Ground Cover

After extensive research, during the planning stage of our permaculture yard, I came up with the following list that can work well in my Zone 5b, semi-arid, Colorado climate.  Please note that this list hasn’t been tested yet.  I will update as I test species in my yard.  It is purely based on research.

Ground Cover Layer Plants
Type of Plant Specific breed Notes Source
Bean (Wild) Trailing Wild Bean (Strophostyles helvula) Full sun


Nitrogen fixing

Not edible
Groundnut Soil: rich, moist


Nitrogen fixing

Edible tubers

Edible seed pods

Attacks beneficial insects ($1.50 per tuber)


Hog Peanut Shade tolerant Nitrogen Fixing


Mint Mountain Doesn’t spread like other mint

Bloom: white, late spring – summer

Edible herb
Apple Less invasive than other mints

Bloom: white, late spring – summer

Full to part sun

Edible herb
Oregano Greek Full Sun

24”H x 18”S

Bloom: White, Mid-Summer

Edible herb
Parsely Curly Full to Part Sun

18”H x 12”S

Bloom: Chartruese, Summer

Edible herb
Italian Flat Leaf Full to Part Sun

18”H x 12”S

Bloom: White, Spring

Edible herb
Pea (wild) Blue-Ridge Buckbean (Thermopsis caroliniana) Full Sun, Partial Shade

Height: 4 feet

Bloom: yellow, may & june

Nitrogen Fixing
Sorrel Blonde de Lyon Full to Part Sun

24”H x 18”

Bloom: Red, mid summer

Stinging Nettle Damp, rich soil

Full sun, partial shade


Strawberries Eversweet Strawberry Everbearing

Continuing producing in high heat

Ripens in summer to frost


Ozark Beauty Hardiest, most vigorous


Ripens in early summer to frost

Tribute Vigorous day-neutral

Ripens in spring to frost

Tolerates leaf scorch and blight

Disease resistant to red stele and verticillium wilt


Wild Strawberry Full Sun, Part Shade, Shade

Ripens in late spring/early summer

Wet to dry soil moisture
Wonderful Pineberry Everbearing

Ripens in spring to frost


Thyme Lemon Full Sun


Bloom: Pink/lavender, mid summer

Edible herb
English Full sun


Bloom: Lavender, Mid-Summer

Edible herb