Planting & Landscaping

What to Plant Between Pavers: For Sun and Shade

It's springtime, and you're getting your hands dirty, planting a walkway with paving stones in the garden.

Planting the perfect garden between pavers and stepping stones is easier than you think.

What should you plant? Your planting will depend on where you live and what kind of soil you have.

Type of Soil

What is the soil you have to work with? With some basic knowledge about your area's soil type, you're ready to get started.

Either choose plants that will grow well in your soil type or amend the soil to suit the plants' requirements.


The soil drainage will be based on the type of soil in your area.

In sandy soils, water can run quickly, and nutrients leach out more easily than if you have clay or loamy soil types. 

Take this into account when choosing plants that will grow well in these conditions.

Adding lots of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure will help with the soil's drainage.

Position - Sun or Shade

Before choosing your plants:

  1. Check on how much sun the area receives all day.
  2. If you have a sunnier area, choose plants that will thrive in hot and dry conditions.
  3. If it's shadier, consider shade-loving plants or those tolerant of less sunlight.

By matching plants to their environment, you can create the right look for your garden.

Foot Traffic

How much traffic will the area get? 

If you have a footpath or the area is often walked on, then choose hardy plants tolerant of trampling.

Or if it only occasionally treads upon, then choose more delicate plants.

Space Between Pavers

How much space available between pavers will there be?

As the gaps between stone pavers are of a wide range, it's important to find plants that suit these areas.

Narrow gaps will suit plants that grow low to the ground and do not spread too rapidly. Wide gaps between pavers will suit spreading varieties or those in a "hurry" and need some extra room!

Grow some low growing annuals in between wide gaps for a colorful summer show. 

Mix it up or Uniformity

Do you want the look of a variety of different plants or the uniformity of one type?

If you want a variety of plants, then choose an assortment that will work well together.

If uniformity is what you're after, then choose the same type of plant to fill each area with one or two varieties at most.


How much time do you have to spend on maintaining your pathway or flagstone patio? 

For a less intensive care pathway, choose plants that require little attention and can be left alone for prolonged periods.

If you have more available time, you can spend on the garden, opt for an assortment of plants with differing maintenance requirements, or even create a "wild" looking path.

Water Requirements 

Do you have a water source nearby? If not, then the plants that do best in dry conditions are your best bet.

Even if there is plenty of rainfall throughout the year, these plants will need supplementary watering for their continued survival.

Plants between Pavers for Sun and Part Sun

Ground cover grown in full sun will help retain moisture, which makes them great for drought-prone areas!

If you live in a climate with dry summers, consider growing ground cover to help water retention and prevent your soil from drying out.

Related: The Dry Creek Bed: Tips and Images

Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) 

Corsican Mint

Corsican Mint is a low-growing groundcover with small mauve flowers that spreads quickly.

It does best in sunny areas without much competition from other plants or grasses for space to grow. Therefore, the main maintenance of the plant is keeping it well-watered during the summer months.

Their aromatic leaves are crushed when stepping on them and emit a wonderful minty smell.

Corsican Mint is a lovely low-maintenance groundcover that will help to prevent weed growth and looks great between pavers!

Creeping Wire Vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris)

This low-growing vine is perfect for sun or part sunny areas. It is a vigorous grower and has masses of small creamy white flowers in summer.

Once this plant is established, it will not need much care besides regular watering during dry periods. It is frost-hardy and does extremely well in coastal gardens.

Creeping Wire Vine will tolerate varying amounts of foot traffic.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)


Moss Rose is a small but fast-growing annual flowering succulent and ideal for those small garden areas that you can replant and freshen up every springtime.

Moss Rose spreads rapidly and is easily grown from seed. Moss Rose bloom from early summer to the first frost.

Moss Rose requires good drainage and will not do well in clay soil if the soil is not amended with some organic matter to improve the drainage.

Irish Moss (Sagina subulata)

Irish Moss is a deep green spreading groundcover plant that will fit into any small gap and needs plenty of space to grow. Although it does equally as well in a large area.

