How to Use Ground Cover Plants on a Sloped Area


Sloped areas of the landscape require the use of special plants. Ground covers serve the dual purpose of decorating the landscape and controlling erosion on a slope. These low growing plants spread by individual roots or rhizomes, a tunneling vine-like root that lies just beneath the soil surface. Choose a type of ground cover that grows rapidly to reap the benefits on the sloped landscape area.

Step 1

Select a ground cover appropriate for the area. Determine the sunlight requirements and match these needs to the correct type of plant. Other considerations include growth speed, soil needs, and the aesthetic value of the ground cover plant. Check the recommended spacing for your chosen plant to determine the number of specimens needed to adequately cover the sloped area.

Step 2

Remove all weeds from the sloped area using a hoe, trowel or shovel. Weeds will compete for soil nutrients, space and water in any garden. Healthy ground cover plants will eventually smother the chances of any weed incursion in the sloped garden.

Step 3

Carefully turn over sections of the planting site to a depth of 6 inches. Stirring up the soil allows for easier root penetration as the ground cover becomes acclimated to the new planting site. Since tilling on a slope may be difficult, choose specific areas or staggered rows to cultivate for planting ground cover plugs.

Step 4

Add a soil amendment such as compost or manure to the planting site. Work 2 to 3 inches of compost or other organic material into the planting site. Blend soil with the organic material to create a healthy home for the ground cover plants.

Step 5

Dig individual holes or a trench for each plant based on the size of the transplant container. Carefully separate the ground cover plant from the plastic pot by squeezing the outside of the container. Grab the plant between the thumb and forefinger directly above the root ball. Lift gently to remove it from the pot. Wiggle your fingers into the soil around the root mass to promote outward root growth.

Step 6

Place the plant in the hole and check the planting depth. Roots should lie right below the surrounding soil surface. Pour amended soil around the root ball and tap lightly to firm the soil.

Step 7

Water the ground cover regularly during the first months after initial planting. The best option for watering thoroughly is a soaker hose to apply a trickle of water that will penetrate deeply into the garden soil.

Step 8

Add a layer of mulch to the sloped planting area to limit erosion and keep weeds under control. Monitor the site regularly to check for new weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Ground cover plants
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Trowel
  • Mulch
  • Garden hose and water


  • Colorado State University: Ground Cover Plants
  • North Carolina State University: Ground Cover
Keywords: groundcover on slopes, ground cover slopes, planting ground cover

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.