Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 3
   June 2009
 
   Alternatives to Grass Lawns
 

Creeping Thyme
Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

This is a lovely alternative to grass. It's a low-growing perennial that comes in many varieties and thrives in dry, rocky soil. Aside from a little supplemental water to get it started, this plant will not need further watering, mowing or fertilizing. It spreads into a thick carpet of tiny delicate leaves that hug the ground and give off a wonderful savory aroma when stepped on. Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) produces tiny, delicate flowers, and, depending on your location, at certain times in the summer it will transform into a field of pink or purple.

You shouldn't have to worry about foot traffic causing any harm to the plant. However, it doesn't do as well in shady areas and can become a bit patchy.

Periwinkle
For a shady alternative, periwinkle (Vinca minor) can produce a lush green lawn if you have the patience to let it fill in. It may take a couple of years to become thick and full, but it doesn't require fertilization or mowing. It also produces pretty flowers. This plant will grow in the sun, but it doesn't provide as much cover there and tends toward a more yellowish hue. Periwinkle is not as nice to walk on as white clover or bugleflower, but it might be just what you're looking for to fill in that empty spot under your maple or spruce tree.
 
 
               
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