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need help chosing a sunny groudcover in NJ zone 6.5

Hi, someone wants flowering perennial groundcover for an approx50x50 foot area 2,500 sq ft.

That means whatever plugs I plant at a foot spacing apart would be 2,500 plants. I know it's suggested to plant them closer to fill in quicker but we're trying to keep the price low.

What I'm planning to do is tiller the area which is currently a weedy lawn, put 4-5" of free woodchips delivered by a tree service and plant the groundcover in that so it doesn't turn to weeds by the time it fills in. I just read here about putting cardboard under the mulch to block weeds. With 2,500 plugs, that would be tedious if I have to cut the cardboard a certain way. Would it be wrong for some reason if I just put full pieces of cardboard and then stamp a hole through it with a 3" tube or something and plant the plug there?

Basically what I need help with is choice of which groundcover. They want the low maintenance bullet proof plants (after it's maintained by watering and fertilizer to establish), I read which is either pachysandra, vinca, or English ivy. I told them pachysandra doesn't flower but I think I was wrong and that in spring it flowers white and smells good, so they might change their mind back to pachysandra if it flowers.

I just learned about vinca though and I think they prefer purple flowers. I read people complaining that vinca spreads too aggressively but that seems perfect for my situation. I want it to fill in fast. Only problem is does it or any of the other recommended covers spread underground to the neighbors' yards? If it only spreads above ground and the neighbor cuts the lawn every two weeks but it still can be a problem, can I just install a sort of mini metal/plastic 5" landscape edging wall?

I read pachysandra, vinca, and English ivy don't do too well in full sun though, and that it might need to be watered which they don't want to do. I read someone say grass is the best full sun option but they want a no or low maintenance landscape, and grass might go dormant but never come back if it's too hot and not watered, and unless you really maintain grass with chems and water and fertilizer, it eventually gets all weedy.

The shade situation is this: north of the plot are tall maple trees and south of the plot is the two story house but there's nothing shading out east or west. Doesn't this mean the sun rises in the east and settles in the west and the maples and house won't provide any shade? If so, which groundcover do you recommend if any at all? I don't want to waste their money and have it dry up.

It's in NJ USDA zone between 6 and 7.

Pricing: ebay has 1,000 pachysandra small starter roots for $200 with shipping (20 cents a plant). And they have 2,500 vinca minors for $300 shipped (12 cents a plant).

I haven't called nurseries but is it safe to say they will have even better prices than ebay considering they won't pay a %10 ebay fee plus about $20 in shipping plus having to package it and everything? Also, the ones at the nursery are in flats with soil and the ebay ones I think are just a big mess in a bag.

open to any good suggestions. thanks in advance.

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