Homeowners with small or medium lawns who don't want to worry about the constant maintenance of a natural grass lawn have alternatives available to them that are both beautiful and care free. While some ground covers are not meant to have constant foot traffic, they work well as ornamental coverings that will withstand pet activity.
Dwarf myrtle can grow up to two feet high, but can be trimmed to approximately a foot tall and maintained at that height. Myrtle is part of the evergreen family and is extremely drought tolerant once it is firmly established. It likes direct sunlight and will thrive in wide open areas. Myrtle is sensitive to constant foot traffic and should be used in areas where people don't normally walk. The ground cover has a rich, dark green color and in the spring is sprinkled with tiny, white blooms.
Moss grows well in shady areas that tend to be hold moisture. It is low growing and remains close to the ground. Although it is an extremely strong ground cover, constant foot traffic can damage it. Moss is also very thick and will crowd out flowering weeds and other plants that try to take over the area. Once established it will grow extremely fast without any type of fertilizer.
Lilyturf is an evergreen ground cover that needs consistent irrigation. It will reach approximately 12 to 18 inches in height. It is known for its strap-like leaves and grows well in moderate climates. Lilyturf thrives in both light shade and sunlight. It will tolerate light to moderate levels of foot traffic as long as it remains irrigated and well maintained.
Clover is an extremely hardy ground cover. As a legume, it has many of the same characteristics as many grass species. While it will handle modest amounts of foot traffic, it can damaged by constant running. It doesn't require full sunlight and will tolerate shade quite well. The small flowers it produces add a nice touch when they appear sprinkled throughout the lawn.
Mondo grass has different species. Dwarf varieties grow to approximately two inches in height, while traditional species grow to about six inches. It is part of the evergreen family and only requires mowing once a year. As one of the tougher varieties of ground covers, it can stand up to moderate ground cover without showing signs of wear and tear. When properly cared for, mondo grass can grow in rather thick, crowding out weeds and other grasses.
If you want to avoid worrying about whether or not your ground cover needs water or whether it should be trimmed you can eliminate any worries by installing artificial turf. It requires minimal maintenance, if any, withstands constant foot traffic and works well in heavily shaded areas. Artificial turf doesn't require fertilizer or weedkillers to thrive and it never needs water. Artificial grass is easy to cut and shape and can be used as small pavers that lead through the other types of natural ground covers. It can be used to create pathways through greenery that doesn't handle foot traffic well.
Homeowners who are trying to improve the look of their property or add to their landscaped areas have many types of ground cover available to choose from. Some ground covers are more durable than others. Ground covers that belong to the evergreen family have a variety of rich, green hues to choose from. Most do quite well in dry climates and are drought resistant once they are well established. Whether you choose a natural ground cover or an artificial grass alternative, the results will be long lasting and can free up several hours of time each week.