5 Ground Covers for Walkways

Written by David S.

Walkways take up places. They lead from the driveway to the front door or from the back door to outdoor living spaces. Wherever they lead, ground covers help to dress up and soften the hardness of walkways. They add color and textures while leading us down the path. They also help to prevent off-path travel, which can damage lawns. In this article, we go over five types of ground covers that work well with walkways. One last plus for adding ground cover plants along a walkway is that they deter weed growth. Let’sLet’s get started! 

1 Creeping Thyme —Thymus serpyllum

Creeping Thyme, also known as wild Thyme, or Breckland thyme, is a short, hairy plant that often produces white, purple, or pink flowers. It grows between 2-6 inches tall and spreads to 18″ wide. The dimensions make creeping Thyme a perfect plant for along walkways. 

SOIL — well-drained sandy soil. While drought tolerant once established, regular watering helps the plant to increase the number of blooms. Creeping Thyme likes to have its roots moist but not wet. Mixing a little perlite or other water-absorbing aggregates into the soil helps the soil to hold water and drain. 

USES — Because creeping Thyme is short, you can also plant it between stepping stones to prevent weeds from growing in those spaces. Along a walkway, creeping Thyme will spill over into the walkway softening the hardness of stone or cement. It is easy to prune, should it become too invasive, and once established, it is very forgiving if you forget to water it.

2 Asiatic Jasmine 

Asiatic Jasmine is hardy to zone 10 — 6-8 inches tall and up to three feet in diameter — Asiatic jasmine is easy to grow and requires very little care. It spreads fast and produces fragrant flowers it can fill in small spaces in as little as two years. Despite its name, it is not true jasmine but a close mimic. 

SOIL — Moist and Compost rich soils are best. When established, they can handle some drought conditions. For optimum blooms, they need regular watering. To increase soil moisture retention, add water-absorbing aggregates such as perlite, coconut coir, or vermiculite. Because Asiatic jasmine is a ground cover, it will not require mulching. 

USES — Asiatic jasmine is a bit tall for planting between stepping stones, but it does a fantastic job of outlining pathways and walkways. Plant along the harder surfaces and allow it to break up those hard lines with its beautiful foliage and flowers. The plant responds well to pruning, so keeping it out of the walkway is not tricky. 

3 Heuchera — Coral Bells 

Heuchera is a perennial plant that grows 6-18 inches tall. It is a little taller than many ground covers, but it spreads to 36″ in width. It is one of the most attractive plants you will find, and the many cultivars bloom from spring to early summer. However, it is the foliage of the Heuchera plant that is most attractive. The colors range from beautiful rusts and coppers to deep purples and greens. Some varieties are variegated. 

Heuchera plants make lovely ground cover plants, and they remain attractive all year long. These are evergreen plants, so those beautiful leaves remain, even in the colder times of the year. 

SOIL — Heuchera plants love soil that is well-drained and organically rich. Once they have become established, they require very little care. Regular water is best if you want the foliage to remain vibrant. 

USES — Plant Heuchera plants along a walkway to prevent off-path travel. As taller plants, they do an excellent job of directing traffic along a pathway. Heuchera plants are very cherry due to their vivid colors. They make lovely “welcoming” plants and would be excellent from the driveway to the front door or from the curb to the front door. Their beautiful and colorful foliage also adds a sense of comfort to outdoor living areas. 

4 Butterfly Sage — Cordia globosa

While not exactly a ground cover, butterfly sage is more of a small-medium shrub. The plant acts as a ground cover with a spread of 6-8 feet. The small flowers are a favorite of butterflies and bees. After flowing, the plant produces vibrant red berries, which bring birds to your yard. This is an excellent choice for areas with partial shade. They do not grow well in full sun or windy spots. Keep them somewhat sheltered and in a location where they get afternoon shade. With that bit of precautionary note, butterfly sage can be hardy to zone 11. 

SOIL — Butterfly sage needs well-draining soil. Too much water or moisture in the soil cause root rot. They are not fussy about soil texture, so long as it is not boggy. Average garden soil is excellent for these plants. 

USES — Butterfly Sage grows to ten feet in height. They make beautiful hedgerows along pathways and walkways. If you need to keep people on the path, a tall hedge of butterfly sage does the job. 

5 Sedums 

Sedums are quite striking plants, and some offer unique blooms. The more miniature sedum succulents will happily grow between stepping stones. Grown as a solid blanket along a path is one way to add beauty and happiness to the area. The stunning range of foliage color is only outdone by the unique textures of sedums. Plant them in a single cultivar blanket or mix the varieties to create a beautiful abstract piece of living art. 

SOIL — Sedum plants do not like boggy soil. Keep the soil sandy and well-draining. Aim for a soil pH that is close to 7.0. Once established, sedum plants are drought tolerant. They do better and will spread faster with regular watering. 

USES — Sedum plants come in an array of sizes and heights. The smaller plants are lovely between stepping stones. Both tall and short varieties will do excellent along pathways. The bright color of foliage can help show where to step in the moonlight. 

Pathways and ground cover plants are a match made in heaven. These five ground covers that we discuss here offer many uses and will outline pathways and beautiful walkways. Learn more about the many varieties of ground covering plants that we offer by stopping by one of our five Southern California locations. Our plant experts can show you our ground cover plants and tell you how to make them thrive. 

Do you like what you see? Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get content like this every week!