Turf Alternatives


Site Selection

Plant Selection

Design Guidelines

When to Plant

Prepare the Site



Whatcom County Groundcovers

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Plant Selection

It's important to spend time choosing the best plant for the site. The groundcover chart (see inside) lists characteristics of different plants. Some factors you need to consider:

  • Light exposure: Is it a shady area or full sun? Some groundcovers can do well in either sun or shade.
  • Water needs: What is the typical moisture in your soil? The less water you have to add, the better.
  • Soil type: Is your soil heavy with clay, or mostly sandy? Pick plants suited to existing soil.
  • Foot traffic: Will there be lots? Some plants are more tolerant of this than others.
  • Maintenance: What will the plants need to stay happy? Some are nearly maintenance free.
  • Winter appearance: What will the plant look like during the winter? Many groundcovers are evergreen.
  • Size of the area: How much plant material will you need? You may want to start with a small area and slowly enlarge it.
  • Growth rates: How slowly or aggressively will this plant grow?
  • Native or noxious: Is this plant native to our climate? This can ease your maintenance in some cases. Don't select plants that are legally designated as "noxious" (call the Whatcom County Noxious Weed Control Board at (360) 354-3990 for a current list).
  • Features: Consider color, blooming times, berries, and foliage.

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For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736
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