Ground covers are a beautiful and strategic part of many landscapes. But before you plant any ground cover, take the time to ensure its health and appearance by doing these pre-planning steps.

1. Prepare the Soil. Ground cover plants are well-known for their hardiness, but they still benefit from having a good soil base in which to start. Before planting yours, turn over the soil where they will live and add some compost — usually at about a rate of one part to three parts soil — to encourage rooting. 

2. Watch the Drainage. Many ground covers do best in a low-water situation. If the greenery you want to plant is known for a drier or more 'alpine' climate, it will need good drainage to thrive. Water the area and watch how the water moves and puddles. Most ground covers don't like puddles, so it will be easiest to make elevations and angle changes before you plant. 

3. Match Your Plants to Needs. Not all ground covers are the same. So you should consider what you want from yours. Do you want something that will grow taller? Then consider ornamental grasses. Or do you want to prevent weeds? Then you may want a dense ground cover, like creeping thyme or dymondia, that will block them. Want color? Look for flowering varieties of vines. 

4. Set Up Irrigation. Ground covers, while usually low on water needs, do generally require some regular watering. And as your patch grows, you may not want to continue hauling a hose out to care for the burgeoning plants. Do yourself a favor now and add some type of irrigation method. A drip system is relatively easy and inexpensive for a professional to install and allows you to control the amounts of water to each location. 

5. Arrange for Maintenance. To get your landscape off to its best start, schedule regular maintenance visits to monitor the new plants and assess water delivery and levels. They will also need to prune plants to keep them growing as you want them to. As the ground cover matures, you may be able to cut back to seasonal maintenance.

If you take these steps before planting anything in the ground, your entire project will have a better chance at success. If you still have questions about any specific aspects of your landscape, consult with an experienced landscape maintenance services company in your area today.