Ideas for Groundcover Alternatives to Grass

Discover alternatives to traditional grass with these creative groundcover landscaping ideas.

If you do not like getting the lawnmower out each week, there are many other exciting plants that can be used as an alternative to grass. Some produce masses of tiny flowers while others provide scent and attractive foliage.

Groundcover Patchwork

Reminiscent of a collection of fields from the air, this striking design uses solid blocks of groundcover plants in silver, gold, and varying shades of green to create a patchwork effect. The plants are divided and bordered by closely clipped boxwood hedges, which as well as separating the sections, help to highlight the array of contrasting textures.

Filling the Gaps

Groundcover plants such as mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii) can be used to fill gaps in patios or between stepping stones. Choose spreading or creeping species, and they will establish quickly. The best type of plants to use are those that release scent when walked on, such as thyme, chamomile, or Corsican mint. These plants have the attraction of giving a rustic, natural feel to paving, break up the harsh lines of a pathway or patio, and give a sense of maturity to a garden.

Organic and Plush Groundcover

Organic and Plush Groundcover

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover , 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Contrasting Chamomile

This garden is a modern take on the traditional Edwardian chamomile lawn, using modern hard landscaping materials and a striking, simple pattern. The white blockwork contrasts with the green foliage, giving a very clean, formal effect. Chamomile will only tolerate a modest amount of foot traffic and needs free-draining soil to grow successfully.

Thyme Lawn

This beautiful bed of thyme consists of a number of different cultivars planted in clumps to create a patchwork of colors. This bed is surrounded by an attractive curved brick edge that contains the spreading plants. Bees love this plant so do not walk across the lawn with bare feet while it is in flower. Although thyme lawns release a beautiful scent when walked on, they don't tolerate much foot traffic and will benefit from having stepping stones placed through them if a lot of wear and tear is expected.

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