Updated date:

Best Ground Cover Plants for Lawn: Peanut Plant and Carabao Grass

Author:

After living in the city for 30 years, EC moved to the countryside. He writes about life in the mountains, dogs, plants, and cooking.

The Peanut Plant is not a grass but it makes good ground cover.

The Peanut Plant is not a grass but it makes good ground cover.

Introduction

The lawn is commonly found in the front part of the house. Most homeowners take pride in having immaculately green grass on their lawns. A small fortune is invested on fancy sprinklers and lawn mowers for proper maintenance of the lawn. Lately, most lawns are being sacrificed due to shortage of funds. Lawn grasses are left to grow tall and unruly because mowing is not a weekly routine anymore. Or the grasses die because water is being conserved, too.

4 Types of Plants Used as Ground Covers for the Lawn

  1. Vines
  2. Herbs
  3. Shrubs
  4. Mosses

Vines are woody plants with thin and wide-spread stems. Examples: Common Ivy, Kudzu, Bougainvillea, and Morning Glory.

Herbaceous plants typically die at the end of growing season or after they had flowered and bore fruit; then they will grow again from seeds. Examples: Peony, Mint, Ferns, and Grasses.

Shrubs are also woody plants with multiple stems and small height. Examples: Lavender, Periwinkle, Common Juniper, and Mountain Pine.

Mosses are small and soft plants that do not have flowers or seeds but reproduce through spores. Simple-structured leaves cover wiry-thin stems.Examples: Red moss capsules, Wall screw moss, and Dawsonia superba (which is considered as the tallest land moss).

Carabao Grass

Close-up image of Carabao Grass

Close-up image of Carabao Grass

Lawn Grass

Lawn grass need not be expensive.

Lawn grass need not be expensive.

The Carabao grass is sturdy against drought and flood. It does not need much attention. No pesticides and fertilizers are used to grow this hardy variety of grass. Since it tends to grow close to the ground, the Carabao grass does not need to be mowed.

Because it is easy to grow, the Carabao grass is the best ground cover plant. You can grow it by seeding directly into the soil or by transplanting. Most plant stores and nurseries sell Carabao grass by small square pieces. You have to water the newly planted grass everyday on the first week to let the young roots grow into the soil. Of course, you must level the surface of the ground first if you're planting on new lawns.

Dawsonia Superba with Cone

Dawsonia Superba with Cone

Dawsonia Superba with Cone

Carabao Grass Grow Close to the Ground

Carabao plants tend to grow close to soil.

Carabao plants tend to grow close to soil.

Carabao Grass is Drought-Resistant

Carabao grass is drought-resistant.

Carabao grass is drought-resistant.

How to Plant the Local Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass

The Buffalo grass is another type of sturdy ground cover plant for the lawn. It is also highly resistant to drought. However, this variety tend to grow robustly so you may have to mow the overgrowth to the desired length. Aside from transplanting, you may also grow the Buffalo grass through direct seeding method.

Management of Buffalo Grass

Peanut plant is a type of ornamental grass.

Peanut plant is a type of ornamental grass.

Peanut plants are best to grow in rows.  (Photos by Connie Veneracion from houseonahill)

Peanut plants are best to grow in rows. (Photos by Connie Veneracion from houseonahill)

How to Grow Ornamental Peanut Plants

The Peanut Plant is a Good Ground Cover

This ground cover plant got its name 'peanut' from its flowers that are shaped like peanuts. Because this is categorized as an ornamental grass, the Peanut Plant is often used as accents along the lawn's front and sides of pathwalks. This plant is also sturdy.

The Peanut Plant is also a no-fuss type of ground cover. Just buy several seedling plants in small black bags from the nursery or plant stores. Like other plants, the ideal time to transplant the Peanut plant seedlings into the soil is during the late afternoon. The young plants will be given time to adjust in their new environment during the night.

To further lessen the stress during transplanting, remove only the bottom of the black bag so the soil around the seedling will not be dislodged. This way, less roots will be cut during the process. Gently pack the lawn soil around the small plants. Since the Peanut plant grows horizontally rather than vertically, place an allowance of 6 to 12 inches between each plant. This will give the runners more room to spread on.

