How to Use Groundcovers in Your Landscape

-ted lare garden center - groundcover plants -creeping phlox

You may have heard gardeners use the term “groundcover” before, but what actually is it? We’ll answer that and more, featuring great groundcover options for Des Moines and inspiration on how to use groundcover plants in your landscape for maximum impact.  

What Are Groundcovers?

Groundcover plants refer to low-growing ornamental perennial plants that tend to sprawl rather than grow upright. You can find both coniferous and deciduous groundcovers. Groundcovers are a great way to introduce new colors and textures into your landscape design, but you can cover parts of your yard where grass does not thrive or is prone to flooding. 

Groundcovers are excellent for reducing weeds, containing moisture, preventing evaporation, and keeping the roots of your other plants cool. In fact, groundcover plants work very similarly to mulch in your garden beds! It’s a win-win option for style and function. 

Groundcovers for Des Moines 

Select a groundcover plant suitable for your landscape’s growing conditions. A few of our favorite groundcover options for Des Moines include: 

Sedum: Sedums come in a wide array of colors, textures, heights and bloom colors.  It’s an excellent filler for rock gardens and around garden paths.

-ted lare garden center - groundcover plants - pink dianthus

‘Cheddar Pink’ Dianthus: An aesthetically pleasing set of pink, needle-like flowers form on this sun-loving plant in the spring months.


Carex Pensylvanica: An excellent option for planting under trees, this groundcover is tolerant of most things you throw at it, making it perfect for the midwest. These plants have dainty, draping leaves that soften the landscape and blow gently in the breeze.

-ted lare garden center -_groundcover plants - European Wild Ginger

European Wild Ginger: This wild ginger displays glossy, heart-shaped leaves and tiny greenish-yellow flowers in April and May. When contrasted with ferns and fine-texture perennials, it looks great!


Creeping Phlox: As one of the fastest flowering groundcovers, creeping phlox is a favorite amongst many gardeners. Creeping phlox blooms early in the spring, covering the landscape with flowers in shades of purple, pink, or white, and is perfectly suited for the Des Moines climate. You can use this plant to cover rock gardens, cascade down retaining walls or fill vast garden beds.

Vinca: With glossy green foliage or variegated foliage, and periwinkle flowers this medium fast-growing groundcover will have your garden lush in no time! 

How to Use Groundcovers in Your Landscape

Partnered alongside other plants, groundcover plants make a great team in dressing up the landscape. Their slow growth provides movement as the eye moves from one level to another, making a great filler underneath tall plants. In selecting a colorful option like the ‘Cheddar Pink’ groundcover flower listed above, you end up with an eccentric look that you can appreciate both near and far. 

Groundcovers also have a spreading habit that makes them perfect for use along paths. By hiding a brick path or rock bed’s edge with groundcover, you can integrate it more naturally into the landscape design. The options are truly limitless! 

-ted lare garden center - groundcover plants -sloped garden

If there are any spots in your landscape where moisture is always pooling, it might be worth leveling the terrain or adding some groundcover plants to stabilize the soil and absorb excess moisture. You can also plant groundcovers on steep slopes that are hard to mow, where you need to fill gaps, soften edges, or plant where you’d like to replace your lawn! Replace the mulch, river rock, or whichever protective groundcover you prefer.


There are so many groundcover plants available! Pay us a visit at Ted Lare Design Build & Garden Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and we can provide you with more information about selecting the best groundcover for your landscape design so that your yard looks full and beautiful.


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