With adequate irrigation, many types of grasses and lawns do well in Denver. However, the concept of xeriscaping, or environmental design that minimizes the need for water use, originated with the Denver water department to encourage local residents to switch from plants and ground covers that require large amounts of water to plants that require very little water. Although some years, Denver can get more than enough water, the local area is semi-arid and periods of drought lasting for several years are not uncommon. As such, planting low water requirement groundcovers in Denver is not just recommended by Denver Water, it can also save you money in the long run.
Turkish speedwell, or Veronica liwanensis, has round, glossy leaves and spreads quickly. Although an attractive Denver ground cover when not in bloom, it sprouts small blue flowers in the spring that give the effect of a periwinkle carpet where Turkish speedwell grows. Turkish speedwell grows to about 2 inches tall and each plant can reach around 18 inches wide. Turkish speedwell grows well either in partial sun or in full sun and requires very little water, thus making it a good ground cover for xeriscaped landscapes.
Greek yarrow differs from taller types of yarrow in that it will only grow 4 inches tall and will grow into dense mat of evergreen vegetation. This slow spreading perennial produces white flowers with yellow centers in the spring and summer. Greek yarrow plants will eventually grow to around 4 inches tall and about 18 inches in diameter. Greek yarrow has a gray green foliage. Due to its very low water requirements, Greek yarrow is suitable for use in xeriscaped locations.
Woolly thyme is a resilient ground cover that can tolerate moderate foot traffic and thus is useful as a possible lawn replacement. When grown in, this grayish green mat occasionally produces small yellow flowers. For walkways, woolly thyme is an ideal plant to grow between paving stones. Woolly thyme is low growing, only reaching a height of between 1 and 2 inches at most. Each plant, however, can spread to around 18 inches. The woolly thyme flowers in the summer and requires very little water, making it a plant suitable for xeriscaping in the Denver area.
Hardy Yellow Iceplant
Hardy yellow iceplant is an unusual and visually interesting ground cover suitable, because of its low water requirements, as groundcover in xeriscaped landscapes in the Denver area. As a succulent, hardy yellow iceplant is not suitable for walkways or other areas with foot traffic. The plump green leaves of this succulent turn to a red purple in the fall and winter. Hardy yellow iceplant produces bright yellow daisy like flowers in the late spring. This plant can tolerate hot sun and the heat of nearby asphalt or concrete. Since it is a succulent, this plant requires very little water.