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Mountain Gardening: Creeping Plants Soften Hard Edges

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Cascading groundcover plants like phlox and thyme can soften the edge of walkways and driveways.

groundcover cascading over rocks
Turkish veronica

I've always liked the look of delicate groundcovers that cascade over rock walls or grow in the nooks and crannies of flagstone paths. These creeping plants, especially those with colorful flowers, help soften the look of the hard edges created by walkways, walls, stepping stones and brick planters.

Groundcovers that spread vigorously are well-suited for these tasks. Creeping phlox, woolly thyme, alyssum, rock soapwort and snow-in-summer are just a few of the hardy, low-maintenance plants that do well in the Mountain region.

Another plant I'd recommend for taking the edge off is one of my favorites--Turkish veronica (Veronica liwanensis).

Turkish veronica (also called Turkish speedwell) is a perennial groundcover, with tiny round leaves that form a lush carpet. This plant grows in full sun to part shade and can tolerate dry soil once established.

In early spring, when the rest of the landscape is still a dull brown, Turkish veronica foliage is already bright green. From April to June its leaves are covered with small bright-blue flowers.

Fall is an ideal time to add groundcovers to soften the hardscape in your landscape. Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Match plants to the area's sun, soil and water conditions. Make sure the groundcover can handle the hardscape's reflected light and heat.

2. Look for fast-growing groundcovers that have creeping or draping habits. Plant them close together so they fill in quickly.

3. Choose plants that are cold-hardy, have interesting textures and are reliable bloomers. Mix or match flower colors for a spectacular spring display.

See more by this author.

Want to soften some of the hard edges in your landscape? Here's a video how-to.