How To Decide If Ground Cover Is Right For Your Landscaping

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Groundcover is used to cover the soil, but where you live, the land you live on and what you do with the area are all factors to be taken into account. The groundcover you chose should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but practical for your area as well. Do you want to create a floral garden, make your property line more lush or define your backyard spaces? All can be done using groundcover and with a little planning you will know if hydroseed or clinging moss is the best for your needs.

Purpose

The first thing to know before you start is just what you want the groundcover to do. Is your groundcover for a backyard, a sloping walkway up to your house, repaving your garage or all of the above?

The different places you put the groundcover mean different materials to be used and costs. Groundcover can vary in height from an inch to bushes many feet tall so do you want to create low cover over part of your garden or really cover the border of your property by adding dense greenery? Some groundcover is used to cover pavement on a walkway or driveway or to soften steps. Obviously if you think you might park your car on it that would change your groundcover needs. Knowing what you want the groundcover for makes a big difference in your choice.

There is also the obvious issue of using groundcover for the health of your soil. If you want groundcover plants to prevent soil erosion or keep weeds from growing, they can do that, you just have to get groundcover that will work with what you have. If you want groundcover to create a green landscape, making the space you have more lush and colorful and attractive that can also be done.

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Location

The weather and temperatures where you live will be a major consideration in your groundcover choice. For example, if you are in the desert you might not want groundcovers that require a lot of water usage. But if you live in an area with a lot of rain that might not be a restriction so keep that in mind. Consider allergies as well. You might enjoy a certain groundcover but come spring the flowers that grow can affect you or your children, making allergies worse.

Location also means to take into consideration where on your property you need the cover. Is it for a paved driveway? Will kids or pets be playing in the area or a garden growing? If pets are in the area you want to get pet friendly plants.

Is the area sloping or a walkway? You may want to get plants of varied heights. Groundcover is commonly used to define space as well, so you might want part of your yard to create ambiance and an intimate garden feel, while you want another area to transition from lawn to a dining area.

Sustainability

You want to keep in mind sustainability for where you live. Yes, it's good for the environment, but its also good for your bills. You don't want to have to water your groundcover twice a day if you live in a year round warm climate with little rain. Nor do you want to have a gardener come out to trim and cut back all the time if your budget doesn't allow for that. Putting in a drip irrigation system to keep the ground cover healthy is great but it saves time in maintenance. Some groundcover requires seasonal maintenance as well and if that's not something you want to budget your money and time for make sure you get something easier for you. You want to be realistic about your maintenance abilities and plan for it.

Groundcover can be a great tool to add to your landscaping so keep in mind what your needs are as far as the climate, space and maintenance to ensure you get the groundcover that best suits your needs.

Last Updated: October 12, 2011
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About Leah Gillis Leah Gillis has worked for several major news outlets, as well as a television series on home buying and decor. Having grown up in New England, she has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Milan. When not trying to get a great deal, she is often found reading something, writing something or talking to someone.

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