Answer: You might be able to grow hostas in between the two houses if it is shady there most of the time. If you want to cover the entire area using a groundcover, you might find that periwinkle (Vinca minor) does well. Your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff may have other suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions where you want to plant as well as your design goals.
If it seems that an animal is biting off the leaves, it might be a rabbit, woodchuck, or deer. Rabbits and woodchucks can somehow get over/under many fences, so check the perimeter very carefully for signs of that. You may need to put wire mesh outward from the base and flat along the ground to prevent them from tunneling beneath it, and also angle the top of the wire mesh outward at the top to prevent them climbing over it. (Woodchucks are good at climbing.) Also check the soil for hoofprints which would tell you deer have been inside the fence. If you can determine which one it is, you might be able to deter it using a spray on repellent. (These are sold at garden centers. Be sure to apply and reapply it per the label instructions. Otherwise, you may need a different style or taller fence.
Slugs can devour small seedlings, they are nocturnal and leave behind a trail of silvery slime. You can battle these using a bait containing iron phosphate. Read and follow the label instructions.
Cutworms can also damage seedlings such as tomatoes or cucumbers, these can be deterred by placing a nail or wooden matchstick vertically into the soil right next to the stem of each plant, or by using a newspaper collar wrapped around the stem at planting time.
I hope this helps.
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