Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Groundcover Revolution by Kathy Jentz
on February 7, 2023
Genres: Non Fiction
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Turns out you’re not alone in your desire to ditch the lawn and replace it with something prettier, more diverse, lower maintenance, welcoming to pollinators, and good for Earth’s climate health. Reducing the lawn is among the biggest trends in homeownership, with an endless stream of homeowners looking for an eco-friendly alternative to a traditional turfgrass lawn. In the last few years alone, over 23 million American adults converted part of their lawn to a natural landscape, and now they’re looking to do even more.
The biggest challenge to adopting this new ideal of the perfect lawn? Knowing how and when to replace your turf, and which plants are the best ones for the job. Groundcover Revolution is here with all the answers you need (and some you didn’t even know you needed!).
Those answers include:
How replacing a lawn with groundcovers reduces resource consumption on a significant level
Why groundcovers require far less long-term maintenance than turf after establishment
The many additional benefits of groundcovers, including erosion control, a reduction in chemical usage, a boost in biodiversity, and mitigation of climate change as a carbon sink
The ways groundcovers overcome challenges such as tree roots, compacted soils, poor drainage, and dense shade
The step-by-step mechanics of how to get rid of your lawn, how to place and plant groundcovers from seeds, plugs, or transplants, and how to care for your new “quilted lawn” once it’s in place
Also included are 40 in-depth profiles of plants that are perfect choices for replacing a grass lawn. There are options for sun, for shade, for dry and wet sites, and for various climates around the globe. There are choices that bloom, options that are evergreen, and selections that are deer resistant. Author Kathy Jentz has also included an incredibly useful chart that gives youall the specifics on each of the 40 choices for quick reference and to make your groundcover selection process even easier.
When you’re ready to go beyond manicured lawns and pristine flowerbeds, or have your eye on some tricky little parcels of ground that grass and conventional gardening beds don’t answer, you’re ready for GroundCover Revolution. I spotted this one and had a moment to know before I even cracked the cover that I was going to find the answers to my gardening and greenscaping questions.
GroundCover Revolution first challenges readers to consider going woodsy and non-traditional with their yards and the benefits of doing so, the author’s personal journey to the answers found in this book, and then a general overview with considerations before diving into the ground cover plant profiles of a select popular 40. In other words, this isn’t an exhaustive bio of all ground cover that exists, but the best representatives for the target audience reading the book.
There are plants that thrive in full sun to full shade, low moisture to very moist, different soil types and even those that do well in the cracks of the sidewalk or spilling over a wall if needed. Some are flowering and others are evergreen. Most attract pollinators, butterflies and feed the birds, do well against deer and others critters that wander in, and survive colder winters. All seasons of growth were represented as were various heights, density, and textures and colors. Most are good weed blockers and if they multiply a lot, there is indication of that, too. There are good hints about how and when to plant as well as what pair well and look good together. I loved knowing that most are easy to take clippings for plant starters. Some take a few years to grow and be full, but there are an equal number that settle into their new soil quickly.
This was easy to understand and very practical. It left me excited for what I could do with little strips of lawn that are a pain to mow, areas that get too much moisture or shade for lawn or traditional flowers to thrive, rocky areas, and other problem spots. I loved all the mentions of low-maintenance and weed blocking. I do not live in an area where people would freak out if I got rid of all our lawn and went totally woodland wild, but I thought her section on how to transition neighbors and homeowner associations to ‘going wild’ was a nice piece.
All in all this is a great resource for the hobby gardener or landscaper’s bookshelf and I know I’ll consult it quite often.
There’s only a few places I would use groundcover and really none in my current yard. But I understand the use of it, and I’m glad to know you found a worthwhile reference.
Yeah, I’ve got some small strips that are either too shaded and damp or just getting impossible to mow so I really liked the ideas I got in this one.
I bought ground cover/cover crop seeds because I do have some large spaces and thought it would be nice to have covers that don’t require as much water and upkeep as grass. I think I’d really enjoy this guide. I have a lot of shady areas too, so I’m interested in reading on that. Thanks for bringing this guide to my attention, Sophia!
Yes, those shady patches are my big issue. Glad to put you onto this one. I like how she presents plants that can survive a variety of things all in the same yard. The phlox I put on a hilly spot in our yard is really doing well so now I need to tackle a couple of odd strips of ground.
Thanks so much for this! I’m lucky enough to have a house and yard with no HOA but I’ve had mixed (well, mostly bad) success in establishing ground cover other than grass. Especially the awkward little 12-inch strip next to the driveway that is sloped and needs something to keep the dirt there when it rains. So far, only crab grass, mint, and a very enthusiastic weed have taken to it. Ugh.
I’m so glad this book can help you out, Kate. LOL, I’ve killed several poor plants trying to get things to work out in a couple spots. My little hill area that gets partial sun and is fairly dry did well with phlox. The first year it took time adjusting and then took off by the second season. It has the most pretty carpet of purple flowers every May, too.
I think I need this book! I”m glad it’s ok for novice gardeners
It’s definitely a good gardening resource for beginners. Glad to put it on your radar.
That would be great for people out here in Vegas because we have watering schedules with big fines for people who water their yards on days they aren’t supposed to. Lots of places won’t let you have a lawn because grass tends to need so much water and we have a water shortage here.
Yes, it is a good fit exactly for folks who have to watch their water usage and there are plenty of plant types for dry and arid or full sun that are listed in here.
I wish I had a green thumb!
Some ground cover is tough to kill. You might do all right with it. 🙂
Interesting! My yard is really too small to think of groundcover. I can’t even keep grass in the backyard where my dogs run…lol.
I know what you’re describing. That hard-packed dog trail that they create because of their exact same route through the yard. LOL, you could always line it with with rocks or border and pretend you meant for those trails to be there. Haha!
This sounds wonderful, Sophia! We just went by the florist to pick up some flowers and plants to brighten our space and give us the impression that we’re really in spring despite the remnants of snow outside hahaha I like how informative and accessible this book turned out to be though. Thanks for sharing! 😀
How fun! I feel like spring plant and flower shopping is like a holiday- and especially if the snow is still sticking around. Enjoy those uplifting colorful blooms, Lashaan! 🙂