The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover

Question: I have an area on the side of my driveway that is a mess.It slopes down and is like concrete. I've had no luck growing grass there because of the all-day sun it gets and it is tough to water. I was thinking of covering it over with plastic and stones etc. but I was wondering if someone could suggest a good sturdy fast growing ground cover that I could plant to take care of this problem. Something that doesn't need too much water and is not going to put me in the poor house.

Answer: That type of growing location is usually very hot and dry because of all the reflected heat combined with the slope. You might consider some of the following plants as ground cover: low mat-forming varieties of juniper, creeping thyme, lower growing sedum varieties, or creeping phlox. If you don't mind a slightly taller planting, you might consider the dwarf barberry, a mid-height juniper, or perennials such as purple cone flowers, perovskia, or artemisia. No matter what you plant, however, you will need to prepare the soil by adding copious amounts of organic matter to it and then water the new plants until they become established. Remember to water deeply but less often rather than a daily light sprinkling. Using several inches of organic mulch will also help reduce the watering need in addition to cutting down on the weeds while the plants are settling in.

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