5 Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses in Your Garden

See five ways to let these tough, long-lasting beauties add color and texture to your garden.

Ornamental grasses run the gamut from simple to showy, but any can have a bold impact on your landscaping. From their decorative properties to more practical uses, these low-maintenance plants will bring you enjoyment for years to come. Try one of these five ways to use grasses in your yard.


1. Define a Walkway

Using grasses to line a pathway carves a pretty path for visitors to walk along to your front door or patio. They also serve as a soft transition point between the hard edges of stone and adjacent planting beds, preserving a more natural appearance.


2. Add Interest to Containers

Grasses are equally as appealing in containers as they are in your yard. Layer a tall grass with shorter flowers and a lush ivy or coleus for maximum drama. Three plant species per container is a good rule of (green) thumb, but you can use less for a more formal symmetrical look like the pots shown here.

Perennial Border

3. Prevent Hillside Erosion

Use ornamental grasses on hillsides to prevent soil erosion. Ornamental grasses are well-suited for this task thanks to their extensive root systems. Dense mondo grass or blue fescue may be a good option. Native prairie grasses, such as bluestem, will also work well.

Fountain Grass

4. Create Visual Interest

Good landscaping means varying the heights of what you plant to maximize visual interest. For example, in a primarily low-growing plant bed, grasses stand out. Here, a spray of fountaingrass plumes provides height and color contrast to the red flowers in front.

flower bed

5. Offer Sanctuary to Birds

Offer a sanctuary for your feathered friends by planting grasses near your birdfeeder or birdbath. Do your research; grasses native to your region will have the best chance of attracting local wildlife. Providing a safe place to rest, eat, and nest away from predators will encourage birds to stick around.

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