Q: I want to convert our backyard to a more eco-friendly lawn. I’d like to see a variety of colors and textures in the area. What do you recommend?
A: I consulted native plant expert Shannon Pable (shannonpable.com). She suggests selfheal, Prunella vulgaris, violets, Viola spp., green ‘n’ gold, Chrysoganum virginianum, mazus, Mazus reptans, and bluestar creeper, Pratia pedunculata. All of these spread readily by seed and runners and stay fairly low. In my experience they are better suited for semi-shade to shade locations. Not many low-growing plants are suitable for a full sun lawn. Consider dwarf yarrow, heat-tolerant bluegrass and groundcover roses in the Drift and Flower Carpet series.