Plants are an important part of any landscape design. Ground covers play a significant role in protecting the soil and enhancing the overall appearance of a yard or park. Some varieties of low-maintenance ground covers grow quickly and require little attention. The best type of ground cover for your yard depends on your sunlight and soil conditions.
While grass is the most common type of ground cover in the landscape, it fails to impart colorful interest to an area. Flowering ground covers can be the answer to bland areas of the landscape. Creeping phlox, also called moss pink, is a flowering ground cover that spreads quickly and forms pink, purple and white blossoms in the springtime. It thrives in planting zones 3 through 8 and prefers full sun and dry soils. Phlox requires minimal maintenance; dividing the roots every other year will provide new growth for planting in other areas or filling in bare patches of soil. Additional flowering ground covers that require little maintenance include star jasmine and lantana.
Evergreen ground covers provide green color to your yard all year long. These plants can help enhance and warm up a cold winter landscape. Pachysandra is a quick-growing, low-maintenance evergreen that tolerates a variety of soil conditions, but prefers rich, well-drained mediums. It does best in areas with some shade, especially in the heat of the afternoon. Additional evergreen ground covers include creeping juniper and English ivy.
Vinca is a fast-growing evergreen that provides blue blossoms in the late spring and green foliage throughout the winter. Also called periwinkle, vinca is a cold-hardy ground cover that thrives in shaded to partially shaded locations, making it suitable for planting under trees and near structures.
Moss is one type of ground cover that thrives in damp soil. Fern moss forms a carpet of green very quickly. It rarely grows over an inch tall, and is one of the best plants for growing between stepping-stones and along the edges of water gardens and fountains. It prefers cool, shaded areas, but it will tolerate occasional sunshine. Additional ground covers that grow in shady locations include ajuga, false rockcress and Adriatic bluebells.
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