evergreen suggestion for East TN
Hello - I'm in East TN (zone 6b/7a) and am thinking of replanting at the front of my porch with some kind of nice low maintenance, long lived shrub. I'm a total blank and am a bit worn out from previous choices that didn't work out so well. This will be a southeast exposure in front of an old farm house with front porch that has a railing that tops out at about 5' from ground level. If a dense shrub, I'd like it to be at or under the 5'height, and at each corner I'm thinking a small tree with nice bark that wouldn't take forever to grow. I've used crape myrtle quite a lot already on the property so might like something different - or just another shrub and then set trees out further in the yard. The total length of the porch is 40' with steps in the center about 3' wide. I'm tired of several years of trial and error with a lot of error. Would like something I could get in there and not have to replant - getting too old for that. Would like evergreen, but actually doesn't just have to be - more important is that it look healthy during the growing season. Doesn't have to be showy - I'm past wanting the lush fragrant roses - I want something easy that will stand up to our heat and humidity. Plus, my soil is alkaline and I am surrounded by cedar trees - found out the hard way that rules out serviceberry.
Thanks in advance!