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How to Grow a Living Garden Rug with Pretty Ground Cover Plants

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How to Grow a Living Garden Rug with Pretty Ground Cover Plants


Do you love the feel of soft moss and cool ground cover plants under your feet? Grow a living garden rug this season with hearty, low-lying perennials and create a living work of art right under your feet.

Use herbs, plants, and moss that grow densely and employ a range of colors and textures to make your garden sing.

Gardening can be a fantastic way to relax, get in touch with the earth, and indulge your creativity. Got a green thumb? Level up your garden with a living rug that you design!

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From the Organic Authority Files

How to Grow a Garden Rug

  1. Map out your garden on graph paper before you buy any plants. Look for inspiration in your favorite textiles, global designs, or geometric patterns. Don’t get too crazy with a super intricate design on your first try; sometimes less is more.
  2. Choose the right plants: hearty, ground cover plants that will stand up to footsteps and afternoon naps (see our list below). Consider the foliage’s color as well as its shape and size. Each type of plant offers a unique visual texture.
  3. Try before you buy. Take your graph paper design to the gardening store and set plants together in order to see how they look. Prepare to be flexible if you can’t find the plants you want or if something different strikes your fancy.
  4. Plant your garden rug! Be sure to start with an even surface and use high-quality, organic soil. Nestle plants close together and water your garden well while it’s taking root. Afterward, keep your garden’s soil moist but well-drained.
  5. Maintain your design. Use an electric hedge trimmer (or scissors if you’re a perfectionist) to prune your garden rug and keep it even. To preserve the integrity of your design, you’ll need to periodically redefine its inner borders. Plunge a long knife deep into the ground between plant types to stop runners and roots from spreading

Great Ground Cover Plants for Outdoor Garden Rugs

Choose hearty, low-growing perennials for your living rug.

  • Brass Buttons – This soft plant features tiny, feather-like fronds in a range of colors, plus small yellow flowers that bloom in late spring/early summer.
  • Ajuga – Add drama with this glossy, deep purple plant, which is also known as carpetweed or bugleweed. It forms a dense mat but likes to spread – be sure to use that butter knife on this one!
  • Irish Moss – Lay back on this fuzzy-soft, bright green carpet and dream about rainbows on the Emerald Isle. At just 1-2 inches in height, moss is perfect for adding textural contrast with higher, leafier plants.
  • Thyme Speedwell – Love purple? This herb offers itty-bitty evergreen leaves that burst into bright violet-blue flowers every spring. One of the most popular ground cover plants, it also attracts butterflies!
  • Wooly Thyme – Super furry leaves and a sublime scent make this sturdy herb a good choice for your garden. Miniature pink blooms will appear in the summer.
  • Creeping Speedwell Sunshine – Plant this mat-forming, ground-hugging plant for a pop of golden lime-green on your garden rug.

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