The Many Uses of Ground Covers
A grassy lawn is a beautiful thing, giving you and your family a fair, open space to enjoy the outdoors. Though different grasses grow in different conditions, it is scarce to find a single variety of grass that will thrive everywhere in your lawn. For areas where grass doesn't do well or is difficult to maintain, you might consider an alternative groundcover. For instance, some yards have steep hills that are difficult and dangerous to tend with a lawnmower.
Flowering ground covers, such as vinca minor, English ivy, or ajuga, can beautify these hills and require very little maintenance. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, these flowering ground covers can help stop soil erosion and pride of natural weed control. To choose which one to use, you need to assess your specific needs and possible concerns. English ivy flowers and produces berries, and tends to attract birds, insects, and even deer. If you like wildlife, this may be a good choice. Be careful though, English ivy can take over trees and bushes if left unchecked, and it spreads quickly. It will make a quick and effective groundcover as long as you have time for maintenance. If your grass gets thin beneath trees, you might try planting ajuga. It thrives in partial to full shade and produces little violet flowers during warmer months.
A plus for vegetable farmers, this particular breed of flowering ground cover attracts bumblebees. Anyone who gardens is aware of the scarcity of pollinating bees these days so this makes ajuga a beautiful option for gardeners. What if you have a spot where the only thing that grows well are the weeds? This is the spot for the weed control champion, vinca minor. Commonly known as periwinkle, this rugged little plant grows in such a dense mat that weeds are choked out. Anything that increases that thick will also slow down falling and flowing water, making vinca minor an excellent choice to stop soil erosion as well. Its flowers are most commonly a pale violet, though some varieties with white flowers are available. Like English-ivy, this plant has been classified as an invasive species, but it doesn't climb like the ivy does so your trees will be safe.
Make sure you want it where you plant it because it can be challenging to eradicate once it is established. So if you are looking to fill in the bare areas of your lawn, provide some variety in color, attract wildlife, or get some necessary weed control and stop soil erosion, you should look into some of these flowering groundcovers. Remember to consider the pros and cons of each one, because the right choice can make your life easier while a poor decision could cost you in many ways. Good luck!