As we head into winter, it’s a good time to step back and evaluate how different parts of your landscape are performing, or not performing. The topic of lawns is a controversial one these days. Lawns definitely have their benefits: They help mitigate temperatures in urban areas, control soil erosion and water runoff, just to name a few. However, when they are maintained improperly (overwatered) or planted in the wrong place (shade) lawns can become a resource hog. If you have a lawn that is performing poorly due to shade or water restrictions, it may be time to convert it to more low-maintenance groundcovers.
Depending on the type of evergreen groundcover you choose, you’ll not only have a green space year-round, but a space that requires much less maintenance than a traditional lawn. Many groundcovers grow well in shady areas that don’t support lawn grasses. No amount of water or fertilizer will make a sun-loving lawn grow well in too much shade; your best option is to trade out the lawn grass for shade loving groundcovers and perennials.
There are many evergreen groundcovers that are also drought tolerant. For a grass-like appearance, Liriope ‘Silver Sunproof’ is a great choice for part shade locations. It has deep green and white variegated foliage that resembles grass blades and grows in clumps about 15-inches tall and wide. In spring, it blooms spikes of lavender flowers. Plant in large swaths or clump it with other perennials. Liriope ‘Silver Sunproof’ will adapt to a variety of soil conditions and is very drought tolerant once established.
For a groundcover with a more shrub-like appearance, try the sun-loving and hardy Juniper ‘Bar Harbor’. It features silvery foliage that grows very low to the ground at only 12-inches; plants can spread up to 10-feet, so you’ll get a lot of coverage from each plant. Other sturdy evergreen groundcovers include ajuga and sedum, and even herbs such as creeping thyme and trailing rosemary.