When it comes to groundcovers, many of us picture a large, dependable green blanket that covers a large bare patch of ground. Serviceable? Yes. Exciting? Not always. There are times you want a groundcover to serve a specific function, like to prevent erosion on a slope or provide defensible space for fire resistance. But groundcovers can also be combined to add more visual interest to empty spaces. The wonderful thing about them is that there are so many types – like mosses, ice plants, sedums, or gazanias. Varieties with similar growing conditions can be mixed and matched. Think of a quilt, not a blanket.
Here at Evergreen Nursery we have a large selection of groundcovers both green and flowering, allowing endless combinations and patterns for a low-growing landscape. A groundcover garden is a great way to create a natural border, fill in bare spots near trees or soften the edges of a grass lawn. Here are a few tips for laying out a mixed groundcover garden that’s both functional and visually appealing:
Add Interest with Asymmetry
If space allows, create an irregular border for your garden for an informal look. Lay out a garden hose or length of rope to help you plan the border of your groundcover garden. If you’d like to confine the edges to keep plants from spreading into other areas of your garden, create a barrier with a garden edging material of your choice.
When placing each type of groundcover plant, try to avoid the brain’s tendency to put things in a neat order. One trick to getting a more natural look is to toss a few stones into the prepared bed and let them land where they may. Plant one variety of groundcover plants where they land, then fill in the gaps with other varieties.
Vary Green and Flowering Types
For a nice balance of textures and colors, choose green groundcovers like English Ivy, Mondo Grass, and Green Carpet. Different leaf types help with contrast, and other non-flowering types with varying leaf colors like Blue Fescue or Dragon’s Blood Sedum will also add contrast. Mix in flowering types like Trailing Gazania, Ivy Geranium, and Trailing Rosemary. Plants with different flowering times will help keep year-round interest in your garden.
Use Trailing and Clumping Varieties
Clumping type groundcovers form mounds that create focal points in your garden, while trailing types will spread and fill in space to connect the dots. Choose clumping varieties like Sea Pink, Mondo Grass and Clumping Gazania, and combine with trailing varieties like Purple Productus Ice Plant, Star Jasmine, and Periwinkle.
Mix Ground Hugging and Taller Groundcovers
Some groundcovers like Dymondia and Scotch Moss form a nice low, dense mat. Others like Lantana, Verbena, and Trailing Rosemary grow taller and shrubbier. A mix of varying heights will create layers and depth. Even a low-growing garden will benefit visually from a multilayered arrangement.
If you’ve got an empty spot in the garden to fill in or want to break up a large area of lawn, consider getting creative with a groundcover garden. For more information on groundcover types, check out our Flipbook, Groundcovers.