You’re thinking about paving your yard, both the front and the back and you’re open to new ideas. The regular pavement style doesn’t interest you and you want synergy between nature and man-made pavers. That means widely spaced pavers with ground cover plants between them. You can search for “paving companies near me” and hire professionals to build your dream pavement for you. Let’s check out how you can choose plants between your pavers.
- Sun exposure – The first thing that you need to consider before choosing ground cover plants is the amount of sunlight the pavers get. You need to make sure that the plants between your pavers get an adequate amount of sunlight to stay green and healthy. You don’t want the ground cover to die off due to lack of sunlight and go through the whole process all over again.
To check the sun exposure, you need to select the area you want to get paved. After that, you need to keep a record of the sun exposure that area gets throughout the day. Record the number of hours that area gets sunlight each day for a week and get to the average. In gardening, plants are categorized by five different levels of sun exposure.
Full sun means the plants get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Partial sun refers to four to six hours of sunlight and partial shade refers to plants that thrive with just four hours of sunlight each day. On the other hand, there are plants that thrive in dappled sun. It means, they can’t take direct sunlight. Instead, they prefer sunlight from the gaps of tree leaves in a “dappled” pattern. Finally, there are full shade plants that require less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Once you’ve figured out the sun exposure received by the selected area, you can choose plants that align with it. For instance, ground covers like Dymondia and creeping thyme thrive in full sun while chamomile and sedums will also grow in partial shade.
- Foot traffic – After you’ve figured out the sun exposure of the area that needs to be paved; you have a long list of plants that fit the category. Next, it’s time to filter out plants from that list as you move through each relevant factor. After sun exposure, let’s look at foot traffic. Foot traffic is very important since it tells you the amount of physical damage the plants can take.
Generally, plants with delicate leaf structures tend to be less durable and can tolerate less traffic. That’s why you need to figure out the amount of foot traffic the paved area will get. Would the paved area have people walking over it just once a day, once a week, or several times a day? Would you allow guests to use that paved area during a busy party or would you redirect guests to a different route?
After you figure out the potential foot traffic of the paved area, you need to filter out plants accordingly. For instance, if you get full sun or partial sun and estimate heavy foot traffic, Rupturewort may be the perfect ground cover. It has tough foliage that almost feels like a carpet and can easily withstand heavy foot traffic.
- Space between the pavers – Gaps between pavers can vary depending on the material and the design. That’s why it’s important to find the right plants that can fill in those gaps without encroaching on the pavers. For instance, if you plant a fast-growing and wide-spreading creeper between narrow gaps, the plant will quickly outgrow those gaps and bring you endless chores. You’ll be sending most of your time on trimming and maintenance.
For narrow gaps, you’ll need to look for plants that can be sliced into small pieces and planted between the pavers. Dwarf Mondo is a good example. You can easily slice into their root system with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors and plant them as you want. This is not possible with plants that grow from the main stem. Similarly, you can’t plant something that is slow to grow and has sparse foliage in between wide gaps. It will make the paved space look unplanned and ugly.
- Drainage – After deciding on the gaps, it’s time to figure out the soil drainage. You need to figure out if the soil stays dry, soggy, or consistently damp. This is important since there are plants that can’t tolerate a lot of water around their roots and others that can even thrive in swamps. To test the soil drainage, dig a hole that’s one foot wide and deep.
Fill it up with water and allow it to drain overnight. On the next morning, fill it up with water again and measure the dip in water level every hour till there’s no water left. This helps you figure out the drainage rate of the soil. Ideally, you’ll want the drainage to be around 2.5cm to 7.5cm every hour. You can also choose your ground cover plant and change the drainage of the soil to fix its needs. This can be done by mixing compost and other ingredients.
- Style – If you want to stick to a formal-looking paved area, you may want to choose a single type of plant and maintain that uniform look. Most people go for this traditional style. On the other hand, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to make the paved area look more natural, you may choose more than one type of ground cover plant.
You can choose from a wide variety of plants for your pavers. However, all of them may not be suitable for you. You need to factor in things like sun exposure, foot traffic, available space between the pavers, and more before you make a choice. Either way, you can search for “paving companies near me” and hire professionals to pave your yard exactly the way you want.