Dog-friendly drought-tolerant groundcover?

artemis78August 17, 2008

We're looking for a good drought-tolerant replacement for our grass lawn, and have been a bit frustrated because we keep finding lovely solutions that can't withstand daily trampling by a dog.

Has anyone had any good experiences with drought-tolerant plantings that can be walked (run/pranced!) on? Our dog is large--75 pounds--so anything at all sensitive to being walked on won't work. We'd also love something that doesn't need mowing, but that's secondary to the drought and dog reqs.

Oh, and we're in the San Francisco Bay Area (but on the warmer side, away from the coast and fog).

Would love to hear what solutions others have found--thanks!


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Nothing will stand up to regular foot (or paw) traffic indefinitely. Even lawns get low track-like pathways through them when foot traffic is routine. If it is occasional or not a set route - difficult with dogs that patrol their territory - you will fare better. Beach strawberry (Fragaria) or Point Reyes ceanothus will tolerate quite a lot of traffic. And being native to much of the west coast, they will be quite drought tolerant once established. The strawberry is flatter, more ground-hugging - the ceanothus will develop a woody structure and can eventually get to be about 15-18" tall.

If the dog has a set routine through the garden (mine always did), you might want to consider formalizing their routes with something more durable, like wood chips or even pavers and use the groundcovers in areas the dog is less likely to romp through. Your choices will increase significantly.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:17PM
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