Ground covers offer an attractive alternative to turf grass in many locations around the yard. Heavily shaded areas and slopes that are difficult or dangerous to mow are generally better planted with ground covers than grass. Ground covers are low-growing leafy, grassy or flowering plants that exhibit a naturally-spreading growth pattern. A wide variety of ground covers is available from local garden centers.
Leafy and flowering ground covers can be effectively used to fill barren patches of heavily-shaded lawn or garden with lush greenery and color. Vertical slopes that are too steep to mow safely can be successfully planted with close-growing ground covers, which will provide the root structure needed to stabilize the slope and prevent erosion while creating an attractive green carpet that will enhance the appearance of your yard.
Other Options for Ground Covers
Gardeners most often consider ground covers when they are trying to fill shady areas, but low-growing decorative grasses and thin-bladed flowering ground covers are excellent choices for covering large garden areas in front of shrubbery or for creating a uniform backdrop to set off taller perennials.
Some of the more popular ground covers are:
- Vinca and Periwinkle are popular choices under shade trees and on slopes. Periwinkle’s shiny evergreen leaves blanket the ground year-round, blooming with blue flowers from spring to fall.
- English Ivy (Hedera) covers the ground with lush green leaves. This evergreen can be quite invasive and is a fast climber. Trim it back periodically and prevent it from climbing trees and bricks.
- Liriope, commonly called Lilyturf, is a variegated bladed plant that is prized for its beautiful foliage.