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Three Ways To Use Perennial Groundcovers In Your Garden

Phlox and Daffodils

Three Ways To Use Perennial Groundcovers In Your Garden

Have you been searching for a way to fill in your garden bed, liven up your stone pathway, or naturally suppress weeds? The answer to all of these garden dilemmas is groundcovers!

Perennial groundcovers are not only a solution to a variety of problems in the garden, but also offer up spectacular color and food for pollinators in your area. Whether you're looking for a carpet of spring color to complement your favorite Daffodil bulbs, or want to fill in around the stepping-stones in your property with pollinator-friendly plants, there is sure to be a groundcover to fit your landscape.

1. Using Perennial Groundcovers: Filling In Between Stones

This is one of the most popular (and eye-catching) ways to use groundcovers in the landscape. Use perennial groundcovers to fill in gaps between stone walls, spread and spill in rock gardens, or most commonly, to plant in between stepping-stones. Over time, the groundcovers will fill in completely between the stones and create a soft, colorful touch to your walkway.

When deciding which varieties to use, make sure to take into account the sunlight, soil and water requirements for each plant. Most importantly, check to make sure the groundcover can tolerate some foot traffic. Creeping Thyme is one of best perennial groundcovers to use in between stepping-stones paths, as it's extremely forgiving and tolerates both pet and human traffic well.

If you're looking for plants to fill in rock gardens or stonewalls, sedum is a perfect choice. Sedum is a bit slow growing and takes several seasons to fill in. But it is extremely drought-friendly and requires little supplemental water, making it great for rock gardens or stonewalls.

2. Using Perennial Groundcovers: Create a No-Mow Lawn

For tough to reach areas, perennial groundcover can be an excellent, low maintenance alternative lawn solution. Plant on slopes, in shaded areas where grass won't grow well, or where you simply don't want to mow anymore. Create a low-growing meadowscape or tapestry lawn, and revel in its ease and beauty.

Sedum doesn’t require much supplemental water, making it a great choice for hard-to-reach or extremely sunny areas. 

Ajuga is another colorful groundcover that thrives in shady, moist areas. This quick-spreading groundcover will fast become the star of your shade garden. If you don't want it taking over your lawn, keep Ajuga contained in one area.

Lamium is another shade-loving groundcover that is happy when planted under deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees. It thrives in places where grass or other plants may struggle with little sunlight.

Creeping Phlox is a fantastic spring flowering-groundcover, often used to fill in between spring-blooming bulbs such as Tulips and Daffodils. The best part about phlox is it needs as little maintenance as the bulbs require.

3. Using Perennial Groundcovers: Plant a Living Mulch to Help Fight Weeds!

Although many are used to adding wood mulch or using good old-fashioned hand weeding to help fight weeds, what if instead you used living plants as mulch?

Lamium and Hosta in a shade garden
Shade-loving Lamium fills in this garden bed, leaving no room for weeds to grow.

The idea of living mulch is practiced and taught by many landscape designers, including Claudia West, who points out that in the wild you typically don’t see bare dirt. This is because plants fill in the ground level on their own. Perennial groundcovers are a great way to take this idea and put it to use in your own landscape.

Varieties such as Lamium, Ajuga, and Lily of the Valley are fantastic weed blockers.

Simply add them in between your flowering perennials and they'll work for you in two ways: by outcompeting weeds with their low growth, and by adding visual interest and color to your garden. 

Using Perennial Groundcovers: Your Creativity Is The Limit

No matter what type of garden you have, or what type of problem you’re trying to solve with groundcovers, your creativity is really the limit. We've seen groundcovers filling in old wheel barrows planted with dirt, Sedum used as living wreaths, and many perennial groundcovers used in container plantings. So get creative this season and fill in your gardens with hard-working groundcovers!

Sedum garden
We love this sedum garden!

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