Garden Solutions Center Ask the Expert

Got a question? Ask and find your answer right here.


We are looking to plant grass or ground cover in a specific area around our house and are looking for ideas. Outside our back porch we made long terraced steps with soil on the flat part. It is on the north side with sun only a few months a year. We have 2 large German Shepherds trampling over it and live in the middle of AZ. We’re about 4500 feet, so high desert but still dry most of the year. Any suggestions? Thank you. :)


2 answers

  1. Hi Petfam! Though it may seem a tough challenge to find recommendations for a steppable grass or groundcover for your high desert area, I do have a few recommendations for you.

    As for grass solutions, tall fescue, creeping red fescue, St. Augustine and Zoysia all have shade tolerance from low to moderate. However one of the best new introductions for high desert Arizona is TifGrand Bermudagrass sod.

    As for a groundcover that can tolerant shade and foot traffic (or in your case, dog traffic), here are a few that can handle the challenge:

    - Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia Aurea) likes moderate to regular water but it will also adapt to low water areas.

    - Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) grows fast, has fragrant flowers in late spring to early summer, and tolerates moderate foot traffic.

    - Lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina ‘Helen von Stein’) is a large-leaved version of common lamb's ears, with dense growth and soft, silvery foliage. It's also drought tolerant and easily grown in any average to poor garden soil with good drainage; best for minimal foot traffic only.

    - Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans) forms a solid carpet of foliage and spring to early summer bloom and is very adaptable as long as it's grown in well-drained soil.

    1. In response to Kris_Wetherbee

      You are amazing Kris. Thanks for another in depth, extensive answer to my question.
      The Snow-in-summer sounds interesting with a fragrance. We will try one or more of these and see what works best.
      Thanks again!

Ask the Expert

Recent Activities