Groundcovers – Walkable and Worthy

There are dozens of great options if you are looking for an alternative to grass, or a supplement for your gardening needs!  Here are some ideas that will not only make your yard pop with beauty, add fluffy and varied texture, flowering beauty, rich colors, and just about all of these you can walk on a little, or maybe even a lot! And as a bonus most are not as thirsty as grass and can even be considered drought tolerant or requiring less water than grass.


Chocolate Chip – If it sounds like chocolate it’s good for me! You’ll love this one, formally known as Ajuga because it will grow in shady spots like under a tree.  It has dark green leaves with bronzeish coloring, hence the Chocolate name.  And the flowers are gorgeous.   Purple to blue that stand about 4 inches high!  This one is not drought tolerant but it’s deer resistant and it can handle occasional walking on it.

Silver Kisses –  Another great name!  It offers tiny daisies that are just 1 to 2 inches tall in the Spring and Summer.   It likes full sun for that showtime, but it will self-seed and keep going once it’s up and running.  And if you have clay soil, Silver Kisses are for you!
I love the foliage too that has a silver fern look to it!  This one is drought tolerant, can handle occasional daily foot traffic  but it is not deer resistant.

Rupture Wort – Green Carpet
This plant is super tough and like a carpet can handle heavy foot traffic areas.  The foliage is nice and green and turns bronze-red in the winter.  And while it delivers tiny white blossoms, they are so small it won’t attract bees. And the added bonus it is just about as rugged as grass.

Count it to need less water cause it’s drought tolerant too and loves partial shade to sun.

Blue Star Creeper – This can be used instead of lawn in a number of places, in the garden, on pavers, in containers or near the pool.   The pretty blue blooms that look like little stars last just about all season and in warmer climates it can remain evergreen all year.   But if you live in a hot part of the country it will need some share in the summer.  This is also almost as rugged as grass but it likes some water and can handle full sun to partial shade.

Creeping Wire Vine
Not the most attractive name but if you have a rock garden you will love this groundcover option. It spreads quickly and you can mow it once a year to freshen and thicken it!  The round leaves turn bronze color in the fall.   It is really low maintenance not caring much about soil quality or much water and loves full sun to part shade and yes it is almost as sturdy as grass, plus deer are not attracted to this!

Scotch Moss loves clay soil and even needs it! IT’s the moss with that  gorgeous lime- to yellow color in its leaves!  It delivers star shaped white flowers in the spring and looks great against grey stone.
Irish moss is less fussy about the type of soil. And stays a deep green color with fluffy foliage.
Both mosses like full sun to partial shade but they also like water and believe it or not for as delicate as it appears, these mosses are almost as sturdy as grass so don’t let them fool you!

John Creech

The spreading, low growing sedums are standards in rock gardens, where they spill over the stones and seem to require no care what-so-ever. They are also a varied lot, with succulent like foliage in round or spiky leaves tinted blue, yellow, purple and emerald green. They form tight mats that usually don’t get taller than 6″, and reach that height only when in bloom. Sedums are capable of rooting along their stems, where they make contact with the ground. The foliage may get darker in the fall and is very often evergreen. They can be a bit slick to walk on, but are nice between pavers and encircling patios.

White Diamonds– Okay, you had me at White Diamonds ( I’m mixing mine with the Chocolate Chips) This ground cover is as gorgeous as it sounds with little sparkles that shimmer when water hits its leaves.  It offers small white star like flowers in the summer and the foliage is almost blue and the star in this ground cover!  It loves full sun to partial sun and can handle occasional foot traffic. And the added bonus it doesn’t require much watering!

Bird’s Foot Trefoil ( we are calling Truffle) – It offers small yellow to orange flowers in the summer over the green foliage that is a great option as an alternative to grass.   It does great in clay soil and you can even mow near it or on it!  It loves full sun to partial shade and doesn’t require much water! And as an added bonus or two, it has a nice fragrance and yet it is deer resistant.

Mazus – If you are a purple person you must have Mazus in your garden! Tiny flowers but a dense mat of deep bluish purple flowers with yellow centers!  They look a bit like snag dragons!  It’s not invasive and works great in a rock garden. There is also a white variety. For all this beauty it does require moist soil but you can walk on it occasionally and it works in full sun to partial shade.

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Ground Covers – Walkable and Worthy Alternatives to Grass