ground cover recommendations for Catonsville area

Asked August 4, 2020, 12:08 PM EDT

Hi, I recently bought a house with a large yard and would like to minimize how much mowing is needed. Ideally, I'd like to replace (at least some of) it with something that looks nice, doesn't grow more than a few inches, and is fairly self-sufficient. Maybe different suggestions for shady vs. sunny areas. Bonus points if it can withstand being stepped on, but stone pathways for walking in-between areas of ground cover could be nice too. Thank you!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Begin by looking at our website at lawn alternatives for options. Try to use natives if you can and you want a healthy balanced landscape. Very few ground covers will tolerate foot traffic. You can put mulch paths or stepping stones in traffic ways that must be walked on and plant the groundcovers along side.
A mix of native and nonnative (not invasive) perennials/groundcovers are suggested so you do not lose one stand to an insect, disease, and/or cultural or environmental issue.
You will have to consider the mature height and width of the plants and if deer are an issue. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives
Here is our groundcover list https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/groundcover-list

Shade - Moss is about the only type of native plant we know of that can take foot traffic in the shade. If you are willing to consider a non-native, non-invasive choice, black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) can take some foot traffic in shade. Creeping mazus (Mazus reptans) can take partial shade and foot traffic.

Senecio aureus, Golden ragwort ( is a good native plant for shade and spreads by seeds; ferns; sedum ternatum; Chrysogonum virginianum, green & gold; sedge sp.;
Pachysandra procumbens, Alleghany pachysandra; Asarum canadense, wild ginger; and Tiarella cordifolia, foamflower, pussy toes, etc.
Additional deer resistant plants for shade and sun are listed here. https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water/Resources/Files/rainscapes/12_Deer_Resist_Plants.pdf

Sun - moss phlox; creeping thyme; lamb's ear, etc. See our groundcover list for more suggestions.

Marian