Ground covers can be an instant solution to problem areas in the yard; they can act as living mulch, a landscape enhancement or as an eco-friendly replacement for grass, says Amanda Bettin, a horticulturist at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. However, some, such as English ivy and periwinkle should be avoided because they become invasive, Bettin notes. She suggests replacing those with alternatives such as bugleweed, plumbago or barrenwort.

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