Buglewood (Ajuga reptans), also known as carpetweed, grows to about 6 inches tall. Buglewood is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 4 through 10a. In the spring, look for 6-inch tall spikes of blue, white, or pink blooms. For added interest, look for varieties where the glossy leaves are red, yellow, or pink. Buglewood prefers shade, but will grow in full sun in northern planting zones.
Dwarf juniper (Juniperus procumbens) grows to about 18 inches tall. This low-growing groundcover is an evergreen shrub that spreads 4 to 6 feet. Dwarf juniper in cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 to 9. The shrub grows in full sun to part shade. A big plus for choosing dwarf juniper as a replacement for grass is that this evergreen can handle dry to moist soil conditions.
Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) is a perennial is USDA planting south of zone 7. Blooms of purple or white display from late spring to first frost. This drought-tolerant plant grows about 1 foot tall and 4 feet wide. Plant in full sun. If you live north of USDA zone 8, trailing lantana grows as an annual.
Lily turf (Liriope muscari) is a perennial grass. The long, slender leaves are variegated (creamy center surrounded by green) stands out against any landscape. Lily turf is cold hardy in USDA planting zone 5 through 10. The plants form a root ball that can be dug up and divided about every three years to increase coverage area. In late summer to early fall, spirals of lavender colored flowers display. For a dense array of green leaves, set plants about 12 inches apart in full sun to part shade. In early spring, mow or cut back the plants to the clump level.
Big Leaf Periwinkle
Big leaf periwinkle (Vinca major) grows quickly to a height of about 12 inches. Suitable for USDA planting zones 6 through 9, periwinkle prefers partial to full shade. The dark green leaves are 1 to 3 inches long. In the spring, big leaf periwinkle set 2-inch blue blooms.
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