These are plants that will cover the ground and require no water after they have been established ( If they are planted in or near the areas they are native). They don't mind the pine needles or oak leaves that fall on them. And your native wildlife can use them! They don't require the fertilize or soil disturbance that will harm the Mature oaks and pines in the coastal forests.
Wild California strawberries (Frageria Californica) makes a beautiful ground cover for under coastal forests. It also has the advantage of having really delicious strawberries. It will grow great under Coast live oak trees or pines. It is happiest near the coast where it will get more rainfall.
The strawberries are a very deep red when ripe and are very rich. If they get a little more sun the patch seems to be denser and there are seems to be more strawberries produced. The Berries are smaller and are held up in the air off the dirt and away from bugs that might eat them.
Dichondra spp. makes a nice lawn substitute. Here it was growing under Monterey pines with Soap Plant(Chlorogalum sp.) and Star Lily (Zigadenus fremontii). As of now ( when this page was written) we are having trouble growing this one, so we don't have any in stock but hopefully that will change soon. This is a really neat little plant and it makes a great lawn. Hopefully will figure out it's little eccentricities.
(Achillea millefolium) makes a feathery lawn. Here it is growing
under a dense canopy of Monterey Pine trees.
It likes the pine needle litter that comes with living under the pines
and it has pretty white flowers that attract butterflies. No more
raking pine needles. No water required and no fertilizer appreciated.
The feathery leaves of the Yarrow plant grow close to the ground. When the plant flowers it send up tall flower clusters. These can be chopped off or you can have a part time flower garden part time lawn.
douglasii) is a mint that you can make tea with. The
fragrant leaves are shiny and don't itch. That is always a nice quality
if you are thinking of taking an afternoon nap on your lawn. In the
above picture Yerba Buena is growing on a slope, climbing over fallen
branches of Monterey
pine and very deep leaf litter.
For more plants that can grow under oaks and pines see The shade garden page