It would be great if nobody ever trampled your landscaping.

But that’s not reality for a commercial property.

People don't always stay on your hardscape paths, opting for shortcuts through the landscape.

Feet don’t always land exactly on stepping stones.

Areas around front entrances can take a beating.

Luckily, some plants are up to the challenge, offering both beauty and toughness in your high-traffic landscape.

Here’s a look at some of the best plants for foot traffic. Go ahead, step on them. They can take it.

— Creeping Blue Mazus. (Mazus reptans).

This fast-spreading plant blooms in May and June with pale purple flowers with yellow and white speckled centers. Perfect for between stepping stones, it’s often used as a lawn substitute. That’s how sturdy it is. It thrives in sun to part sun.

— Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow.’

This is also known as bugle weed, but “Burgundy Glow ajuga” sounds more elegant. This tough plant spreads quickly and features creamy white and green variegated leaves with lilac blooms. It prefers shade to part shade.

best plants for foot traffic

—  Ice plant (Delosperma).

Heat? Drought? No problem. It loves full sun. Ice plant has succulent-like foliage that’s so trendy right now. Easy to grow, it blooms June through September with daisy-like flowers.

It has a cascading growth habit that looks great tumbling over a wall, as a ground cover or between stepping stones. Ice plant isn’t just one of the best plants for foot traffic — it can also do double duty in a container or as the front border of a landscaped bed.

—  Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).


The bright, cheerful foliage of this fast spreader brightens rock gardens and works great between stepping stones. But don’t stop there. It’s a great container plant, too, spilling prettily over the edges of pots.

—  Moss Pinks (Phlox subulata).

A tough ground cover for flower lovers, this pretty plant blooms in mid to late spring with a carpet of pink or purple blooms. Its foliage is evergreen, which adds great texture to rock gardens or along paths.

— Sedum.

Too many varieties to list them all here, but any variety of sedum ground cover is a great bet for high foot traffic areas.


Two of our favorites?

Stonecrop (sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’) and sedum floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold.’

That last one is a real mouthful, but worth the pronunciation struggle. It offers golden yellow flowers in June and July, then the finely textured, fleshy foliage turns red in the fall.

‘Angelina’ is a beauty, too. The tips of this almost neon yellow evergreen turn reddish-orange in the fall and winter, then it blooms with yellow flowers in early summer.

—  Creeping thyme.

We love Thymus praecox ‘Pink Chintz.’ This pretty plant with the girly name is a vigorous low-grower, blooming in May and June. Tiny pink flowers cover the fuzzy leaves of this drought-tolerant plant. Step on it, then sniff. You’re rewarded with a pleasing, herby scent. Pretty much perfect for heavy foot traffic.

Using Plants To Direct Foot Traffic

Plants can actually direct pedestrians in high foot traffic areas.

We’ve planted thorny barberries and pyracantha as a way to direct pedestrian traffic away from landscaped beds, encouraging people to use an existing path. Nobody likes getting snagged by thorns.

A grouping of large planters can steer people in the direction you want them to go. Hedges or rows of closely-planted shrubs have a way of keeping people out. Most people prefer not to hurdle.

Level Green: Meeting All Your Property’s Needs

Here at Level Green Landscaping, we love solving the peskiest landscaping predicaments, from high foot traffic areas to hot, dry parking lots to water-logged spots that attract ducks.

We do it all.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

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