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9 Alternatives To Grass

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Having a lawn can be nice, but mowing twice a week in April, May, and June can become a drag. The solution? Adding ground-cover plants to your yard! We’ve put together a list of perennials and small shrubs that are all short (less than 8”), very easy to care for, and native to Oregon. The sooner you start planting the better, as these plants need to establish roots before the soil gets dry in the summer.

1. Early Blue Violet

A fragrant carpet of purple in the early spring and summer would look great in any yard.

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Type: Perennial
Size: 4” tall 18” wide
How much sun: Full sun, part shade or shade
How much water: Dry or moist soil
Special care: Spread by seeds

2. Western Starflower

Naturally found in forests, this groundcover is perfect for the hills of South & Southwest Eugene and Veneta.

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Type: Perennial
Size: 4-8” tall 12” wide
How much sun: Part shade or shade
How much water: Dry or moist soil

3. Broadleaf Stonecrop

Add a rainbow of colors to your yard with this yellow-blooming succulent.

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Type: Evergreen perennial
Size: 2-8” tall 18” wide
How much sun: Full sun or part shade
How much water: Dry or moist soil
Special care: Prefers well-drained soil; great for rock gardens

4. Oregon Stonecrop

Pair with broadleaf stonecrop, spreading phlox, and Kinnikinnick for a multi-textured rock garden.

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Type: Evergreen perennial
Size: 3-6” tall 18” wide
How much sun: Full sun or part shade
How much water: Dry or moist soil
Special care: Prefers well-drained soil; great for rock gardens

5. Spreading Phlox

Mix varieties to create a mosaic of red, pink, white, and purple blooms.

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Type: Evergreen perennial
Size: 4” tall 12-18” wide
How much sun: Full sun
How much water: Dry or moist soil
Special care: Prefers well-drained soil; great for rock gardens

6. Oregon Redwood Sorrel

Add a little patch of (faux) clover to a dry shady spot in your yard.

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Type: Perennial
Size: 8” tall 24-36” wide
How much sun: Part shade or shade
How much water: Moist soil
Special Care: Spreads by rhizomes

7. Oregon Wild Strawberry

An edible, fragrant, and year-round attractive alternative to grass - does it get better than that?

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Type: Semi-Evergreen perennial
Size: 3-5” tall 12” wide
How much sun: Full sun or part shade
How much water: Moist soil

8. Kinnikinnick

A year round shrub that will make your yard a destination for local birds, butterflies and bees.

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Type: Small evergreen shrub
Size: 5-8” tall 2-15” wide
How much sun: Full sun
How much water: Dry or moist soil
Special care: Prefers well-drained soil

9. Western Twinflower

Blooms bell-shaped, paired, pink flowers in summer - who knew groundcover could look so lovely!

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Type: Small evergreen shrub
Size: 6” tall 24” wide
How much sun: Part shade or sun
How much water: Moist soil

Looking for more local plants? This guide will help you discover trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals that grow well in Oregon. For help designing your grass-free yard learn more about our landscaping services.


Tags: Flowers, Garden, Inspiration, Landscape, Lane County, Oregon, Seasonal, Yard Maintenance/Lawn Care

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