Stand-on plants are the alternative to solid pathways and paved areas. Gardens need water to move into the soil and with solid paved areas the amount of water getting down to your trees and shrubs is restricted. Although not new plants, the concept of Stand-on plants are a selection of plants highlighted as being perfect to walk over and are ideal to grow between pavers and along walkways.
Low growing and fast spreading is the key to these plants, depending on the variety the more often you stand on them the more compact they grow.
Creating a living pathway
Besides getting creative with a living pathway consider creating a living patio under a tree where you can place seating and enjoy the natural shade while the water from rain or irrigation can move through the patio to the tree and shrub roots below. Shade from overhanging trees is called dry shade due to the trees competing for water.
There are some tricks for growing great living pathways that are important if you are determined to succeed. Some gardener’s plant between every paver or part plant and part gravel. Either way, be creative with your design letting your own personality show through making your pathway a signature piece.
Some practical tips:
The choice of paver is a good place to start. Laying a grid pattern or a random pattern with different size pavers will change the feel of the pathway. Random sizes leave bigger gaps allowing for more greenery. Once the area has been prepared and is more or less level you can lay your pattern. If you are going for a perfect grid we recommend you cut a stick at the desired gap size and use it as a guide, much easier that using string and a measuring tape.
If you are laying a checkerboard design complete two rows first then remove the alternate ones and continue with the pattern. A handy tip is to not put soil between you pavers. Lay them and when you plant the soil level will come up but not spill over. This way the plants are guided by the paver edge and do not grow over the top.
With a paver and pebble combination pathway first put down Weed-shield, a water permeable mat which helps with weed control and to prevent your gravel or pebbles from being washed away or becoming muddy. Cut holes into your Weed-guard where the plants will go in. Once the pavers are laid and plants planted you can fill the gaps with your pebbles or gravel.
These plants are made for walking:
We can certainly guide you instore as to which is the best Stand-on plants for your living pathway but here are some of our selection to consider walking over.
Daisy Lawn -Phyla
The indigenous Daisy Lawn also known as Phyla has a small pink daisy like flower through summer. If walked on frequently the Daisy Lawn stays low and compact but will grow to about 15cm if left. This makes an interesting choice on a long pathway where it will stay low in the middle but soften the sides of the pathway. One can also cut this every now and then to keep your pavers clear.
Star Creeper - Pratia
This cute little ground cover covers in tiny blue flowers in spring and autumn. Called star Creeper, Pratia is perfect for small spaces and as a slower grower needs very little maintenance. Best in a sunny spot it will handle light shade but that will limit the amount of flowers. The tiny leaves look a lot like peace in the home and the plant has the same growth habit.
Silver Leaf -Dymondia
We love Dymondia. One of the flattest growing groundcovers it is very hardy and tough. The grey green foliage has a silver underside and a yellow daisy like flowers appears through summer. Waterwise and cold tolerant makes this sun loving carpet a rock star in our books.
Peppermint Lawn - Mentha
This is one of our all time favourites to walk over. Mentha is a flat growing mint that fills the air with a wonderful scent when crushed. Growing in semi-shade to full sun they are a bright emerald green. Look out for the small leafed Requenii perfect for grid patterns or the Penny Royal which will spill over the edges in a more informal design.
Growing in full day sun the Thyme covers in tiny white and pink flowers throughout summer. There are different varieties of Thyme available some a bit taller other grow to less than one centimetre high making it perfect to walk over or to stand on. Thyme is the Mediterranean herb used in a number of food dishes and ideal to grow and harvest for the spice rack.
To keep your Stand-on plants resilient and growing well we recommend that you feed them regularly. Use an organic fertiliser as this will make their leaves tougher and they will grow even