ivy or pachysandra for ground cover?
Our front yard oak trees have grown so tall that their drip lines extend way out and the small patches of grass there are just not growing well. We've had St. Augustine sod that's been replaced I. Several areas over the past five years, and have tried centipede sod with similar, poor results. We're re landscaping the area by pulling the planting beds in front of the house forward, replacing the 25 year old shrubbery and adding yews to extend the plantings forward, then using swaths of a ground cover where the beds end. I like ivy very much, but we have a brick retaining wall between the front end of the yard and our circle drive. I've been warned that the ivy would have to be pulled off that weekly to keep it from overrunning the wall. Also, several people (nursery guy, landscaper and lawn guy) have all told me that snakes like to hide in ivy. So we selected pachysandra as a substitute--- a lighter variety called "green carpet." It does not climb, and stays at about a 6" height, where ivy gets thicker and taller.
But I recently read that Boston ivy is less invasive than English ivy, with smaller leaves and a lower profile. What would you suggest?
Brick path to front door, notice dying grass on both sides of the walkway:
Same area from porch point of view:
This is the house from the driveway. The front yard is all behind the retaining wall; the drive is about 18" higher than the yard at the wall, and the yard then slopes down another 18" or so. We have remediated water runoff with swales, underground pipes to draw away downspout drainage, etc.
And from farther back, head on (you can't even tell there is a front yard from this aspect but it gives you an idea of the scale:
Here is a picture of the yard from last Christmas after resodding both sides of the walkway ---again--- that summer. It was a lot warmer last year at this time, but you can see the grass is already thinning and is is now dead in patches.