Watering is given in small amounts in the early mornings and late afternoons on the first few days. If you're using garden soil for the lawn, you don't have to fertilize the plants. But a sprinkle of organic fertilizer every now and then will help them grow strong and healthy. No need to use herbicide, too. Over-all maintenance care is very simple and easy. Just pull out the weeds that will sprout along with the Peanut plants.

Drainage is as Important as Watering to Ground Cover Plants

All plants need proper drainage system to protect the roots. Too much water causes the roots to rot and the plants to die.

During cultivation of soil or while laying on garden soil, make sure that the edges are in much lower elevation. Excess water must flow freely away from the plants after enough moisture was absorbed by the soil.

When proper sloping is observed in the planning stage of the garden, the actual maintenance of the plants would not be too much demanding.

When a new home has an empty lawn, the sight of the raw earth with a smattering of rocks and concrete bits could be intimidating. Do not lose heart. A garden takes time to develop so careful planning is a must.

Design a garden with long-term enjoyment in mind. The lack of trees in the vicinity should not be despairing. Shaded areas can be created by simply giving crawling plants freedom to grow all over a light structure made of welded steel for support and sturdy screen as roof.

To stop feeling overwhelmed with so much empty space in the outdoor part of the home, build a fence around it. A low concrete wall or tall wooden fence will look better when paint is applied. Several coats of paint also provide protection.

Look for small trees in plant nurseries. Overgrown seedlings have better chance of survival when transplanted. Fruit trees are good choices because they will provide fresh fruits after a few years.

A wide grassy space is the quickest way to make a green lawn. A simple trick is to create a gently sloping surface of packed garden soil. Place concrete hollow blocks around the edges to help prevent soil erosion. Plant small shrubs to give additional support to both the blocks and the earth.

A Japanese-style garden requires a bit of time and effort. This design is appropriate to build on naturally sloping area.

Carving the land into a series of steps will inspire the gardener to put together a variety of colorful and flowering plants, along with the choice of grass or ground cover plants.

City Lawn (Photo courtesy by Robbie1 from Flickr.com)

City Lawn (Photo courtesy by Robbie1 from Flickr.com)

Clover (Photo courtesy by Alexcion from Flickr.com)

Clover (Photo courtesy by Alexcion from Flickr.com)

Colorful Leaves on the Lawn (Photo courtesy by Marco Arment from Flickr.com)

Colorful Leaves on the Lawn (Photo courtesy by Marco Arment from Flickr.com)

Cool Green Garden (Photo courtesy by Dominic's pics from Flickr.com)

Cool Green Garden (Photo courtesy by Dominic's pics from Flickr.com)

Crocus in the Lawn (Photo courtesy by Between a Rock from Flickr.com)

Crocus in the Lawn (Photo courtesy by Between a Rock from Flickr.com)

Crocuses in the Lawn (Photo courtesy by jhritz from Flickr.com)

Crocuses in the Lawn (Photo courtesy by jhritz from Flickr.com)

Freedom Lawn in Pennsylvania (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Freedom Lawn in Pennsylvania (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Grass Needs Cutting (Photo courtesy by somegeekintn from Flickr.com)

Grass Needs Cutting (Photo courtesy by somegeekintn from Flickr.com)

Green Elephants Garden Sculptures (Photo courtesy by epSos.de from Flickr.com)

Green Elephants Garden Sculptures (Photo courtesy by epSos.de from Flickr.com)

Green Grass After the Rain (Photo courtesy by Aussiegall from Flickr.com)

Green Grass After the Rain (Photo courtesy by Aussiegall from Flickr.com)

Hinton Ampner (Photo courtesy by Peter Curbishley from Flickr.com)

Hinton Ampner (Photo courtesy by Peter Curbishley from Flickr.com)

Lawn with Smal Flowers (Photo courtesy by shaire productions from Flickr.com)

Lawn with Smal Flowers (Photo courtesy by shaire productions from Flickr.com)

Mixed Garden (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Mixed Garden (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Munro's Greens (Photo courtesy by friedwater from Flickr.com)

Munro's Greens (Photo courtesy by friedwater from Flickr.com)

Stepping Stones on Grass (Photo courtesy by varun shinde from Flickr.com)

Stepping Stones on Grass (Photo courtesy by varun shinde from Flickr.com)

