Attractive Winter Ground Cover For 25'x 12' Front Yard - Knowledgebase Question

Upper Darby, PA
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Question by crowbar
December 2, 2000
We wish to put in suitable ground cover / plantings into a front yard, 25' X 12', that is contained by newly installed railroad ties. The yard has been neglected for many years. Any rough grass and weeds have been removed recently. At top of the yard is the patio and the entrance to the home.
It is winter here in Philadelphia. We wish to put this house up for sale.We have put in many renovations. We think the ground should be neat and attractive. What would you suggest?

Answer from NGA
December 2, 2000
If the ground is frozen, it will not be possible to plant now. If the ground is not frozen yet, you might be able to plant container grown shrubs and possibly large sized perennials. (Smaller plants will heave out of the ground during the freeze/thaw cycles of winter.) Your selection would be determined by the amount of sun, wind and moisture available to the plants. A typical ground cover for a hot and sunny area would be a low growing juniper. A typical groundcover for a shadier area would be English ivy. Both of these are evergreen and very low maintenance. Surrounding the new planting with an attractive mulch will help the new plants become established faster and also provide a tidy, "finished" look to the area. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to purchase plants this late in the season.

An alternative approach might be to mulch the area and install an attractive bench or birdbath or other "feature" until spring weather allows you to plant more extensively. The additional benefit to this approach is that you can take the feature with you when you move.

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