With all the of the activities during the summer months it can be hard to find the time to dedicate to yard maintenance. Luckily there many low maintenance options available for yards and lawns. Often when people think of low maintenance landscaping options they think of hardscaping – things like retaining walls, decorative gravel, and pavers. However, there are low maintenance options for your lawn that will retain an organic look while still requiring minimal effort. One of the best of these options are ground cover plants. Ground cover plants are basically any plant that grows over an area.
Why Use Ground Cover Plants
Ground cover plants are a great way to enhance your yard. Not only can you replace grass with ground cover plants for a unique look, but they also have a variety of benefits for your lawn. First of all, because their strong root system is spread over a large area these plants help prevent soil erosion. Preventing the top soil from washing away helps your soil retain nutrients that are essential to a healthy lawn. Ground cover plants also protect lawns from drought, this ensures that you don’t have to spend as much time or water making sure your lawn doesn’t get brown in the dryer hotter seasons.
Greenery and Flowers
There are two main types of ground cover plants, those that stay green year-round and those that flower. Many of the plantings classified as greenery prefer partial or full shade and moist rich soil. European Wild Ginger is a great example of this type of plant. In addition, European Wild Ginger has glossy evergreen leaves, so they’ll stay green year-round, and it’s even resistant to pests! Pachysandra is another green ground cover plant that grows great in shade, though it can resist direct sunlight if taken care of very well. Pachysandra has dark green leathery leaves and when well maintained will sprout small white fragrant flowers in the spring. Don’t forget Pachysandra is one of the lowest maintenance ground cover plants available, so if you don’t have much time for your yard, this is your choice!
Ground cover plants that flower include many plants, the plants you choose for your lawn will depend greatly on what works best for the look you have in mind. Flower colors vary from plant to plant including red, orange, yellow, purple, and white. Lamb’s Ear, for example, has soft velvety evergreen leaves that have an eye-catching silver sheen to them. When in bloom Lamb’s Ear produces velvet flowers in the late spring. Like many flowering ground cover plants, Lamb’s ear should be planted either in full sun or partial shade. Golden Creeping Jenny is another ground cover plant that likes either full sun or partial shade and produces beautiful flowers. Its fast growth ensures that it will cover a large area quickly. Golden Creeping Jenny’s leaves tend to be buttery yellow in color and its late spring/summer flowers are bright yellow. Another great colorful addition to consider for your yard is Creeping Thyme. Creeping Thyme is a low growing ground cover that is an excellent option for replacing grass. It produces many small purple flowers that produce a minty aroma creating a very soothing atmosphere for you and your guests to relax in.
Caring for Ground Cover Plants
Because ground cover plants are generally low maintenance, care tends to be minimal. One of the most important considerations to keep in mind is where you’re planning on planting, as some ground cover plants require a lot of shade, while others don’t. Since ground cover plants are resistant to drought they only need to be watered when the soil is significantly dry, though there are some ground cover plants that require a little more watering so be sure to note that before choosing your ground cover plants. Aside from placement and watering, occasionally checking to see if there are weeds growing around your ground covers is a good idea, particularly in the driest parts of the year when plants are competing for moisture.
Ready to add some ground cover plants to your yard, or even replace your grass with something a bit more eye-catching? Give us a call at (636) 688-6647, we’d love to discuss your landscape design ideas with you.