Using Ornamental Grass in Landscaping

Category: Landscape

ornamental grassOrnamental grasses are a great addition to most landscape design projects. Whether your site is home landscaping or part of a commercial site, using these grasses in your landscape is a great option. Landscape grasses come in all types of sizes. They can range from the very small varieties that are only 6″ tall to the large grasses towering in at 8′ plus! Grasses provide a unique texture in the landscape as they ascend upward and cascade down again. They freely move in the breeze and can fill up a previously empty planting bed in a short period of time when compared to other plants. Maintenance of these additions is also fairly low, as they only require one cut-back at either the beginning or end of the season to remove the dead tissue that will re-grow the following season.

ornamental grass groupingDepending upon what area you live in, and what growers and suppliers have available, there can literally be dozens of grasses from you to pick from. Each year there seems to be a couple new varieties popping up, each with their own characteristics. When selecting grasses to use in your landscape design, be sure to do your research about size, heartiness, etc. A good landscape designer will be able to explain why they selected each specific variety. Knowing the mature size of these plants is crucial to keeping them confined to a spot and to deter them from growing into other plants. Most grasses will perform best in very sunny locations. They will need plenty of moisture the first year, but then can be amazingly drought tolerant. They have very seldom insect or disease issues, making them a great choice. As grasses grow in size, they can even be dug up and divided providing additional plants for your gardens. However, grasses are fairly inexpensive so buying some more later is also a great option.

We plant a lot of grasses as a landscape contractor. They are most often planted in groupings, but can also be planted alone if desired. Here are just some of the varieties we commonly use in landscape plans:

  • Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
  • Morning Light Maiden Grass
  • Overdam Variegated Feather Reed Grass
  • Evergold Sedge
  • Ice Dance Sedge
  • Elijah Blue Fescue
  • Adagio Maiden Grass
  • Zebrinus Maiden Grass
  • Heavy Metal Grass
  • Shenandoah Switchgrass
  • Hameln Dwarf Fountain Grass
  • Little Blue Stem Grass

hameln ornamental grassFeel free to copy and paste those varieties into your web browser to see images. As with looking at any landscape plants, be sure to see many examples, especially how they will look at full maturity. The last thing you want to happen is to plant these too close to other things and have it grow into a wall. Grasses look best when you can plant them with plenty of room to grow. In many cases, we use multiple varieties of grasses to plant in layers of different textures and heights.

If you would like to discuss installing ornamental grasses on your property as part of an existing landscape or part of a new landscape design, we would love to talk with you about your project and find out what grasses are best for you.


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