Irish moss produces small white flowers in the spring and summer. When Irish Moss is happy, it reseeds itself every year.

Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae)

Silver Carpet is a flat ground-hugging perennial groundcover with grey-green leaves with white undersides, giving them a variegated look.

Small yellow daisy flowers bloom in summer. They are evergreen and drought tolerant but will grow notably faster with add irrigation.

Native to South Africa, this vibrant ground has been introduced to California.

Common lippia (Phyla nodiflora)

Common lippia is a low-growing, spreading, deciduous perennial. It can be grown in areas that need to be mowed to height 1in (2.5cm). It will tolerate moderate foot traffic.

In spring, it is covered in numerous small purple and white flowers. Common lippia is native to parts of Brazil as well as the United States.

Rosea Ice Plant (Drosanthemum floribundum)

Rosea Ice Plant - Drosanthemum floribundum

Rosea Ice Plant is a dense low growing, spreading succulent with a ground-hugging habit. It has fluorescent pink flowers in spring.

Great for soil erosion control and will be a bonus planted amongst stepping stones on a slope.

Rosea Ice Plant will grow in most soils and all-day sun.

Plants between Pavers for Shade and Part Shade

When selecting the right plant for your garden it is important to take into consideration how much light you'll be getting.

When choosing your ground cover it is important to record how much shade or sun the area will receive over the course of all four season.  As well as when planting under trees whether the tree is evergreen or deciduous. Some trees such as the Jacaranda may be semi-evergreen.

Related: 14 Evergreen Shrubs for Pots in the Shade

Bunchberry (Cornus canadansis)

A vigorously spreading ground cover plant with large white flowers in early summer followed by bright red berries.

Bunchberry thrives in cooler climates. It enjoys acidic woodland soil and will not grow in clay or any alkaline soil.

Baby Tears Plant (Soleirolia soleirolii)

Baby Tears Plant (Soleirolia soleirolii)

A moisture-loving plant with tiny delicate-looking leaves can be planted as a groundcover between pavers in the shade or part shade in warm climates.

It forms a dense mat that spreads quickly in very light traffic areas. Baby Tears has a moss-looking appearance, is easy to grow, and requires little maintenance if kept consistently moist.

Miniature Brass Buttons (Leptinella gruveri)

Native to New Zealand, this low-growing fern-like perennial spreads to form a dense mat of green foliage.

It gets its name from the tiny yellow flowers, which look like tiny buttons in spring.

Brass Buttons need moist soil to thrive and will require regular irrigation. However, it will tolerate very light foot traffic between stepping stones.

Dwarf Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'nigrescens')

Dwarf Black Mondo Grass is low maintenance and easy to grow. A ground-hugging spreading plant. It is a very versatile little plant as it grows well in full sun to part shade or even deep shade.

Dwarf Mondo Grass can take fairly heavy foot traffic, so it is ideal for those areas such as flagstone patios and pathways.

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Creeping Jenny thrives in part shade if the soil is kept consistently moist. Creeping Jenny is a vigorous grower with an attractive mat of green-gold colored leaves.

Creeping Jenny has bright yellow flowers in early to midsummer. Creeping Jenny spreads by rhizomes and will also self-seed in optimum growing conditions in part shade.

Carpet Bugle (Ajuga reptans)

Carpet bugle is a creeping perennial ground cover and enjoys moist soil in a shady position. It is fast-growing and is rabbit and deer resistant.

Carpet Bugle has spikes of fragrant blue or lavender-blue flowers in mid-spring to early summer, depending on the variety.

Easy to propagate in spring or fall by digging up the underground runners and transplanting them.


When planting a groundcover, keep in mind where the plant will grow. For example, if used in high or low traffic areas, on a slope or flat ground, then look for plants that suit these conditions.

Plants that grow quickly and have dense growth make good choices to cover large areas of your patio space.

Consider soil pH levels when selecting suitable plants since some varieties require acidic soils while others prefer alkaline conditions depending on their type and origin.

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