March 25 2024 0Comment
Landscape Design Tips in NZ

Ground Covers for Your Front Yard: Landscape Design Tips in NZ

I. Introduction

Ever wondered how to transform your front yard into a lush, low-maintenance landscape? The secret may lie in selecting the right ground covers, which are much more exciting than boring, old mulch.

Ground-covering plants offer a wealth of benefits, from enhancing aesthetic appeal to improving soil health. This article will provide practical tips to help you make the most of these versatile plants in your front yard.

Ground covering plants come in a range of shapes and growth habits, but they’re all low-growing and act like a living mulch.

II. Understanding Ground Covers

Ground covers are plants that grow low to the ground, spreading outwards rather than upwards. They play several crucial roles in landscape design and maintenance. For one, they can help prevent soil erosion and suppress weed growth.

Additionally, ground covers can enhance the visual appeal of your garden by adding texture, colour, and contrast. They can also provide habitat and food resources for beneficial organisms, such as parasitoid insects that can help control common garden pests like caterpillars, aphids and many others.

III. Factors to Consider when Choosing Ground Covers

When selecting ground covers, it’s important to consider several factors. New Zealand has diverse climates, ranging from subtropical in the north to temperate in the south, and the climates and micro climates of your specific space can significantly influence your choice.

Soil conditions, sunlight exposure, and moisture availability will also determine which plants will thrive in your garden.

Consider the mature size of the plant and its maintenance requirements. Also consider the aesthetic appeal of the plant – its foliage, flowers, and growth habit should complement your existing landscape.

IV. Top Ground Cover Plants for Your Front Yard

Compact Dianellas (Dianella spp.)

Compact dianellas are robust, low-maintenance plants known for their striking blue-green foliage and vibrant blue or purple berries. They usually thrive in well-drained soil under full sun or partial shade. Compact dianellas are excellent for mass planting, creating visual interest and providing a contrasting backdrop for other plants.

Browse Dianellas:

Baby Bliss™ Dianella revoluta ‘DTN03’.

baby bliss

Lomandras (Lomandra spp.)

Lomandras are versatile ground covers with long, slender leaves that create a soft, flowing effect. They’re drought-tolerant and thrive in a variety of soil conditions. Lomandras are ideal for adding texture and movement to your front yard.

Browse Lomandras:

Evergreen Baby™ Lomandra longifolia subsp. exilis ‘LM600’ PVR.

Liriopes (Liriope spp.)

Liriopes are hardy, evergreen plants that produce beautiful spikes of purple, white, or pink flowers. They are adaptable to different light conditions and soil types. Liriopes are excellent for borders and mass planting, providing year-round interest.

Browse liriopes:

Amethyst™ Liriope muscari.


NZ Flax (Phormium spp.)

Phormiums, widely known as New Zealand flax, are robust evergreen perennials that can add an element of architectural drama to your front yard. They’re characterised by their large, sword-shaped leaves, which come in a variety of colours, from rich greens to deep purples and vibrant reds. They can generally tolerate full sun to partial shade and thrive in various soil types, as long as the soil is well-drained. The size of phormiums can vary significantly depending on the species or cultivar, with some varieties reaching up to 3 metres in height. In contrast, others remain compact and perfect for ground cover.

Browse phormiums:

Sweet Mist™ Phormium tenax ‘PHOS2’ PVR.

sweet mist

Ground-Covering Westringias (Westringia spp.)

Westringias are hardy shrubs with grey-green foliage and delicate white, purple or blue flowers. They’re drought-tolerant and require minimal maintenance once established. Westringias are perfect for coastal gardens and can be used as a low hedge or ground cover.

Browse westringias:

Low Horizon™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES06’ PVR.

V. How to Successfully Incorporate Ground Covers into Your Landscape Design

Successfully incorporating ground covers into your landscape design involves preparing the soil, using appropriate planting techniques, and providing ongoing care and maintenance. Additionally, consider contrasting textures, alternating colours, or creating patterns with different species.

VI. Conclusion

Ground covers offer an exciting way to enhance your front yard’s aesthetic appeal while also improving its functionality. By considering factors like local climate, soil conditions, and maintenance requirements, you can select the right plants to transform your landscape. So why not experiment with ground covers and discover the difference they can make to your garden?