Dedorative grasses for the garden

Decorative gardens used to be strictly a place for flowers. But gardens are beginning to show their diversity with an assortment of plants and non living materials. Ornamental grasses and grass-like plants are finding a place in the top landscape designs. They add motion in breezes, often come in interesting colors to provide year-round foliage contrast and their vertical growth form is an excellent foil for most rounded garden plants. Most decorative grasses are easy to grow and don't require much fussing. As a result, more and more stylish garden-lovers and professionals are designing with ornamental grasses for style and easy maintenance.

Ornamental grasses look good with rocksCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

Different ornamental grasses can thrive in various conditions. Some like dry soil, others like it moist. Some prefer to grow in bogs or ponds, while grasses that evolved in dryer areas or very porous soils need excellent drainage. Look into the kind of ornamental grasses that will do well in your area. And keep in mind the kind of soil you have as well as watering and light conditions.

Large grasses can form focal points in a garden design. Or you can use them to form walls around other plants and block out undesirable views. They can even block plain walls or fences giving life and interest to what would otherwise be unattractive surfaces. There are a number of small, low-growing decorative grasses that can be used as ground cover, accents around other mounding plants, or edgings. Grouped ground cover ornamental grasses can add a swath of colored foliage or a soft, even fuzzy texture to the overall design.

Some ornamental grasses you may want to explore are Miscanthus, Calamagrostis, Melic, Carix, Festuca, Penisetum, Muhlenbergia and many, many more. Some grasses can become aggressive pests in areas where they grow too well. So choose the ornamental grasses that will look great when designed into your garden, will grow well, and will not be a problem to the environment. John Greenly is a grower of many decorative grasses and has several good books on the market covering this subject in detail.

So, when you design your garden or landscape, consider designing ornamental grasses into your plan. You can even grow a whole garden filled with the various heights, colors and textured offered by these plants. Decorative grasses will pay you back with a more interesting design and lower maintenance.