Filling Bald Spots in Your Garden

By The Old House Web

by Kate McIntyre
Old House Web Columnist

Every lawn and garden has a trouble spot--that expanse of unplanted, weedy dirt on the side of the house, the bald spot around a big tree where no grass will grow. In tricky situations like these you need a true botanical hero. Luckily, groundcovers are always willing to step up to the plate.

Benefits of Groundcovers

Groundcovers are hardy, low-growing plants. Many will spread on their own to fill in rough spots in your landscaping. But isn't that what grass is for? It is, but groundcovers offer several distinct advantages over grass:

  • Low maintenance. They do not need to be trimmed on a regular basis, so they're perfect for areas that the lawn mower has trouble reaching.
  • Adaptability to low light levels. Several groundcovers grow well in shady spots. One of the most popular options is Periwinkle, or Vinca minor. Moss also thrives in these conditions.
  • Good looks. Ground covers can offer a welcome dose of color and texture to dull areas, and they can create soft dividing lines in your landscape, such as between grass and a flower bed.
  • Prevention of soil erosion. Groundcovers' root systems hold soil in place so that it does not erode away in the rain or wind. This quality makes them a great choice for plantings along the banks of rivers or creeks.

Picking a Groundcover for Your Trouble Spot

Before you consider your groundcover options, you should evaluate the spot where you need it. Is it shady, partly shady, or exposed to the sun all day? Does the soil in the area tend to be dry or moist? Keep in mind the plants' height, too. Would the space look better filled with a stand of three foot tall Daylilies, or a carpet of Lilies of the Valley? Narrow down your options to the type of cover that will survive in your bald spot, determine the height and color you want there, then go shopping and turn that ugly spot into a visual pleasure zone.


"Tips to Consider When Adding Groundcovers to Your Landscape," University of Illinois Extension

About the Author

Kate McIntyre is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Oregon State University.

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