Many people overlook grass as a key landscaping feature for their lawns and gardens. This versatile plant can play an integral role in your landscape, providing a focal point, accent, border, or even barrier. The key to making grass work as a decorative plant–not merely look like your lawn is overgrown–and is to implement a few key tips when planting and designing your landscape. Here a handful of tips to use and make grass decorative.

ornamental grass

Intersperse various textures and colors of grass to create interest

Ornamental grasses can help add a unique texture to an otherwise bland landscape. Try using soft grasses with plants that have bolder textures. Plant a few species of grass in one area to create a landscape that truly pops.

ornamental grassUse grass to add privacy or natural borders

Grass is a great way to screen out eyesores. Plant tall species like moor grass or Ravenna grass, the latter of which can reach heights of over twelve feet if untrimmed. These grasses don’t need to be cut often, usually only once a year, and provide a natural-looking boundary.

grass in pots

Plant in containers or in beds

Grass isn’t just for the lawn. You can plant it in container gardens as well as in raised beds. For the best results, choose grass of various sizes, shapes, and colors and plant to match your containers and existing landscape features. Try using contrasting or complementary colors for the most unique effect, or layer tall grasses with short flowers.

garden path

Balance out other landscape features

Whether you have a pool, a walkway, or a stone wall, you can use grasses to balance out landscaping features. The grass doesn’t have to hide the feature–simply complement it. Consider planting soft ornamental grasses near hard landscaping features like a paved walkway or concrete barrier. Grasses can also help add interest to decks, patios, and pergolas.

You can even add other decorative items, like sculpture, to give your garden a dramatic look. When grass is planted with other landscaping features such as this, it gives your lawn a contemporary, artistic look.

flower bed with grass accents

Create accents

Grasses can help accent borders and raised beds. Don’t plant them in isolation; instead, use them to complement new or existing flowers, shrubs, or trees. Plant grasses in unexpected areas and they will help showcase the other plants that are on display. Ornamental grasses can also be used as edging, helping to create a natural and attractive path for visitors.

To create a neat and tidy edge with grasses, make sure to plant the grasses close together so they grow in a straight, singular line.

Use grass to bridge the seasons

In many cases, grasses hang on long after other flowers and shrubs have gone by. Some produce vibrant colors in the fall, allowing you to transition your gardens easily between seasons. Decorative grass also works as a groundcover between seasons, helping to enrich your soil and prevent erosion in style. Ornamental grasses or native prairie grasses can even be planted on hillsides because they have extensive root systems that will help them lock themselves into the soil.

butterfly in the grassCreate a sanctuary

Although many kinds of grass don’t attract bees –making them ideal for planting in high-traffic areas like those near swimming pools – they do attract other wildlife. Butterflies, birds, and other types of wildlife are sure to flock near your ornamental grass plantings, increasing the beauty of your lawn and landscape. Many species of birds use grass blades for making nests, while others eat grass seeds. Plant a variety of native grasses for the best effects.

When you’re planning out your gardens, consider experimenting with several different species. There are so many types of grass you can plant, including ornamental, prairie grass, and ground cover species. There are hundreds of colors, textures, and sizes to play around with, so don’t stop with just one planting. Keep adding to your garden year after year to create a grass-adorned oasis that pops with color, interest, and flair.

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