I have an eyesore that needs some help. There is a weedy, lumpy, ugly slope behind my property that is difficult to mow. I want to rototill it smooth and plant some kind of attractive groundcover. It should be able to take full sun, clay soil, a certain amount of foot-traffic, not be invasive, and not need any mowing. Can you help me find this miracle plant?
Fortunately, there are several plant choices for your situation that will stay under 2 feet tall and provide a good, ground-covering effect. The only criteria that will be difficult to satisfy is that of foot traffic, which can be solved by leaving a bit of extra space between plants along the primary paths. Once the area has been planted and covered with a 3 inch layer of shredded bark mulch, which holds the best on slopes, these foot paths will become nicely edged with the trailing tips of the plants. Even if an occasional foot lands on this growth, little, if any, damage will occur to the plant.
Here are lists of some plants that will work the best. For quicker coverage, plant on 4 foot centers, or you may choose slower, more economical coverage at 6 foot centers. In both cases, regular watering and proper fertilization will produce faster coverage. Evergreen: Siberian Cypress; Blue Chip Juniper; Blue Carpet Juniper; Calgary Carpet Juniper; Grey Owl Juniper; Sargent Green Juniper; Creeping Norway Spruce; Wardii Yew. Deciduous: Green Mound Currant; Gold Tide Forsythia; Longacre Potentilla; Magic Carpet Spirea; Gro-Low Sumac; Cutleaf Stephanandra.