The Complete Book of Ground Covers

4000 Plants that Reduce Maintenance, Control Erosion, and Beautify the Landscape

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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 11 Oct 2022

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“A magnum opus of ground covers that deserves a place in every gardener’s library.” —Tony Avent, founder and owner Plant Delights Nursery

Ground covers are widely thought of as utilitarian—we turn to them when we have a problem that needs a solution. Yet these plants also offer a diverse range of beautiful and intriguing options with a variety of colors, textures, and forms. They can unify a landscape, knit together plantings and hardscape, and add extra layers of beauty, dynamism, and surprise. As a replacement for lawns, they can reduce our use of water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, carbon-based fuels, and transform a yard into a diverse landscape of habitat and food for native insects, birds, and other wildlife.
In this meticulously researched reference, nurseryman Gary Lewis profiles more than 4000 ground covers that can perform these roles with aplomb. No matter what kinds of conditions you’re facing—shade, dry soil, heavy clay, excess moisture—there’s a ground cover that will thrive and beautify your garden. Comprehensive, practical, and copiously illustrated, this indispensable volume belongs on the shelf of every designer, landscape architect, and serious gardener.
“A magnum opus of ground covers that deserves a place in every gardener’s library.” —Tony Avent, founder and owner Plant Delights Nursery

Ground covers are widely thought of as utilitarian—we turn to...

Advance Praise

"A great purchase for public libraries with lots of gardening patrons, and also for libraries at universities that teach horticulture." —Library Journal

"Lewis will certainly grow readers' knowledge of spreading plants, from Acaena and Japanese forest grass to fleece flowers and mondo grass." —Booklist

"A great purchase for public libraries with lots of gardening patrons, and also for libraries at universities that teach horticulture." —Library Journal

"Lewis will certainly grow readers' knowledge...

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ISBN 9781604694604
PRICE $50.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This is a helpful, well illustrated book. It covers all the information you need and has many lists plus an A to Z guide of many ground covers with many photos and a lot of varieties suggested for each. The lists weren't very helpful for me as they were just long lists by Latin name with no photos. The A to Z guide was nice but I wish it had a photo for each plant (there are still lots of photos). I would have liked a photo section of the best for various things like the ten best for shade, the ten best for cold climates, the ten best for rocky areas, etc. and more about flowering, but it covers so many plants that I guess that couldn't be done (I just read the ultimate guide to flowers that had lists like these). I also wouldn't really consider a lot of these plants ground covers, which to me are sort of like grass alternatives. Many of these are pretty tall plants and are just things to technically cover the ground with in terms of now it's not just ground, and not necessarily low growing. For instance, there are lots of ferns in here and I never thought of them as groundcovers. They're just plants to me. But I'm sure that's my fault and not a fault of the book. It's a well illustrated, in depth book with lots of photos and information.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for review.

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This is a very comprehensive book on ground covers and their uses in the garden. The book is divided on two main sections. The first covers an introduction, planting and design - Whilst the second part is an alphabetic dictionary of the many ground covers available including all information on growing, uses in design and care.
I really like this book as it covers a lot of ground -so to speak -and the photographs and information is easy to understand and use.

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Thorough reference book. Detailed information for hundreds of ground covers. Extensive lists of plants for different conditions such as dry shade, deer resistant, sunny slopes, etc.

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I am a complete novice when it comes to gardening and landscaping but I've been thinking about creating a garden in my backyard. This book does a great job of not only explaining the purpose of ground covers but also all the different varieties and what is right for different soils and conditions. It's a little overwhelming with all the different varieties, but once you know exactly what type of ground cover you want it's a great resource for you. Even if I end up using a landscaper, I will feel better able to offer my own opinions and be active in designing what the garden will ultimately be. I also shared this with my parents so they could better understand why their landscaper artist selected the ground cover he did for their yard. I would recommend this to both adults and young people looking to become landscape architects or who just really love working in a garden.

