While bright green turfgrass has been the go-to for lawns for centuries, it’s not the only option for groundcover. Especially here in Fort Lauderdale with our hot summers, grass can be difficult to maintain. If you’re fed up with trying to target the weeds on your lawn, keeping up with watering, and mowing the grass, then now might be the time to make the switch to an alternative groundcover.
What is Groundcover?
A Groundcover is any plant that sprawls out on the surface and doesn’t grow very tall. Typically, they are quick-growing perennials that don’t need a lot of maintenance. While we commonly think of plants as groundcovers, there are non-living options as well, like mulch and decorative stone, which can be useful to create paths throughout your yard.
In general, groundcover often helps choke out weeds, plus it can provide a backdrop for your showier plants. With this said, even groundcover can add pops of color, texture, and interest to your yard, unlike typical grass.
How to Replace Your Lawn with Groundcovers
To start, remove any existing plants and loose stones. Next, get to know your soil and add amendments if necessary. Follow the instructions on the plant’s tag to properly space them out, and consider how much they spread to make sure you have enough room. If you have any questions about spacing, you can always get in touch with us.
Regularly water and weed the plants, and add nutrients if they don’t seem to be thriving — the most effort you’ll put into the plants is when they’re first starting to grow. But don’t worry, it pays off in the long run since once they’re established, they require minimal effort!
Groundcover Options For Yards in Florida
Some plants grow better in shaded areas while others do well in full sun, so make sure you know how much sunlight the area will get before choosing which groundcover to use.
Algerian Ivy: Growing up to one foot tall and spreading up to six feet, this fast-growing evergreen vine prefers shady areas. Some varieties have solid-colored foliage while others have variegated leaves. Algerian Ivy is very salt-tolerant, so it’s a suitable plant if you’re on the coast.
Blue Daze: This evergreen is a member of the morning glory family. It has blue funnel-shaped flowers about one-inch long that open in the morning and die off by the end of the day. Growing up to 1.5 feet tall and spreading up to three feet, Blue Daze prefers moist, well-drained soil, but don’t let it stand in water as it could get a fungal disease. Even if you live by the coast, Blue Daze can thrive since it’s highly tolerant of salt spray.
Mondo Grass: Also known as Dwarf Liriope or Monkey Grass, this evergreen is a top choice as a low maintenance groundcover. It’s slow-growing, and while it can grow in the sun or shade, it does best with at least some afternoon shade. Mondo Grass forms clumps of dark green, grassy foliage and has small white flowers during the summer. It grows about a foot tall and spreads two feet wide.
Perennial Peanut: While its cheery yellow blooms may say otherwise, this is one tough plant. Growing up to a foot tall and spreading about eight feet, Perennial Peanut barely needs any water and no fertilizer. It forms a flat mat over the ground, making it a perfect replacement for your lawn. If you want to keep it short, you can mow it once in a while. Since it’s slow-growing, you won’t have to mow it often.
Sword Fern: Native to Florida, Sword Ferns work well to fill in gaps in the landscape, particularly in moist, shaded areas. It spreads out nicely, about four feet, adding a soft touch to your yard. The name comes from its green sword-shaped fronds that can grow up to four feet tall.
Replacing your lawn with groundcover can reduce how much maintenance is required, meaning you’ll have more time to enjoy the payoff of your beautiful yard! Give us a call if you want to get started on making the transition from lawn to groundcovers!