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Consider Ground Cover Plants

Create a fabulous, low maintenance garden display with ground cover plants!

Some gardeners enjoy spending every spare moment tending their gardens, but these are probably in the minority – while we all want a lovely garden, our busy schedules often don’t allow us the luxury of spending hours each day maintaining, watering, weeding and pruning to keep up that lovely view.

Dracaena Deremensis

In addition, providing our gardens with adequate water can be an issue during droughts. If you’re getting older and have physical limitations, such as arthritis, all that bending and kneeling may prevent you from indulging in your favorite activity to the extent you’d like.

So, is there a solution? Can you “have your cake and eat it” too? Yes indeed. More and more gardeners are turning to ground cover plants as a practical way to enjoy a beautiful, colorful garden that doesn’t require lots of time to maintain.

Here, we’ve got some landscaping tips you’ll find tempting.

Your choices in ground cover plants number in the thousands, available in almost every color of the rainbow, in a vast array of textures and heights, with which you can create a varied landscape of which you can be proud, while conserving water and your valuable time.

Low, ground-hugging plants which will withstand foot traffic are ideal for use in high traffic areas, such as pathways. For example, creeping thyme, catnip and sweet woodruff make excellent ground cover plants between stepping stones, which comes with the bonus of releasing a lovely fragrance when stepped on.


These plants also spread quickly and do double duty in keeping the weeds down. Need more convincing of their value in your garden? Their dense habit also keeps your watering chores – and water bill – in line.

To make the most of the low-maintenance aspect, the fact that many are perennial makes landscaping with ground cover plants even more inviting. Interplanting with bulbs adds yet another festive seasonal note to your garden display.

When the bulbs are spent, they virtually disappear until next year, leaving your landscape with a changing display that remains attractive throughout the year, with very little effort on your part.

These versatile plants can be used to cover large swaths of ground, and are especially attractive when planted in interlocking patterns of different colors, textures and heights.

With careful planning, you can have an ever-changing, attractive display that sees you through all of the seasons, again, with but little effort on your part.

So where do you begin your design? A good book on ground cover plants and a trip to your nursery is the place to start. Choose plants that are hardy in your growing zone.

Mapping out your garden on paper or with computer software allows you to get a sneak preview of color and height combinations before you ever purchase a plant. The key to an effective ground cover planting is all in the planning.

Once you start planting, you’re on the road to a low maintenance, lovely garden you’ve got time to sit back and enjoy!


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  • Clive Doubell 03 Feb 2012, 21:21

    Hi – I just wondered if I could have a reference to “a good book on ground cover plants” please. Or perhaps a link to a web-site where I could learn about specific plants and how they look. I live in the Northwest “Cradle of Humankind” area. Many thanks. Clive

    • Mincoza 23 Jul 2012, 21:43

      Hi Clive,
      Did some research and there are quite a few books available at Kalahari.com and Loot.co.za. Just search for “ground cover plants”.

      To see how a plant looks just “Google” it and you will find plenty images. Hope it helps?


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