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Six Reasons to Use Ornamental Grasses in Your Landscaping

ornamental landscaping

When you think about your landscaping, you probably imagine a few planting beds of flowers to augment a lawn. Well, turfgrass, which is commonly used for lawns, is not the only grass in town. Ornamental grasses can be a beautiful addition to your landscaping. Find out some of the benefits of including these plants in your yard.

Ornamental Grasses Require Little Water

Most ornamental grasses are drought-resistant, so they don't need a lot of watering like lawn grasses do. This drought-resistance stems from their being native to the prairie, where rains come intermittently. Resistance to drought is one of the hallmarks of xeriscaping your yard. If you plant ornamental grasses, set them up with your drip system to receive water infrequently.

Ornamental Grasses Are Hardy

In that vein, ornamental grasses require very little upkeep. In addition to the water, you just need to add a little fertilizer for them to grow. Likewise, they're not just drought-resistant, but they flourish in numerous growing conditions, though they tend to prefer at least some sun. They are also resistant to pests and diseases.

Ornamental Grass Can Add Color to Your Landscaping

Turfgrass comes in shades of green, maybe ranging into blue. However, ornamental grasses offer a wide spectrum of colors, relative to the fact that they're grasses. Below are some of the most colorful ornamental grasses available:

  • Little bluestem: Blades are gray-green in the spring and summer, turning red, orange, and purple in the fall

  • Purple fountain grass: Green stems are topped with purple and yellow feathers of flowers

  • New Zealand flax: Wide blades show green, red, and yellow

  • Purple millet: Cattail-looking stems in shades of purple and burgundy

  • Blue oatgrass: Silvery blue stalks are topped with golden blades in the fall

  • Japanese blood grass: Sharp blades in red, yellow, and green

Ornamental grasses may not feature quite as showy concentrations of color as flowers, but they can make a good complement to your landscaping.

Ornamental Grasses Add Texture to Your Landscaping

If you notice the descriptions above, ornamental grasses come as more than just blades. You can get tufts and feathers and stalks. Many ornamental grasses feature more than one texture. For instance, sweetgrass starts with tight blades topped with pink, feathery plumes — it's another one of the colorful varieties.

In addition to individual textures, ornamental grasses come in different shapes. For example, some grasses stay in neat mounds while others spread out in fountains or reach up with spiky blades. Others, like the above-mentioned Purple millet or Egyptian papyrus, can get downright architectural.

Ornamental Grasses Look Good in the Cold Months

Gardens can take on a bleak look in the wintertime. Ornamental grasses can help stave this look off. Even as they hibernate, they maintain their structure. You'll be able to enjoy their texture and height even in the coldest months. Indeed, one of the prettiest sights is rigid stalks of grass frosted with snow or ice.

Ornamental Grasses Are Highly Adaptable

Because of their general hardiness and variety, you can use ornamental grasses in a variety of situations. For example, some homeowners plant the smaller grasses in planters and dot them around the landscape for even more architectural interest.

Another popular use for ornamental grasses is as a border plant. So, let's say you've planted flowers. You can create a visual border with complementary grasses.

If you have a side or sidewalk garden, this would be a good location for ornamental grasses. Homeowners often tend to their front and back yards and let those other planting beds slip. Instead of letting them stay neglected, consider using grasses for visual interest.

Finally, some grasses grow quite tall — up to 5 feet. They can even fountain out at the top. These growing factors make ornamental grasses ideal for privacy.

As you plan your landscaping, consider looking into ornamental grasses to complement the rest of your yard. Consult with Landscape Solutions for the best grasses for your yard.