Spring in Bistrita (Photo courtesy by bortescgristian from Flickr.com)

Spring in Bistrita (Photo courtesy by bortescgristian from Flickr.com)

Shrubs in the Frontyard (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Shrubs in the Frontyard (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Rolled Grass (Photo courtesy by chrstphre from Flickr.com)

Rolled Grass (Photo courtesy by chrstphre from Flickr.com)

Sedum Acre and Clover (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Sedum Acre and Clover (Photo courtesy by Sustainable Gardener from Flickr.com)

Zigzag Grass (Photo courtesy by Andreanna Moya Photography from Flickr.com)

Zigzag Grass (Photo courtesy by Andreanna Moya Photography from Flickr.com)

Comments

Thelma Alberts from Germany on October 08, 2018:

Thank you very much for this informative hub. Now I know that the ground cover of my garden path is called Peanut plant. I have asked some of the people who have this plant but they didn't know the name.

jimmy on February 28, 2012:

from my own searching, it appears carabao grass or plants is something grown for philipino cows? to graze on.. not a specific plant... but hope lives on. which led me to cow pasture foliage here which looks good as you drive by but i assume it needs to be munched on or it will grow tall etc. goal is to have something fairly short like mowed grass but not mowed. not sure it's out there.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on February 27, 2012:

Thanks for the visit, daviddwarren22! :)

Hi Jimmy, I'll search for you about this one and create a hub. Thanks for the question. :)

jimmy on February 26, 2012:

where does one buy the carabao plants or seeds. have a lawn that needs ground cover , not grass that needs to be mowed and cared for. am in florida.

daviddwarren22 on October 26, 2011:

Amazing, this is interesting article.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 05, 2011:

Hi Anne, thanks for reading :)

I suggest you cut the plant down to its roots, using a pair of garden scissors, rather than pulling it out. This way, the level of your soil won't be destroyed. To inhibit or slow down the plant from over-growing to forbidden areas, surround it with flat stones or wood planks. Regular trimming is also recommended to maintain control. Hope this helps :)

Anne on September 03, 2011:

Do you know how to remove peanut plant from areas where it doesn't belong? I planted a berm with it and it is wonderful but very aggressive. It has moved into areas I'd prefer it not be, and its roots are extensive, deep and horizontal, creating a thatched effect. I would like to eradicate it from these areaa but don't know the best system. It's almost impossible to pull up by the roots. Thanks so much for any suggestions!

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on October 04, 2010:

Thank you, Lita :D When we had a catfish pond, I planted peanut plants around the edges to prevent soil erosion -- and it worked! I put rock slabs as foot path to avoid trampling the cute yellow flowers. I missed the view when we moved to the city. :( I envy you. lol

Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on October 04, 2010:

I planted only last July the peanut plant to cover a long stretch of path leading to our nipa hut (bahay-kubo). Only 3 months and I now see only few small patches of ground uncovered. From a good distance, it looks so beautiful teeming with small yellow flowers. Dragonflies and butterflies make the view a sight to behold.

I don't appreciate much the carabao. I prefer the blue grass for my lawn as it is finer. This is a very beautiful and useful garden hub. Voted up!

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 15, 2010:

Thank Maryanne :) We have the same dream haha

Maryanne Maguire from Santa Monica, CA on September 15, 2010:

Beautiful photos! Hopefully our yard will be in one someday :)

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 14, 2010:

hello elayne001 - Thank you for reading and the warm comment :)

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on September 13, 2010:

Fantastic hub - very thorough and useful. Some beautiful pictures of groomed yards.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 01, 2010:

I'm sorry about your grass plants, wicklesscandles. From my personal experience, dry or dead spots in our lawn grass were sometimes caused by trampling, too much acid level in soil (maybe too much fertilizer or chemicals), and too much water (uneven ground level that retains water). If trampling and leveling were not the causes, you may want to change the soil in the troubled spots. Hope this helps :) Thank you for the visit!

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 01, 2010:

Thank you, Ultimate Hubber... I'm glad you liked the pictures :D

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on September 01, 2010:

Thank you for the comments: Lawn Grubs Queensland & Fred Thoburn - Lawn Mower Guy... Hope you'd join HubPages :D

wicklesscandles on September 01, 2010:

For some reason we have been having a problem with our grass dying in spots. So bad, that my neighbor put in fake grass. I can't do that, so I am considering the Carabao.

