Groundcovers That Give Lift to Your Landscape

If you crave a bit of dimension, perspective, height and extra color in your groundcovers, consider wide-spreading shrubs.

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Golden-Yellow Tufts

If you need to cover ground, there's a wealth of plant choices at your fingertips. Juniper, vinca, creeping phlox, plumbago, carpet bugle and pachysandra all do their part to discourage weeds and reduce the amount of turfgrass that needs to be mowed and maintained. But as great as ground-huggers are, they're low-growing, and flat can be boring if no vertical elements are present. Wide-spreading shrubs, even if they're tall, can function just as well as groundcovers. So if you crave a bit of dimension, perspective, height and extra color in your landscape scheme, consider going up while you're going out. Although we don't tend to think of them in that way, azaleas are good covers of ground, usually spreading wider than they are tall as they mature. Gardeners find it easy to underestimate the eventual girth of a little one-gallon plant bought on sale and sometimes wind up wanting to whack them back. This magnificent mound, measuring at least 30 feet wide, isn't one azalea, though — several individual plants contributed to this formation.

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