Groundcover For Foot Traffic: Choosing Groundcover That’s Walkable

Groundcover For Foot Traffic: Choosing Groundcover That’s Walkable

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Walkable groundcovers serve many purposes in the landscape, but it’s important to choose carefully. Walking on groundcovers may feel like stepping on a soft carpet of dense leaves, but the plants must have the ability to bounce back relatively quick.

Groundcovers you can walk on are versatile plants that may also crowd out weeds, conserve moisture, prevent soil erosion, and provide habitat for beneficial pollinators. Here are a few examples of attractive and durable groundcovers for foot traffic.

Choosing Groundcover That’s Walkable

Here are some good groundcovers you can walk on:

Thyme (Thymus sp.) – Includes several walkable groundcovers such as woolly thyme, red creeping thyme, and mother-of-thyme. Thyme thrives in full sunlight and nearly any well-drained soil. USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9.

Miniature speedwell (Veronica oltensis) – Veronica is a sun-loving plant with deep green leaves and tiny blue flowers. Zones 4-9.

Creeping raspberry (Rubus pentalobus) – Also known as crinkle leaf creeper, this plant displays thick green leaves that turn bright red in autumn. A durable groundcover for foot traffic, creeping raspberry produces white summertime flowers, often followed by small, red fruit. Zones 6-11.

Silver carpet (Dymondia margaretae) – Silver carpet is a lovely groundcover with tiny, rounded leaves. It is best for smaller spaces. Zones 9-11.

Corsican sandwort (Arenaria balearica) – Sandwort produces tiny, white flowers in spring. This plant is best for small spaces in cool shade. Zones 4-11.

Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) – Herniaria is a well behaved but rugged groundcover that gradually creates a carpet of tiny, green leaves that turn bronzy red in fall and winter. Zones 5-9.

Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) – This a fast growing groundcover for foot traffic that produces blue, star-shaped blooms in spring and early summer. Blue star creeper should be planted where its rambunctious nature won’t be a problem. Zones 5-9.

Creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) – Creeping jenny is also known as moneywort due to the golden, coin shaped leaves. Buttery yellow flowers that appear in late spring. Zones 3-8.

Creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris) – Also known as wandering wire vine, this plant spreads quickly, producing tiny, rounded leaves that turn bronze in fall.  Zones 7-9.

Woolly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa) – This is a mat-forming perennial with grayish green leaves. Woolly yarrow thrives in hot, dry, sunny locations. 

Ajuga (Ajuga reptans) – Ajuga spreads slowly but surely, producing groundcover that’s walkable with colorful foliage and spikes of white or blue flowers. Zones 4-10.

Red spike ice plant (Cephalophyllum ‘Red Spike’) – This is a succulent plant that produces bright red flowers in early spring. Zones 9b-11.

Creeping golden buttons (Cotula ‘Tiffindell Gold’) – This plant is a drought resistant, sun loving groundcover for foot traffic with emerald green foliage and bright yellow, button-shaped flowers that show up in midsummer. Zones 5-10.

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