By Diana Lockwood / For the Columbus Dispatch

A good groundcover is a little like obscenity: hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

It could be an annual, perennial or shrub; it might or might not boast showy flowers; and it could be evergreen or deciduous.

But you don’t need a Supreme Court case — like the famous one in 1964 concerning pornography — to identify one.

If it lives up to its name by literally covering the ground, often in difficult spots where wimpier plants would struggle, then it qualifies.

Gardeners frequently use groundcovers where they don’t want lawn but don’t really want flowers, either.

Potential sites include steep banks, areas with poor soil or locations where mowing is impractical. Some selections can help reduce erosion, tolerate light foot traffic or suppress weeds.

Here’s a sampling of readily available groundcovers that thrive in central Ohio and that are eager to tackle your landscaping challenges.

For sun

Many plants love full sun, but drying winds, parched soil and reflected heat — from a driveway, for example, or the side of a building — can combine with rays to create a mini-Death Valley.

Only the toughest of the tough, such as these examples, can grow in such conditions.