Laurel is the quickest growing evergreen shrub, so if you don't want a conifer hedge, Laurel is the quickest and cheapest way of creating an evergreen garden hedge. Laurels will also provide the most instant hedging as the taller sizes (4ft, 5ft and 6ft) are bushy and can often create an instant screen if planted close enough.
Cottinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (Smoke Bush)... considered a tree but I grow it as a shrub, whacking it back hard each spring to keep the height lower and make it bush out. easily grows 7-8' tall in a season. glows purple with the sun behind it.
*Boxwood 'Dee Runk' is reportedly the nicest of the columnar boxwoods tolerating shade and clay soils. Total height of 8-10 ft tall can be sheared shorter. Max width about two feet. Advantage over other upright boxwoods is dense growth that won't flop open. Will fit nicely next to the porch stairs and in the corner by the garage. Because of their modest size they are Perrrrrfect for around the front of the house too!!! More awwwwwwwwwesome curb appeal!!