Types of Ground Cover

Types of Ground Cover
Types of Ground Cover (Image: Photos by MJ Knoblock)

Ground cover enhances a yard, preventing erosion and creating a decorative landscape. Certain types work better in hot and sunny climates and others in wet, shady areas. Some require little maintenance, while others need much attention to keep them healthy and attractive.

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Grass is the most common ground cover for landscaping. It is soft to the feet and appealing to the eye, and light, water and regular maintenance are necessary for it to survive.


Ivy is an easy alternative to grass for shady areas. Its green color gives it a natural appearance, but if not trimmed back occasionally it is susceptible to overgrowth.

Use ivy in shady areas
Use ivy in shady areas


Rocks and pebbles are practical ground cover for areas that cannot sustain grass and plants, and they come in a variety of sizes and colors. Spread over soil to help with drainage, raking when needed to maintain even distribution.


Plants that feature greenery and flowers, and spread horizontally are an alternative ground covering; particularly efficient are plants that stay relatively low to the ground and are pleasant to look at, like liriope and phlox.

Liriope is a flowering alternative to grass
Liriope is a flowering alternative to grass


Herbs are good for more than spicing up a meal. Thyme that creeps and flowerless chamomile are two varieties that simulate grass in a sunny site with good drainage and little care.


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