Strangely enough, when someone buys a shrub, their first question is often: “When do I prune it?” But that’s not the right question to ask. Instead, you should be asking, “Do I need to prune it?” And if the answer is yes, simply buy something else! Life is too short to waste it pruning shrubs on a regular basis!
The truth is that only a tiny number of shrubs really need annual pruning … and most of those are bush roses (hybrid teas and their friends). The long-held belief that pruning improves blooming is largely a myth: the shrubs that bloom the most heavily and spectacularly are usually those who have either not been pruned at all or only very rarely, usually just to remove dead or broken branches as well as any suckers arising from the soil.
True enough, many shrubs do age badly, filling up with dead branches over time, but that only requires a correction every 10 years or so: just rejuvenate most non-coniferous shrubs by cutting them practically to the ground and they’ll grow right back, healthier than ever.
So, if you want a low-maintenance yard, pull up your lawn (very high maintenance!) and put in shrubs instead. It will make your gardening life so much easier!