10 Fantastic Ground Covers for Your Outdoor Oasis

Are you tired of staring at bare ground in your garden? Ground covers are the perfect solution to add color, texture, and interest to your outdoor space. Whether you have a shady spot or a sunny area that needs some love, we’ve got you covered! Check out these 10 reliable ground covers that will transform your garden into a lush oasis.

Ground Covers for the Shade

Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’)

Looking for a fast-spreading plant with a unique touch? Goutweed is a herbaceous perennial that features white-edged leaves, adding a pop of brightness to shady areas. Just be cautious where you plant it as it can be invasive. Goutweed thrives in moist conditions, making it a perfect choice for part-shade to full sun areas.

Bugleherb (Ajuga reptans)

If low-maintenance is your style, then Bugleherb is the ground cover for you. This fast-spreading herbaceous perennial boasts blue candle-like flowers and comes in various foliage options, including green, bronze, variegated, or tri-colored. Bring on the easy growing and eye-catching beauty!

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

For a touch of elegance, consider Bunchberry. This deciduous perennial offers delicate spring dogwood-style flowers followed by red berries and red-orange foliage in the fall. Although it requires a bit of attention, Bunchberry will happily thrive when planted in a “woodland setting” with moist, rich, acidic soil in the shade or part-shade.

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Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Wintergreen is a real showstopper with its dark green glossy evergreen leaves. During the summer, it boasts white bell-shaped flowers, and in the fall, large, bright, red, edible berries set against bronze-colored foliage steal the show. Just make sure to give it slightly acidic, moist soil for optimal growth.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

If you’re dealing with low-nutrient soils, Salal is the ground cover that will shine in your garden. This evergreen features bright green leaves and white or pink bell-shaped flowers. In the fall, edible black berries appear, adding an extra touch of delight. Plant it in sun or shade, and it will thrive with minimal effort.

Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)

If you’re in need of an attractive and uniform ground cover, Japanese Spurge is the answer. This fast-growing evergreen boasts light green branches and offers both green and variegated foliage options. While the spring flowers might be fairly insignificant, the bright foliage will surely catch your eye.

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

For a touch of tartness, go for the Lingonberry ground cover. This slow-growing evergreen showcases dark glossy leaves and reddish new growth. With its underground runners, it spreads well, and in the fall, it rewards you with white or pink flowers followed by edible yet slightly sour red berries. To keep it happy, plant it in moist, acidic soil.

Ground Covers for the Sun

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

If you have slopes or walls that need some love, Kinnikinnick is your go-to ground cover. This evergreen delights with small glossy leaves that turn bronze in winter. Pale-pink pendulous spring flowers add a delicate touch, and in the fall, you’ll be greeted with red berries. Prepare to be amazed by the effectiveness of this plant in challenging areas.

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Heather (Calluna vulgaris)

For those who appreciate variety, Heather is the perfect ground cover option. With its moist, peaty, sandy, acidic, and well-drained soil preference, this evergreen comes in many different varieties. Not only does it thrive in nutrient-poor soils, but it also rewards you with low shrubby growth if you shear it after blooming.


When it comes to attractive ground covers, the Cotoneaster genus is hard to beat. With stunning green glossy leaves, small white flowers, and bright red berries in the fall and winter, this evergreen and deciduous plant family offers a wide array of options. Cotoneasters are especially well-suited for slopes and poor, yet moist, soil.

Pink Panda Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’)

If you’re seeking a plant that’s as pretty as it is delicious, look no further than the Pink Panda Ornamental Strawberry. A cross between potentilla and strawberry, this ground cover features strawberry-like leaves, lovely pink flowers, and small edible fruit. From hanging baskets to slopes, it is a versatile and delightful addition to any garden.

Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)

For a burst of color and leaf variegation, the Chameleon Plant is a top choice. This fast-spreading herbaceous perennial offers red, white, and green leaves, accompanied by small white flowers. Plant it in full sun to truly appreciate the leaf variegation, but be aware that in part-shade, the leaves tend to revert to green. With a bit of mindful planting, the Chameleon Plant will impress.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum spp.)

If you’re a fan of golden colors, St. John’s Wort is the ground cover for your garden. These evergreen plants dazzle with light-colored leaves and large, fluffy, golden-colored flowers in early summer. Late summer brings forth golden edible berries, adding another layer of beauty. With its fast-growing nature and low maintenance requirements, St. John’s Wort is a winner.

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Junipers (Juniperus spp.)

For an evergreen shrub that adds height with its long arching branches, Junipers are an excellent choice. With numerous species and varieties available, make sure to read the tag for the eventual height before making a selection. These coniferous beauties are bound to make a statement in your garden.

Thyme (Thymus spp.)

For a scent-infused experience, Thyme is the ground cover to consider. These evergreen perennial herbs hug the ground and adorn themselves with pink or purple summer flowers. Walking on Thyme releases its fresh scent, making it a fantastic option for high-traffic areas. Thyme thrives in dry, exposed garden sites, adding beauty and fragrance to any space.

Raoulia Australis

If you’re looking to conserve water while still having a stunning ground cover, Raoulia Australis is your answer. This unique plant features mat-like growth forms, making it ideal for xeriscaping. With a combination of compact growth, low surface area, and water storage capabilities, Raoulia Australis is a champion of water conservation. Plant it in well-drained soils and full sun, and watch it grow to 15cm tall while spreading 2m wide.

So, there you have it – 10 fantastic ground covers that will transform your garden into a vibrant oasis. Whether you have shade or sun, there’s a perfect option for you. Remember to consider your soil conditions and maintenance preferences when making your choice. Get ready to enjoy the beauty and benefits of ground covers in your outdoor space!

For more information on ground covers and all things gardening, check out Ames Farm Center.