8 Plants That Tolerate Foot Traffic on Commercial Properties

You want your commercial property to be welcoming, and there are lots of ways to say that: 

Come on in!
Walk this way! Whoa, wait, not this way — you’ll trample the petunias. Yikes, not that way, you’ll step on the new grass seedlings. 

Let’s face it, not everybody on your busy commercial property is willing to tiptoe through the tulips. 

Are there plants that tolerate foot traffic? 

Sure, says Kim Rubert, Outback landscape designer. She’s happy to share a few favorites.

Picking Plants You Can Walk On

“We do have a few things we use regularly that hold up well to some abuse and stomping,” Rubert says. “It's really important to make sure that what you use on a commercial property is very hardy to the area.” 

landscaping in front of clubhouse

While residential properties let her get a bit more creative and use plants that might be barely in the Idaho hardiness zone, commercial properties are less forgiving.

“With commercial properties you need plants to be solidly in your growing zone,” she says, “because they will take some extra abuse and neglect.”

Plants That Tolerate Foot Traffic? Go with Grasses

“In this area, grasses hold up really well to being trampled when contractors access things like electrical panels, or gas meters,” Rubert says. “Same with apartments where there is plenty of dog walking and children playing.”

Choose Walkable Ground Covers

Some ground covers will hold up to foot traffic. If Rubert wants to plant greenery between stepping stones, she’ll opt for a couple favorites. More on those in a bit.

Pick Sturdy Perennials

Some flowers are so pretty, you’d swear they’re fragile. But some beauties have you fooled, and will bounce back if occasionally stepped on. 

perennial flowers in rock landscape bed

Rubert shares some of her favorite plants you can walk on:

1. Karl Foerster Grass

This easy care ornamental grass tolerates most any soil or light conditions and has no serious pest or disease problems.

It looks great year round, too. 

Karle Foerster Grass

Spring brings fresh green leaf blades. During the summer, feathery, pinkish plumes appear. Tan seed heads form in the fall, drying out and lasting through winter. Spent flower spikes provide great vertical winter decoration on your commercial property.

Use Karl Foerster as a border or backdrop. Rubert loves it for screening purposes. And it’s great paired with native plants.

2. Daylilies

These bright beauties are plants you can walk on. They look fussier than they are. Actually they’re not fussy at all. Daylilies are super hardy. 

Once full grown, a daylily's leaves are so thick, they tend to shade out surrounding weeds. Bonus! Disease is rare, too.


Good news: there are 35,000 types to choose from. Bad news: there are 35,000 types to choose from. Overwhelmed? Rubert is happy to help.

3. Blue Oat Grass

This blue-hued ornamental grass isn’t just sturdy walkable ground cover, it’s a stunner. 

Its blue-green foliage tapers to a point and is topped with flowers tipped with golden, oat-like seed heads. Blue oat grass keeps its attractive light brown fall color right through the winter.

blue oat grass

The blue-green foliage with a silvery cast is beautiful in mass plantings.  It nicely accents the green foliage of other plants, too. 

Hardy and low maintenance, it’s a winner.

4. Coneflower

This native wildflower is loved by butterflies, bees, and songbirds — and by commercial property owners who appreciate its sturdiness in the landscape. 

purple coneflower

Tough and hardy, it’s among the prettiest plants that tolerate foot traffic. The flowers measure 2 to 4 inches in diameter with a mounded, brown, central cone surrounded by long light purple petals that droop down. Plant them in masses for a wow-worthy display. 

It blooms in mid-summer and will continue to flower sporadically until frost. Leave the tasty seed heads to make your neighborhood birds happy.

5. Shasta Daisy

You can’t go wrong with this classic, cheerful daisy, brightening your commercial property with yellow and white blooms. 

shasta daisy

It attracts butterflies. It’s deer and rabbit resistant. It’s drought tolerant.

And its sturdy nature makes it a great addition to high traffic ground cover landscaping.

6. Black Eyed Susan

These charming, carefree natives have daisy-like flowers with dark centers and vivid golden petals. They start flowering in mid-summer and keep on going until the temperature drops well below freezing in the fall.

black eyed susan

A mass planting of these sturdy beauties will make your commercial property shine.

7. Creeping Thyme

Need high traffic ground cover landscaping? Plant this fragrant beauty between stepping stones or pavers for a living patio. 

Step on it, and it offers a minty smell. 

creeping thyme

It grows in a low, dense mat that quickly fills in areas. 

Bonus: it’s deer resistant, if that’s a problem on your commercial property.

8. Creeping Periwinkle

Tough, low maintenance, thrives in sun or shade, pretty flowers — what’s not to like? It’s lovely groundcover you can walk on. 

Creeping periwinkle is sturdy but pretty, offering blue, lavender or white flowers in spring. 

creeping periwinkle

It has a low sprawling habit, typically growing 3 to 6 inches in height. The stems root as they creep along the ground and spread rapidly to become a pretty flowering ground cover. 

It’s great for slopes or beneath mature trees where most lawn struggles. Erosion trouble? Try this. As it roots and spreads, it helps hold the soil in place.

Lots of Foot Traffic? You Might Need Hardscape

These plants you can walk on will put up a good fight, but in really high traffic areas, you’re better off with hardscape, Rubert says. 

“Anything that gets walked or treaded on a significant amount will suffer in the long run,” she says. 

No worries. There are hardscape options for every situation, from gravel to stone, mulch or pavers.

Need Plants That Tolerate Foot Traffic? Ask Outback in Idaho Falls

Kind of makes you want to take a stroll through your commercial property, right? If you step on your plants, will they bounce back? 

Commercial landscaping in Idaho Falls means choosing plants that stand up to the rigors of a bustling business. 

Let us help. 

Outback Landscape is a full-service landscaping company offering landscape design and installation in Idaho Falls, ID and throughout Southeast Idaho and Wyoming. 

We install beautiful, functional landscapes. But our work doesn’t stop there. We’ll stay with you for the long haul, taking care of your property through all four seasons.

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220. Or fill out the contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Get Started Today

Image Source: Karl Foerster Grass, Daylily, Blue Oat Grass, Purple Coneflower, Shasta Daisy, Black Eyed Susan, Creeping Thyme, Creeping Periwinkle