Six eco-friendly, edible ground cover alternatives to the grassy lawn

Given the environmentally intensive practices it takes to maintain, it’s high time the traditional lawn makes way for alternatives that are more sustainable, demand fewer resources, and can even make a great addition to your culinary ingredients.

In fact, replacing only part of your lawn with edible ground covers can keep your yard green and lush without having to mow it regularly, while also reaping the benefits of having more delicious plants at home. Here are six great ground cover plants to replace the grassy lawn with:

  1. Mint. Mint likes moist, shady areas, and typically spreads rapidly, which can be both a blessing (to quickly cover larger areas) and a curse (it may invade other growing beds).
  2. Creeping thyme. Along with being a great culinary herb, the low-growing, creeping thyme makes an excellent edible ground cover that can also stand up to light foot traffic, so it lends itself to growing on or near garden paths.
  3. Alpine strawberry. While incredibly fragrant and flavorful, due to their relatively small size, the berries produced by alpine strawberries aren’t a great fruit crop on their own. However, they can be used in areas where you don’t want them to spread since most of the alpine varieties don’t send out runners, and their low-growing habit makes them a great addition to borders and edge plantings.
  4. Creeping rosemary. Another popular culinary herb, the creeping rosemary variety makes an excellent addition to yards, and because it’s drought-tolerant and evergreen, it offers a few advantages over other ground covers, especially in arid regions.
  5. Wintergreen. Better known as a flavor than as a ground cover plant, both the leaves and the red berries of wintergreen are edible and have a unique taste that can be added to teas or recipes. Wintergreen prefers a shadier location, such as under trees, and is a bit slower growing than other ground covers.
  6. Oregano. Also a member of the mint family, oregano is another popular culinary herb that can be used as an edible ground cover. Oregano is fairly drought-tolerant, prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and is one of those plants that really dislikes staying too moist. The plant responds well to being pinched back by retaining a lower and bushier habit and can be harvested quite often for its fragrant leaves.

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