To curb expenses and be more water-wise in landscaping choices, many homeowners are looking for alternatives to grass lawns. Here at Evergreen Nursery, we have a variety of perennial green groundcovers to choose as an alternative to grass. They can help you save money and water and are less labor intensive than traditional grass lawns.
Foot Traffic Friendly
Most groundcovers are utilized in landscape areas away from heavy traffic or in conjunction with stones or pavers to create walking areas. There are a few varieties that will take a light to moderate amount of foot traffic. Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata 'Aurea’), Irish Moss (Sagina subulata) and Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) all form soft carpets that can tolerate light traffic. Other choices like Dymondia (Dymondia margaretae), Moneywort (Lysimachia spp.), and Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) can take light to moderate traffic. A few varieties like Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma/Pratia) and Green Carpet (Herniaria glabra) can withstand a moderate amount of traffic.
Stability for Slopes
Not only are groundcovers lower maintenance on slopes, they help control soil erosion from heavy winter rains. They also reduce flooding by providing a buffer against sudden downpours. Groundcovers with deeper root systems like Myoporum (Myoporum parvifolium) and Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus offincinalis 'Prostratus') are great for helping prevent erosion on hillsides. They are even more effective when planted among larger shrubs and trees with deep roots. Infrequent, deep watering will help to ensure a good foundation of roots.
A Match for Mulch
Although mulch is another excellent groundcover, in some cases green groundcovers offer a few advantages. In urban areas and elsewhere, green groundcovers act as an air purifier by filtering air and converting CO2 into oxygen. They also reduce noise pollution by acting as a muffler, in the same way carpeting quiets down a noisy room. Like mulch, a good layer of green groundcover will also help guard against weeds. Dragon’s Blood Sedum (Sedum spurium) and Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma/Pratia) are good choices for forming thick carpets of air purifying, weed smothering greenery. Mulch is useful in between new groundcover plantings while they get established. It will also help with moisture retention and inhibit weed growth.
Beating the Heat
Although rocks and gravel are another alternative to grass lawns, they are hot and tend to increase the temperature in your yard. On the other hand, green groundcovers can reduce the ambient temperature up to 10 degrees. Green groundcovers also allow soils to retain more moisture, reducing overall water usage. Many groundcover plants are water-wise and drought tolerant once established. Some have a higher moisture content and are fire resistant. To get a few ideas for groundcover plants and shrubs suitable for fire defensible space, check out our flip book, Fire Resistant Plants.
Need More Convincing?
Choices for green groundcover plants are so plentiful, there’s something for every situation and preference. Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata 'Aurea’) and English Ivy (Hedera helix) are great choices if you’re aiming for a calming green color scheme. For more color variety, Ice Plant (Lampranthus productus), Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis), and Trailing Gazania (Gazania rigens) provide pops of color among gray-green to green foliage. Edible varieties like Creeping Thyme (Thymus citriodora) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus offincinalis 'Prostratus') planted in low traffic areas add an extra element of usefulness in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking for something to fill the gaps between plants, replace an existing lawn or add some interest to your landscaping, our experts at Evergreen can help you cover as much ground as you desire!