types of Yews make handsome specimen trees, and others make great hedges or even groundcovers to discourage soil erosion on slopes. Dwarf types are ideal for rock gardens. Yews also can be pruned as topiary or trained as espalier to decorate the landscape. Japanese Yews are known for their ability to resist dust and air pollution and are ideal for urban sites.
Yews are excellent for yards designed to attract wildlife. With their dense evergreen foliage, Yews provide summer nesting sites, escape cover, and winter shelter for many birds. The colorful red berries are popular with deer as well as birds such as robins and thrushes.
Many evergreens including Yew are perfect for creating contrast in the winter landscape. Other yard plantings look dreary and dead this time of year, but this effect can be mitigated by the vibrant dark green textures of Yews and other evergreen shrubs. Yew hedges make effective windbreaks. The persistent, colorful berries are an added bonus. Many Yews have handsome reddish-brown bark as well.