Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus (False Holly)
This is one evergreen shrub that looks great all year round. No leaf spot, no diseases or weird pests, no old brown leaves - just glossy, thick leaves that start out light green and darken to a beautiful holly-like blue green.
The Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus is very easy to grow and seems to be happy in any location. We have one planted on the east, west, and north sides of buildings and all seem to be thriving. It wouldn't necessarily be our first choice for a hot spot against a south wall, but they do seem to acclimate to where they are placed and will even tolerate clay soil.
Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will be more drought tolerant in a shadier location, but our established ones are rudely ignored and haven't complained. A thick mulch layer will help any evergreen shrub - or any plant for that matter - retain moisture and withstand the changes in temperature. This variety of Osmanthus is hardy to Zone 6 and has shown no winter damage through Rogue Valley winters. Like most Osmanthus it produces small, white, fragrant flowers, typically in the fall.
Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will get about 4'x4', but can be pruned a bit tighter. It is not fast growing but puts on steady growth each year and won't overrun it's location. It is a great foundation plant or background for showier perennials. If the spines of Hollies are not your favorite this could be a good substitute since the rounded leaves only have slight spines - nothing to cause damage to the pruning gardener.
It can be deer resistant once established since it has thick, leathery leaves. But in heavy deer country it can have a hard time getting settled if the deer constantly eat the new growth. So cage it until it can get big enough to withstand the occasional deer browsing or test it out first - it seems to depend on the deer population on this one.