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I think this is a thorough book covering ground cover plants (pun intended) for gardeners in all planting zones. The plants are arranged from A to Z with color photographs and suggestions for arrangements. Overall, this is an excellent resource for gardeners.

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The Complete Book of Ground Covers is a big title with a lot to live up to. Complete book of Ground Covers? Yup, Gary Lewis achieved it! This book is needed and comprehensive it is!

It begins with an introduction of the types and then it takes off to the many unimaginable available that most people didn't know or dream about. This is a gem of a book! A labor of love that is so obvious because a lot of work went into this book, it shows from the absolute crisp beautiful photos to the valuable information and it could be almost called The Ground Cover Bible. This will be a reference book for me and my appreciation for the endeavor it took to create is immense gratitude. Every applicable imaginable is thought of that is a difficult feat. The alphabetical listing with a photo accompanying every plant and comprehensive info on each plant is gold.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher Timber Press for the opportunity to read The Complete Book of Ground Covers by Gary Lewis.

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The photographs in this book are exceptional and inspiring. The author provides photographs with descriptions of the ground cover along with growing needs. There are lists of ground covers for every type of growing site such as a slope, heavy shade or bright sunlight. After reading this book, you’ll appreciate ground covers and their use and have the confidence of incorporating them in your garden.

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THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GROUND COVERS by Gary Lewis is a must-own for gardeners longing for the straight talk, beautiful photographs, and information beginning and expert gardeners crave. Lewis provides expert guidance in a reference book that feels conversational, as if I'd spent classes mastering the art of ground covers for my current landscape and the ones to come. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

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In “The Complete Book of Ground Covers”, by Gary Lewis, I hoped to identify ground covers in my garden I didn’t know about and find new ones to add to it in addition to learning interesting information about the category of plants in general – I achieved all three! It is a wonderful guide, well written with great photos. Easy to follow and reference, I especially enjoyed the “designing with ground cover” section. I highly recommend it, it’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.

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Extremely informative book about ground covers for landscaping. I’ve been curious about getting rid of our lawn in the front yard and back yard, and this book gave me an alphabetized glossary of every land cover plant possible. I feel more informed going forward with decisions about what kinds of plants will work in my zone. I would say the only thing I missed was a how-to portion about removing your current lawn to replace it with ground cover!

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As someone who has a lot of acreage to weed, I'm a big fan of ground covers! But I also agree with the author that they should be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. I'm always looking for new options in this department, so was thrilled to get the chance to review this comprehensive book on the topic.

The initial portion of the book describes various forms of ground cover and provides recommendations for various situations, including the most challenging. I appreciated the use of tables/lists to suggest plants that would be good for certain settings, such as tight spaces, rain gardens, or as lawn alternatives. I was thrilled to see an entire page listing deer/rabbit resistant ground covers. And I was surprised by some of the plants suggested as ground covers--I may have to try Clematis on the ground!

The majority of the book profiles ground covers from A-Z. There are usually several options suggested for a given species, which is helpful given the goal of making the book useful for different climate areas and different applications. The profiles are certainly comprehensive--nearly 400 pages! While the photos in the first section included several that were vividly portrayed, this section seems a bit mundane in the photo department. This might improve in final printing, however. It would also be helpful if symbols (e.g., for full/part sun or shade, for habit, etc.) were included alongside each species for quick reference. Though there are lists in the previous section for certain things (e.g., dry shade), there are none for each of the light requirements (shade, part sun, full sun). Thus, one must dig within the text for each plant to find light/watering requirements.
I also think a bit more emphasis (maybe a symbol) could be placed on those that are invasive species. For example, it is mentioned with English Ivy, but not all that obvious if one is just scanning the entries.

Overall, this book would be a good resource for someone who is looking for ground cover ideas, but with the reservations mentioned above.

Thank you NetGalley and Timber Press for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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This is a very informative book. I'm personally searching for options to replace the grass in my yard with native plants. I'm also part of a sustainability committee in my library and this book would be great in support of sustainable landscaping practices. I will highly recommend to anyone that is interested in getting rid of grass!

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