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Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Posted by linnea56 z5 IL (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 22:31

I posted in Groundcovers a few weeks ago but it seems it is not a very active forum.

We put in a front yard paver patio a few years ago. The edge facing out to the street is zig zag. For whatever unknown reason, we have been unable to get grass growing in the zags, even though there was grass growing normally there before. The grade was slightly changed and we installed sod right after it was done. The sod looked fine but by the next spring was dead. Then we tried seed for a few years. All dead. The area occupied is basically 3 three foot square sections. Two sides of each are bounded by the pavers, one side by garden bed, and the remaining is the rest of the lawn.

I am ready to give up on grass for these sections. I could just expand the garden to fill these nooks, but it is necessary to drag the hose across at least 2 of them to water a bed on the other side. So anything I put there really needs to be short or hose proof. Conditions are mid morning sun til about 2 pm, then house shade afterward. It can be very hot in the summer. This area gets watered a lot, though, as I have patio planters in abundance.
I have a fancy leaved English ivy in one bed. I thought it would not survive the winters but it has done well. I could take cuttings but I'm not sure I want something long and vine-y in that area though.

Any suggestions? I'm not really interested in the common ground covers like pachysandra or vinca.

Visiting the Missouri Botanic Garden recently I saw a plant that I thought looked promising: Ajuga Mahogany. It looks a lot like purple baby leaf lettuce. I have Ajuga Chocolate Chip in another garden, and have not been that impressed with it. But the A. Mahogany was short (~ 3") and very full. It is also a brownish purple that would go GREAT with the heucheras I have. Anyone grow this?

Thanks for your ideas for what is really a weird situation.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

  • Posted by titian1 Sydney, Australiae (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 3:31

I don't know if they would work for your climate, but creeping thymes like sun and can take heat, and grow remarkably quickly here.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Cfreeping thymes will work well. I suggest you look at the ones sold by High Country Gardens, especially the very flat ones.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

The Missouri Botanical Garden was one of my favorite haunts when I lived in St. Louis. Still a must stop when I am in the area.

A mass of dwarf heuchera

Tiny reblooming daylily

I have been thinking about why the grass dies. If nothing else grows there the soil may need to be amended or replaced.

This post was edited by mnwsgal on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 9:55


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

I grow creeping red thyme along the street curb. It gets very dry there and the creeping thyme does well. After the first bloom it is cut back for a second bloom. The same area has grape hyacinths which grow through the thyme in the spring and dies back until late fall.

Another suggestion is a mat forming dianthus. Article Fire is long blooming for me with some rebloom and foliage stays nice. I also have a white one that gets a little taller bit doesn't rebloom.

How a out a low growing ornamental grass? One clump of sporobolis, several clumps of blue fescue or carex 'Ice Dancer'.

A short growing hardy geranium.

Portulaca, moss roses, low growing sedums, hens & chicks.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

I like lamium and ajuga. They're indestructible and have pretty purple flowers. I walk on them.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Thanks for all these suggestions! I do need something that can get stepped on, and have the hose dragged across. More the latter than intentional stepping on.

It is funny but grass grew there just fine before the patio install. When that was done new soil was put in all around most of the patio, but not that specific spot; and sod laid. We decided the old grass there looked sad near the new sod, so we opted to put in new sod there ourselves. The sod we put in didn’t make it, so we started seeding, but neither one lasted for more than one season.

I really liked the look of the Ajuga Mahogany, but have no idea if it can take any traffic. Susan , what kind of Ajuga do you have? I have a silver lamium elsewhere and it is patchy, has never filled in.

It looks like thyme is my best option. I have not wintersowed, but it seems like I need to start.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Look also at "Steppables". I have some but can't recall the names. Just google it.

HTH, Rosie


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Most of the plants I listed can take some crushing by a hose/being stepped on and will recover quickly. When the grasses get stepped on I fluff them up and they are fine. The mat forming dianthus hug the ground and I don't even notice its having been stepped on.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

How about creeping phlox, Phlox subulata.

Or, large raised planting boxes. :)


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

I'd also consider doing a soil test. Perhaps lime from the patio block is effecting the soil pH or there's another problem such as soil compaction stemming from the patio build.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

The ajuga I have is Caitlyn's Giant. It's very thick and burgundy colored. Mountain phlox works well around my slate steps. I weed whack it back before winter.


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RE: Groundcover for next to sunny paver patio

Mahogany ajuga works well for me and spreads slowly. The blue flowers in Spring are lovely. Seems to take little care. I am gradually digging and transplanting to edge a rather long flower bed. The plant stays lovely all summer. Mine is growing in rather heavy soil and does very well. Mary


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