Organic ground covers are an essential component of sustainable landscaping practices. They not only provide aesthetic appeal but also offer numerous environmental benefits. In this glossary, we will explore what organic ground covers are, their advantages, and how they can be effectively used in landscaping projects.

Definition of Organic Ground Covers

Organic ground covers refer to plants or materials that are used to cover the soil surface in landscaping projects. These ground covers are typically composed of organic matter such as mulch, wood chips, or living plants. They serve as a protective layer, preventing soil erosion, conserving moisture, and suppressing weed growth.

Advantages of Organic Ground Covers

There are several advantages to using organic ground covers in landscaping projects:

1. Soil Erosion Control: Organic ground covers help to prevent soil erosion by acting as a barrier between the soil and external elements such as wind and water. This is particularly beneficial on sloped areas where erosion is more likely to occur.

2. Moisture Conservation: By covering the soil surface, organic ground covers help to retain moisture in the soil. This reduces the need for frequent watering and promotes healthier plant growth.

3. Weed Suppression: Organic ground covers can effectively suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating. This reduces the need for chemical herbicides and promotes a more sustainable approach to weed control.

4. Temperature Regulation: Organic ground covers act as insulation for the soil, helping to regulate soil temperature. This is particularly important in extreme climates, where the ground covers can protect plants from frost or excessive heat.

5. Aesthetic Appeal: Organic ground covers can enhance the visual appeal of landscaping projects by adding texture, color, and depth to the overall design. They can be used to create beautiful pathways, borders, or focal points in gardens.

Types of Organic Ground Covers

There are various types of organic ground covers that can be used in landscaping projects. Some popular options include:

1. Mulch: Mulch is a common organic ground cover made from shredded bark, wood chips, or compost. It helps to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and improve soil fertility.

2. Living Plants: Ground covers can also be living plants such as low-growing perennials or ornamental grasses. These plants provide additional benefits such as attracting pollinators and providing habitat for beneficial insects.

3. Groundcover Shrubs: Certain shrubs, such as creeping juniper or creeping thyme, can be used as ground covers. These shrubs have a spreading growth habit and can effectively cover large areas of soil.

4. Moss: Moss is a unique ground cover option that thrives in shaded, moist areas. It adds a lush, green carpet-like appearance to the landscape and requires minimal maintenance.

Best Practices for Using Organic Ground Covers

When using organic ground covers in landscaping projects, it is important to follow these best practices:

1. Site Preparation: Prepare the site by removing weeds, rocks, and debris before applying the ground cover. This will ensure better coverage and reduce competition for resources.

2. Proper Installation: Install the ground cover evenly and at an appropriate depth. This will help to maximize its effectiveness in controlling weeds and conserving moisture.

3. Maintenance: Regularly maintain the ground cover by replenishing mulch or trimming plants as needed. This will help to maintain its appearance and effectiveness over time.

4. Consider Local Conditions: Choose organic ground covers that are well-suited to the local climate, soil type, and sun exposure. This will ensure better performance and longevity of the ground cover.


Organic ground covers are a valuable tool in sustainable landscaping practices. They offer numerous benefits such as soil erosion control, moisture conservation, weed suppression, temperature regulation, and aesthetic appeal. By understanding the different types of organic ground covers and following best practices for their use, landscapers can create beautiful and environmentally-friendly outdoor spaces.