Step Five: Fill It Out with Groundcovers and Low-Growing Plants
The last step is to fill in unused spaces with groundcovers and low-growing plants. Repeated throughout the landscape, they are an effective way to establish a balanced and cohesive look in your garden. Rather than ornamentals, use low-growing perennials herbs and edibles as groundcovers throughout your garden. Groundcover chamomile under a fruit tree can be repeated between flagstones in a pathway. If you use a variegated yellow-and-green ornamental grass in one part of t he garden, repeat that same color scheme with a variegated lemon thyme. Remember common sense when harvesting – don’t harvest and eat the ones that are planted in more pedestrian areas like the edges of driveways and sidewalks; instead, leave those to flower and attract pollinators to the garden or use as cut flowers in your home.
Some favorite edible groundcovers and low-growing plants include:
- blueberries (low bush varieties)
- strawberries (alpine, ever-bearing, and June-bearing)
- chamomile (‘Roman’ variety)
- Corsican mint
- other mints (use only in contained areas and pull back from around bases of trees and shrubs)
- oregano (try variegated ‘White Anniversary’)
- rosemary (prostrate varieties)
- sage (try ‘La Crema’,. ‘Tricolor’, and golden varieties)
- sweet woodruff
- thyme (try ‘Caraway’, creeping, ‘Spicy Orange’, lime, variegated lemon, and silver varieties)
- winter savory
Now that we have walked you through the design principles of a beautiful garden and the five steps for planning a garden, you are ready to apply these ideas to your front yard, backyard, and other smaller garden spaces.
Find the book at Johnson’s for more information
Bennett, Leslie and Stefani Bittner. (2013). The Beautiful Edible Garden. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.