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4 Great Ways to Use Groundcover Grasses in Your Landscape

Written by: PBM Team



Time to read 3 min

Our groundcover grasses offer a wealth of landscaping solutions, whether covering a shady spot or a full sun pathway. These grasses reach mature heights and mound relatively quickly, which makes them perfect for filling spaces within 1 to 2 years.

Check out our groundcover grasses care guide for suggestions on planting and care tips and which groundcover grasses work best in full sun.

1. Liriope as a Sidewalk Border

Using liriope grass along sidewalks as a border planting is an excellent landscaping choice that combines aesthetics and practicality. Liriope, also known as monkey grass or border grass, offers a neat and well-defined edge to sidewalks, providing a visually pleasing transition between the hardscape and the surrounding garden. These hardy, evergreen groundcover grasses are available in various species and cultivars, each with unique characteristics, such as variegated liriope or different bloom colors.

Beyond their ornamental appeal, liriope grasses serve practical purposes along sidewalks. Monkey Grass helps define and demarcate the walking path, preventing soil erosion and the encroachment of other plants onto the sidewalk.

Liriope is low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established, and can tolerate varying light conditions, making them suitable for sunny or partially shaded areas alongside sidewalks. Their year-round greenery adds vibrancy and structure to the landscape, ensuring that the sidewalk border remains attractive and appealing throughout the seasons.

2. Dwarf Mondo Grass Between Pavers

Utilizing dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) between pavers to create a charming pathway is a beautiful landscaping solution. This low-growing, evergreen groundcover grass forms a lush and dense carpet that softens the hardscape of the pavers, adding an inviting touch to your garden.

The rich green foliage of dwarf mondo grass complements the stone or concrete of the pavers beautifully, creating a seamless blend of nature and architecture. Its compact size makes it ideal for filling the gaps between pavers, effectively preventing weeds from growing while establishing a visually appealing and walkable path.

We suggest purchasing the 18 or 54-pack 2″ liner cups for this application. These are easier to plant in tight spaces than the larger 2.5-quart size. You’ll want to plant these about 3-4 inches apart to create a seamless carpet between your pavers.

3. Mondo Grass for Erosion Control

Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) is an excellent choice for erosion control on a hill, thanks to its hardy, spreading nature and robust root system. Over time, as this groundcover grass matures, it becomes a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing solution for slope erosion control.

To utilize mondo grass effectively in this role, follow these steps:

  1. Planting: Start by planting mondo grass along the contour lines of the hill. Space the plants about 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the slope’s steepness. Ensure the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil to prevent erosion.
  2. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the mondo grass plants to retain soil moisture and reduce weed growth. Mulch also helps prevent erosion by reducing the impact of heavy rainfall on the hillside.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Periodically check the hillside for signs of erosion. If erosion occurs, consider planting additional mondo grass to reinforce the slope. Prune and thin out the grass as needed to promote airflow and reduce disease risk.
  4. Stabilization: In cases of severe erosion, especially on steeper slopes, consider using erosion control blankets or mats to stabilize the soil until the mondo grass becomes fully established. These mats help protect against runoff and soil displacement.

Mondo grass’s dense, spreading habit and root network help anchor the soil on the hillside, preventing erosion while adding a lush, green, and low-maintenance ground cover.

4. Carex Grass Around Trees

Utilizing Carex grass as a ground cover around the base of a tree is an attractive and functional landscaping choice. With its graceful arching foliage, this versatile and low-growing groundcover grass variety can create a beautiful and natural-looking carpet that enhances the tree’s aesthetic appeal and provides numerous benefits.

Carex grass offers an elegant contrast to the tree’s bark and trunk, adding a layer of texture and color to the base. Its evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage ensures year-round interest, maintaining a lush and green appearance even during the colder months. Moreover, Carex is available in several species and cultivars, offering options for various foliage colors, heights, and textures, allowing you to select the perfect complement to your tree and overall landscape design.

Beyond its visual appeal, Carex grass plays a practical role in tree care. It helps suppress weed growth around the tree, reducing competition for water and nutrients. Additionally, the grass serves as a natural mulch, regulating soil temperature and moisture, which benefits the tree’s root system. Its dense, fibrous root structure also helps prevent soil erosion and compaction, promoting healthier soil conditions for the tree.

Overall, planting Carex grass around the base of a tree not only adds aesthetic charm but also contributes to the tree’s well-being by providing a protective and visually appealing ground cover. Whether you choose Carex as a solitary planting or incorporate it into a broader landscape design, it’s an excellent choice to enhance your tree’s beauty and vitality.

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