Ornamental grasses are phenomenal feature and accent plants for the home landscape. They can add height, depth, and contrasting texture. When you use grasses as tools in your landscaping, you add another dimension to your yard. They stand out against traditional landscape plants, but they also complement, while at the same time contrasting. It is really quite beautiful, almost exotic. These plants are also incredibly easy to grow.
Landscaping With Grasses
Layering with Grasses
Layering plants is a great way to create depth and a natural look. When layering grasses, I like to mix them with a variety of different plants. This landscaping with grasses technique is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Start with a tall plant, shrub, or grass for the back. Next, choose a medium height plant for the middle and, last, a shorter grass, shrub, or perennial for the front of the bed. Of course you are welcome to do more layers, but three always seems to balance just right and doesn’t allow this feature to turn into a crowded cluster. I love when landscapers execute this type of landscape plan in a corner of the yard. You can create a small or large layered bed.
Some good examples of tall plants (or trees) would be Pampas Grass, holly trees or bushes, or Emerald Green Thujas. Medium plants for layering include, fountain grass, muhly grass, and encore azaleas. Small grasses include Blue Fescue grass, sedge, and liriope. Small plants could be phlox, drift roses, or daylilies. But the options are truly endless. You can go taller or shorter, focus on colors, focus on textures, and go bigger or smaller. I do recommend staggering your plants for a natural look versus planting straight lines. For this type of planting you want the plants as close together as possible, while still giving them some space so they aren’t overcrowded. Look at the maximum width of each plant and use this measurement and maybe a few inches for a buffer for proper placement.
Landscaping with Grasses in Mass
Another way to use ornamental grasses in the landscape is in mass. The exciting and colorful plumes many grasses have in fall add even more dimension to your landscape. The billowy plumes look stunning in mass swaying in the breeze. These plants are great for erosion control and can even be planted on hills and slopes. Again, I lean toward staggered patterns versus straight lines, but you do you! It's your yard and home after all. Borders are one time I’m supportive of straight lines, but curves look even better and add a nice flow to your landscape. Any of our grasses look beautiful in mass. I particularly like Big Blue Liriope, Variegated Lilyturf, and Black Mondo grass in borders and Blue Dune Lyme grass on slopes. Blue Fescue grass is perfect to replace traditional grass in hard to mow areas. For shady spots where traditional grass won’t grow, try Carex Evergold Sedge and Blue Zinger Sedge. Pink Muhly Grass is a popular choice for landscaping with grasses in groups. Another cool choice is White Cloud Muhly Grass.
Other ways to Landscape with Grasses
Truthfully your options are limitless. Between the different types and sizes of grasses, you can find a grass for just about any use in the home landscape. Pampas grass and Cosmopolitan Maiden grass can be used in privacy screens. Fountain grass and Pink Muhly grass can be used in foundation plantings. Any ornamental grass can be planted in a mixed bed. Black Mondo grass makes a great filler, thriller, AND, spiller in mixed containers. For larger pots consider Little Zebra Miscanthus. It has amazing variegation and an upright, but compact habit.
Ornamental grasses are underutilized in the home landscape, and I think this is really sad. But I think it’s mostly a lack of knowledge about these hardy and amazing plants. They are very easy to care for. They rarely have problems with fungal or insect issues. Grasses are adaptable, deer resistant, heat, drought, and salt tolerant, and low maintenance once they are established. Ornamental grasses like Pink Muhly grass are gorgeous and add color as well as texture and dimension. Grasses like Pampas grass add height. But no matter what you need in your landscape, height, dimension, texture, color, contrast, etc., you will find a grass that is perfect for your yard. Now go order some grass today and get planting! Happy planting!
You May Also Like:
How to Care for Ornamental Grass (Don’t worry, it’s easy;))