sugg. for dwarf hedge/bushes?

Hi all,
Zone 5 Chicago. I'm redoing my sis-in-law's entire front yard. Drought killed off all the grass in the front last year. She wants a very compact mini-hedge on both sides of the walk leading from the sidewalk to the front steps. I'd say ~20 ft. or so in length. I'll be putting sod in next week and would like to put in the mini-hedge/series of dwarf bushes at that time. I'm thinking variegated Euonymus, mini-barberry (looks nice changing colors). I've seen dwarf lilac, but that may be too large. An evergreen perhaps, like a golden globe arborvitae? I'd like to keep them relatively short, like 12". She's put all faith in me on this! Suggestions, please?
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I think the Emerald Gaiety Euonymus is a very good choice, but does get a little larger if given lots of sun. It is easily kept compact with pruning. It seems very hardy and always looks nice. They really do have a nice look and have leaves all the way to the ground when pruned a little. They are also very inexpensive for the smaller plants at the Home Depot, etc.. Some of the other Euonymus are a little large for what you want. There are some Euonymus that are more of a ground cover, the Kewensis is one. They are marketed under the brand name of Steppables in garden centers nationwide. They would be more of a ground cover than a mini-hedge, but would be very low maintenance.
I also like the Winter Gem boxwood. It stays a little more compact, can also be pruned back once established. They are also very inexpensive at the HD. They are hardy once established, but do not like winter wind at all!! If you are going to have winter wind, I would not waste the money on them. My Euonymus do get winter wind burn, and have lost all of the leaves after heavy winter wind, but recover very quickly once the weather turns warm. My Winter Gem boxwood have died from a dry winter wind.
DP
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DP wrote:

Thanks for those great suggestions. The little hedge I'm proposing gets full sun and it's open and exposed to wind. Both plants look nice, and I think my sis-in-law would prefer the color of the Eu's. Does either keep their foliage overwinter? Boxwoods afaik turn a yellow, don't they?
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I'm also thinking maybe dwarf holly. (?)
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