Many people are looking for “no-maintenance” landscapes. They are just not a reality.
I have seen some flower beds and yards where there has been no maintenance and they don’t look very appealing.
There are, however, low- or lower-maintenance concepts that can be implemented that can look quite nice, conserve valuable resources during this period of drought, and can be helpful for those who don’t have the time or the physical stamina to do a lot of yard work.
Ground covers have a great many uses, including for bare or shady areas, for pathways, to reduce erosion on slopes and hard-to-mow areas, for borders, accents and a filling for crevices. There are varying types of ground covers so you need to decide:
- Whether it will be used in shade or full sun.
- What height you want it to grow.
- Do you want something evergreen or perennial?
- Do you want something flowering?
- Do you want quick-spreading or slow growth?
- Does it grow in moist or dry soil?
- Is it toxic? (A concern if you have pets or children.)
- Does it need to be durable for foot traffic?
Another important thing you want to know before purchasing ground cover is there are a few types, many sold and commonly used, that are considered invasive. Although they may look fine and do the job you want, they can become more of a hassle to handle and maintain in the long run.
Do your homework, or go to a nursery and ask and expert who knows which ones will meet your needs. For the Central Texas area, the following are some ground cover options that are either native or adapted and not considered invasive:
- Texas frogfruit
- Straggler daisy
- Creeping thymes
- Cedar sage
- Silver ponysfoot
- Wild blue phlox
- Downy phlox
- Dakota mock vervain
- Trailing Rosemary
- Gregg Dalea
- Cherokee/Meadow/Texas Sedge
- Sedum Stonecrop
- Missouri Violet
- Wooly Stemodia.
Now is a great time to get started planting ground cover so it will be established before hot temperatures arrive.
Darla Horner Menking is a Texas Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org