Design & Decor - Landscaping

Planting a pathway in your yard

Add stepping stones for colour, texture and fragrance

Ideal plants for a pathway

Several companies now market entire lines of low-growing perennials specifically targeted for planting between stepping stones and pavers. The following are reliable plants to try:

Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis–formerly Laurentia fluviatilis) has small, oval, green leaves that are covered with star-shaped, light blue flowers in summer. A fast grower that's happy in sun or part shade, it needs regular watering. Light foot traffic. 5 to 8 centimetres. Zone 5 (worth growing as an annual in colder climates).

Creeping Jenny/Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) spreads so rapidly that some consider it a weed. It thrives in persistently moist areas where other plants will not survive, but will also accept dry conditions. Its bright yellow flowers bloom in midsummer and last for several weeks. Part sun or shade. Lysimachia ‘Aurea' is a cultivar with yellow-green leaves. Moderate foot traffic. 5 centimetres. Zone 4.

Creeping Speedwell (Veronica repens) is fast-growing and drought-tolerant, with small, shiny, green leaves and white or light lavender flowers in spring. A good choice for dark-coloured pavers, it actually thrives in heat and grows well in sun or part shade. 2.5 to 8 centimetres. Zone 4. Veronica pectinata, an extra-hardy alternative, has dense, deeply toothed, mat-like foliage and white-eyed, deep blue flowers. 5 to 8 centimetres. Zone 2.

Irish moss/Scotch moss (Sagina subulata and S. subulata ‘Aurea') provides a lush cover of bright green (Irish) or golden-green (Scotch), highlighted with small, white flowers in late spring. Unlike true mosses, sagina performs well in sun as long as soil is kept moist. Regular footfalls won't bother it at all. 2.5 centimetres. Zone 4.

Labrador violet (Viola labradorica) has rounded green/blue/black leaves and small, purple flowers. While it reseeds well, it serves best as an accent plant because its leaves are too dark for effective massed planting. Sun or part shade. 5 to 10 centimetres. Zone 2.

New Zealand Brass Buttons (Cotula potentillina/Leptinella potentillina) a creeper with hairy, fern-like, grey-green foliage tinged with bronze in fall and small, yellow, daisy-like flowers in spring and summer. Best in sun to part shade. Moderate foot traffic. 2 to 5 centimetres. Zone 5.

Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) has tiny, tight, green leaves that turn bronze in winter. It prefers sun but tolerates part shade as well, and straying feet. 2 to 5 centimetres. Zone 5. Annual or short-lived perennial.

Stonecrop (Sedum acre) has tiny, moss-like, light green leaves and yellow flowers in summer. It's best planted on the outer edges of your path, as sedum is easily crushed. 5 centimetres. Zone 2.

Creeping mazus (Mazus reptans) creates a fast-spreading, bright green mat that accepts some foot traffic. Lavender flowers cover the plant in spring, and even if die-back occurs during winter, it will come back. Can be aggressive. Sun or part shade. 5 centimetres. Zone 4.

Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) has a fuzzy texture and grey-green colour; when stepped on, its leaves release their distinctive fragrance. Small, pink flowers appear in early summer. Low-growing thymes accept fairly heavy foot traffic and actually prefer nutrient-poor soil. Able to thrive in dry conditions. Sun or part shade. 2.5 centimetres. Zone 2.

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