regrowth of barberry

Our home was built about 15 yrs. ago. THe builder planted barberry in front of the foundation and azeleas in front of these. During the years these have grown to look overcrowded and trimming no longer helps much. One of the azeleas has died so I thought we could just take the remaining ones out and leave the barberry. But, of course, the barberries have no green on the lower portion of the shrub (shurb is about 4' high). Can we either 1) cut them down to about 2 feet and would the barberries regrow to their current 4'; or, 2) just leave them and would new growth of leaves grow on the lower portion of the shrub? I don't believe the azeleas would fill in enough to get close enough to the foundation to look correct. Therefore, they must be the ones to go. We live in zone 7 Thanks, Liz
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