Fred Thoburn - Lawn Mower Guy on September 01, 2010:

Carabao grass, that I already have. Next on my list is the bougainvillea. I think there are lots of colors to choose from.

Ultimate Hubber on May 17, 2010:

Awesome hub!

Loved all the pictures and bookmarked the hub to see them again and again. Would love to try zigzag grass and then walk on it barefooted.

Lawn Grubs Queensland on April 11, 2010:

Herbs are my favorite for the ground cover as they have a medicinal value for home remedies in case of a cold or any other small time problem faced everyday.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on June 09, 2009:

Hello, manlypoetryman! I'm glad you like the hub. It's been a pleasure doing this :)

ManlyPoetryMan from (Texas) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before... on June 09, 2009:

Thanks for all the great info...going to use some of the plants you mentioned in a new above ground flowerbed that I made to raise a low spot in my yard. Thank you for this hub...it helped me with many ideas!

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on June 02, 2009:

Hello, greek girl! Thanks so much for dropping by again. btw, I received your message. I think it's a bug. You should report it. :)

greek girl on June 02, 2009:

thanks for the great hub! I like the carabao grass and I think I'm gonna try it on the bald spot in my yard...

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on May 12, 2009:

Hello, Amy M. Thank you for dropping by. Yes, please try the carabao or buffalo grass. They are both sturdy and do not need much attention. Just water them everyday, preferably in the early morning.

Amy M from Manzano Mountains on May 12, 2009:

I live in the woods. We have a very small area of grass and the rest is dirt. I have several different ground covers here and there. I will try this one.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on May 06, 2009:

Thank you. It's been a pleasure writing this hub--plus hunting for the pictures. :)

eaasi3574 on May 05, 2009:

Great Hub! Very informative with lots of sound advice. Works for me!

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on May 05, 2009:

Thank you very much for dropping by, K.D. Clement :)

K.D. Clement from USA on May 05, 2009:

Gorgeous hub! Lots of relevant information. Going to bookmark this.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on May 05, 2009:

Hello, Barbara! Thank you for reading :) Carabao and Buffalo are both sturdy types of ground cover. You can water them with the water you used in soaping and washing your clothes (as long as you didn't use warm or hot water, that is).

Barbara Yurkoski on May 05, 2009:

Interesting article with good information. In my province cosmetic pesticides have just been banned, so more people should be looking at options to grass.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on April 21, 2009:

Whoa! Snakes! Yup, there were snake visitors but they were driven away quickly by our dogs. Disturbing the corner areas (especially the shady ones) by thumping a long stick on the ground, and removing clinging and climbing plants also helped. If you got squatter snakes, try burning a small pile of dried leaves near suspicious places in your backyard. The heat would drive those scaly creatures away. Thanks again for dropping by :D

shibashake on April 21, 2009:

Thanks for the suggestions. Btw. did you ever have a problem with snakes getting into your backyard? Any suggestions with that will also be greatly appreciated :)

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on April 20, 2009:

Thanks again, RKHenry. Yup, I love the red moss, too. Colorful and easy to maintain. :)

Hello, Shibashake. When we're living in the country, our ground cover plants were the peanut plant and the Carabao grass. We had 6 dogs that loved to romp on the grass. Afterwards, there are patches of grass scratched out from the soil. We just lay them back on the ground, sprinkle some water, and leave them alone for a day or two so the grass could recover from the stress. For some reasons, our dogs never bothered the peanut plants. Hope these info helped. Thank you for dropping by :D

shibashake on April 19, 2009:

Great information and pictures. I have been looking for a good, fast-growing ground-cover that can withstand the attention of dogs - any suggestions?

RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on April 18, 2009:

The peanut plant, eh? Well, I'll have to try that. The red moss looks lovely as well. Thanks for the info.

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on April 17, 2009:

That sound paradise to me. I'd feel like a nymph if I'd be living in the woods. :D Thanks for dropping by!

Christine Mulberry on April 17, 2009:

The Carabao sounds like an interesting option. Actually if I had my choice I would live in a woods and forget the plants and ground cover. Great info!

Related Articles