Ground Cover – Types and Uses

The Wikipedia definition of Ground Cover is:

Groundcover refers to any plant that grows over an area of ground, used to provide protection from erosion and drought, and to improve its aesthetic appearance (by concealing bare earth).

Typically, ground cover is grass. But the term can be used for anything that lies on top of the soil and prevents weed growth and erosion.  There may be areas of your garden where you need coverage but would like to use something other than grass. Here we will give you some ideas.

Many people choose mulch, with good reason. It is inexpensive and fairly long-lasting, especially the treated red mulch.  Mulch made from wood (usually cypress) will need replaced once or twice per year; rubber mulch can last for several years.

But let’s talk about some ground cover that is more visually appealing and has a bit more character than plain old mulch or turfgrass. There are many different types of vines that work well as ground covers with minimal maintenance and a nice green look. One of these is called Vinca Major, pictured here.  Another very pretty flowering vine that gives good coverage especially on a slope is called Creeping Phlox.






Another less common ground cover that can have a neat look and might be just right for your garden or yard is moss. There are many different types of mosses and you have to do some research to find out which will thrive with your climate and weather conditions. Some mosses require more sun, shade, or hydration than others. This picture below shows Irish Moss also called Scotch Moss. As you see it works really well with these flagstones.







You can also consider using shrubs for ground cover. Some of them are low-lying, spreading well to cover the ground and requiring low maintenance. There are a few dozen types of shrubs that work well as ground cover. Flowering Quince and Dwarf Honeysuckle are just a couple of examples. The honeysuckle is pictured below.






Other types of attractive ground cover include ornamental grasses and herbaceous plants.  When choosing ground cover you have to consider the amount of sun, shade and hydration that the area will receive and the level of maintenance that you are able to provide. If you would like help choosing good ground cover for your home, speak to your landscaping professional. They can make knowledgeable recommendations based on your particular property.