12 Grand Ground Cover Ideas for Your Yard

Capitalize on every inch of your garden with these ground cover ideas to fill otherwise empty areas. Whether you're working with sun or shade conditions, this basic gardening list features 12 of our ground cover favorites.

Easy Gardening Plants Lambs Ear RDA-GIDRDA-GID

Lambs’ Ears

Stachys byzantina Zones 4 to 8

With thick, woolly leaves, lambs’ ears is as soft as it looks. In early summer, spikes of small, pinkish-purple flowers, which range from 4 to 18 inches in height, bloom on most cultivars. Lambs’ ears makes a wonderful choice for beds and borders.

Terra Nova Nurseries

Foam Flower

Tiarella cordifolia Zones 3 to 8

Putting on a spectacular show in late spring, foam flower’s dainty, blossom-dressed spikes offer a delicate note in containers. Just be sure to position your display in light to heavy shade, since this perennial doesn’t put up with bright sunlight.

Lily Of The Valley In Morning LightRIVERNORTHPHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Lily-of-the-Valley

Convallaria majalis Zones 2 to 7

This old-fashioned garden belle’s diminutive flowers and tender greenery might look delicate, but its appearance is deceiving. Truth is, lily-of-the-valley is tough as nails, able to adapt to conditions that topple even the most robust perennials. Clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped blooms grow on narrow, arching flower stalks. For plants under trees and shrubs, a yearly dose of fertilizer in spring will offer a hefty boost.

Perennialresource.com

Lamium

Lamium Zones 4 to 8

This pretty plant will definitely contribute a lovely new wrinkle to shady spots. Where some of these ground cover ideas can offer only color, lamium quickly adds a dense growth of corrugated foliage that is often variegated, for extra interest and visibility in shady spots. Use it to fill in bare areas under shrubs or other established perennials, where it will form textural mounds.

RDA-GID

Barrenwort

Epimedium Zones 5 to 9

Blanket your garden with a subtle splash of color. Barrenwort’s low-growing habit and delicate flowers work wonders in shady, otherwise bare areas under trees and shrubs. Its heart-shaped evergreen foliage often carries a pink edge or overall tint, which fades to bronze when autumn arrives.

Evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) - white flowers in a garden, plants for rocky soilanand purohit/Getty Images

Candytuft

Iberis sempervirens Zones 5 to 9

Roll out the white carpet for your garden with this dense mat of pale blooms perfect for borders, rock gardens or containers. Clusters of flowers bloom from spring into summer, leaving candytuft’s evergreen foliage to maintain interest all year through.

Grand Ground Cover Ideas Pachysandra

Pachysandra

Pachysandra terminalis Zones 4 to 8

Regarded as the most dependable and resilient of ground covers, shade-loving pachysandra offers whorls of glossy evergreen foliage that are topped with white flowers in spring. Don’t fret if growth isn’t as profuse as expected in the first year. When it comes to pachysandra, good things come to those who wait a couple of years.

Grand Ground Cover Ideas Common BugleweedRDA-GID

Common Bugleweed

Ajuga reptans Zones 3 to 9

As ground cover ideas go, this evergreen perennial makes an excellent choice with its masses of green, bronze or variegated foliage. Spires of blue-toned flowers appear in late spring to early summer. Bugleweed is an aggressive grower and may invade lawns, so plant it within a barrier. On the upside, you won’t have to wait long for results.

drought tolerant ground covers creeping phlox, moss phlox or mountain phlox. Blooming phlox in the spring garden, top view close-up. Rockery with a small pretty purple flower.Olena Maikovska/Getty Images

Creeping Phlox

Phlox stolonifera and Phlox subulata Zones 4 to 8 and Zones 3 to 8

Topping off at just 6 inches high, creeping phlox is a smaller, low-growing, hearty relative of the familiar fragrant perennial. When it blooms in spring, it forms a cascading carpet of pretty little blossoms, making it a lovely choice for rock gardens. When nestled into a protective layer of mulch, creeping phlox doesn’t require much watering.

Red creeping thyme is a groundcover with a bounty of small magenta flowers.Courtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners

Creeping Thyme

Thymus polytrichus subsp. britannicus var. albus Zones 5 to 9

Many of the most seasoned gardeners save a front- row seat for creeping thyme. Its short profile and low maintenance make it the perfect complement to any border, edging or even walkway.

Madagascar Or Periwinkle Or Vinca Flower, (catharanthus Roseus). ground cover ideasSuwan Waenlor / Alamy Stock Photo

Madagascar Periwinkle

Catharanthus roseus grown as an annual

If you experience lots of heat in summer, Madagascar periwinkle is the ideal plant on our list of ground cover ideas. It flourishes in full sun and doesn’t need excessive watering. In colder zones, this pretty plant is useful for filling in bare spots between perennials. In mild-winter areas, it may become invasive.

ground cover ideas Shade Garden Ideas: Sweet woodruffBall Horticultural co.

Sweet Woodruff

Galium odoratum Zones 4 to 8

Despite its delicate appearance, this plant is tough and well suited to shady, wooded areas. Its star-shaped, white blooms last for several weeks in spring.

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.