English ivy (Hedera helix) can make a fine ground cover for shady areas. I?ve seen it used quite effectively as a lawn substitute under the arching canopy of trees. Keep in mind that although ivy requires less frequent trimming than grass, it does require regular maintenance. Occasionally trim back runners that spread across walkways, and remove shoots that climb tree trunks. In some areas, English ivy is banned because it grows so rampantly, and it?s difficult to remove once established. So be certain it?s what you want before planting it.