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Groundcover Landscaping Secrets Revealed

In this day and age your spare time has become very valuable. Wouldn't you would much rather spend your weekends doing something enjoyable instead of taking care of your lawn? Especially if mowing your lawn means taking a ride on the wild side and mowing on dangerous slopes and hills?

By using carefully selected groundcovers you can both eliminate the parts of your lawn that present a hazard to you or your family members while mowing the lawn, and you can cut down on the size of the lawn that needs to be mowed every week. This means that your yard work will be done quicker thus giving you more time to do what you really want to do.

Groundcover in shady areas

Are you struggling to grow grass in areas where it simply does not want to grow? Grass does not like to grow in shady areas, especially on the north side of nearby buildings. Instead of wasting your time re-seeding and watering your lawn, and then mowing over the area when it is not even high enough to cut why not try replacing the grass with some shade loving groundcover, shrubs, perennials, or wild flowers.

If you decide to go ahead and replace that non-grass growing area with some of the materieals listed. Here is a short list of recommended palnts that will not only grow well but keep maintenance down to a minimum.

  • Dwarf Rhododendrons
  • Ferns
  • Hostas
  • Creeping Flox
  • Dwarf Chinese Astilbes

All of these will grow all year long, look pretty and require very little care.

Using Groundcover to Replace Your Lawn

If you have a big yard then you spend a lot of time mowing. You can use groundcover to replace part of that lawn and make your mowing easier (have a lot of trees to mow around) and less dangerous. (If you have to mow on slopes or steep hills) Let's take a look at some of the advantages of using a good groundcover in place of your lawn:

  • Once filled in ground cover will crowd out most weeds
  • Fallen tree leaves usually require no removal as they will soft to the ground through the ground cover and act like a natural mulch.
  • Once ground cover is established it will require only occasional maintenance if any.
  • Mowing a lawn where trees and shrubs are planted in an island formation is easier than mowing a lawn in an open lawn landscape, because bumpy roots and overhanging branches don't become obstacles to your mowing. You also won't risk injuring those roots with your mower.
  • Most groundcovers are very attractive landscape plants in their own right; they can add beautiful foliage, and texture to your backyard.

You must reach a happy medium when deciding on a ground cover to use to meet your needs for a safer and quicker lawn care experience and remeber that nothing is perfect. The best ground covers spread rapidly and shade out weeds. These ground covers need discipline to stay put. Beat them back from time to time to show them who's boss. Regardless of how strict you need to be here, it is still much better than dealing with more lawn.

Best Ground Cover to Use For Your Lawn

While keeping the theme of this article in mind, which is to help you reduce your lawn care time I'm going to make a suggestion on what I think are the best groundcovers to use for any purpose. Using any one of these three picks will give you the best care-free results.

  1. pachysandra
  2. English Ivy
  3. periwinkle (personal favorite)

That's it....no more...no less

Others might say these picks are boring and really don't give them enough credit. I really like them because when used they will work for you and not against you. That's a huge plus in my mind. These three are by far the most common and as a group are probably planted more often than all of the other varieties of grouncover combined.

Let's quickly go over the best benefits of using these grounds covers.

  • Price- These three are relatively cheap when compared to other varieties
  • They fill in quickly
  • Provide dark green foliage throughout the year

Here's a quick description of each one;

  • Pachysandra - Whirls of green foliage and short peaks of creamy white flowers Grows much taller than Periwinkle (up to 8-12 inches)
  • English Ivy - Dark green three pointed leaves provide a sturdy and lively look (Can be a bit testy and maybe even a pest if not trimmed back from time to time)
  • Periwinkle - Tidy leaves with small blue flowers (Slowest of the 3 to get established but as mentioned before is my personal favorite)

Ground Covers to Avoid at All Costs

Be very cautious about buying ground covers you know little about. While all groundcovers will spread and initially do the job they are intended to do, some of them can actually create more work for you. That's what we are trying to eliminate- right?

It's actually kind of funny but you may actully find that some groundcovers are actully listed as weeds in popular gardening publications. It's fine if you want to search through catalogs looking for possible alternative ground covers to the three I listed but make sure you do your homework and know what you are getting into before you spend your money.

Here is a list of ground cover to avoid at all costs.

  • Goutweed, or Bishop's weed
  • dwarf bamboo
  • crown vetch
  • dichondra
  • mock strawberry, Indian strawberry
  • ground ivy
  • Hall's Japanese Honeysuckle
  • moneywart, creeping jennie
  • Virginia creeper
  • ribbon grass
  • Japanese knotweed, Mexican bamboo
  • creeping buttercup
  • wooley speedwell
  • violets

That's it.....

I hope this help you out with you groundcover questions a little. There is a lot more to it than that but this will get you headed in the right direction.


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