Have you ever considered that garden groundcovers parallel nicely to home floor covering? In the home, we’ve got our hardwoods, linoleum, tile and carpet. Each of these materials adds aesthetic value and serves a different purpose, depending on the room where it’s used. Similarly, groundcovers may be deciduous or evergreen, broadleaf or needle-bearing, prized for its flowers or loved for its foliage. Depending on these attributes, a groundcover may work to meet specific landscape challenges or simply offer an additional dimension to the overall design.


Lily-of-the-valley makes an attractive groundcover option.

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the International Flower Bulb Centre

Hedera helix

Hedera helix is an old ivy groundcover standby.

Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Many gardeners select groundcovers as a turf alternative. The plants are ideal for areas that are difficult to mow, such as steep banks or raised planters, and they often thrive in spots where it seems impossible to grow grass. Many environmentally aware gardeners prefer to use groundcovers in typical lawn areas to reduce the routine mowing and watering requirements otherwise needed.

Most groundcovers are low-growing perennials, though many annuals are suitable as well. Over time, groundcovers spread to form a solid mass of plant material. They tend to be low-maintenance, requiring minimal water and fertilizer after establishment. A dense canopy of leaves inhibits weed growth, further reducing common garden maintenance. Most are slow-growing and require little pruning.

Groundcovers are a diverse group of plants that can add formal lines or whimsical flair to the landscape. Selecting the right plant for your site and style will lead to garden success and satisfaction.