How to Do Ground Cover


Ground cover plants are low-growing plants that help against soil erosion, spread quickly and form a dense layer of foliage to cover up the ground. They are perennials that will grow for many years and come in many varieties. Depending on your climate you can grow different kinds of ground cover, from drought-tolerant ground cover to wetland ground cover. Many different types of ground cover plants are also shade tolerant.

Step 1

Choose a ground cover plant that will grow well in your climate and growing conditions (from soil type to light requirements).

Step 2

Choose a place in your garden to plant the ground cover. Remember that ground cover is not supposed to be walked on and works best in borders.

Step 3

Remove any rocks and weeds from the soil with a rake. Use a cultivator to break up the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and work 2 to 3 inches of compost into the soil. Add 1 tsp. of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every square foot to the soil and work it in to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.

Step 4

Dig holes in the soil deep enough to accommodate the ground cover's root ball and two times as wide. Space each hole 4 to 6 inches apart. Place one plant in each hole and fill the hole with soil, patting it down firmly.

Step 5

Water the ground cover plants deeply. Add water to the plants at their roots and make sure it seeps into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Water the ground cover according to its requirements.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Cultivator
  • Compost
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer


  • Clemson University: Groundcovers
  • West Virginia University: Ground Covers
  • University of Missouri: Selected Ground Covers for Missouri
Keywords: use ground cover, ground cover information, plant ground cover

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.