Groundcover suggestions for a tricky situation
Hello all! I am new to this forum, so bear with me if I did something wrong.
I am looking for a groundcover solution that can hold up to two dogs and an active toddler. It also needs to be dog and kid safe (non-toxic and not dangerous for dogs or kids, so no thorns etc), stay green all year, and not be mowed. I'm in zone 10a and considering Corsican Mint, one of the thymes, or whatever you suggest! More details below.
I have a small backyard that is largely hardscaped with planters around the edges. The center has an 8' diameter circle and four wedge shapes coming off it that are currently wood chips. I considered fake grass, but just recoil at the idea. Real grass would probably have trouble with the dogs, and definitely need mowing. I am considering putting some stepping stones around the circle, etc, and filling in with ground cover plants to minimize the stepping they get.
We are deemed zone 10a. I'm in the San Francisco area, but get generous sun between the fog. It is an area that gets a lot of direct sun. Right now, over 10 hours, in the winter more like 7. There are two dogs and a toddler that use the yard a lot every day.
I'm leaning towards Corsican Mint (mint is one of my favorite plants, and I have several types growing elsewhere in the garden) or one of the ornamental thymes, since I am trying to keep the garden largely edible. Will they hold up to a kid playing ball, occasionally mashing it with a plastic tricycle when he gets off the path, and dogs chasing each other? How long will they need to be roped off from the animals after planting?
Thanks in advance for any advice!