Benefits of Ornamental Grasses in Your Garden

Written by Shelley Frost and published on

While beautiful flowers are a must-have for any garden, don’t forget about ornamental grasses! Ornamental grasses are a wonderful way to add colour, beauty and texture to your fall landscape. Unlike grasses used for lawns (i.e Kentucky Bluegrass), ornamental grasses are grown for year round beauty. These grasses can be used as specimen plants, border plants, hedges, container plants and even as groundcovers. And don’t think grasses are boring!

There is a wide variety of choices available for your gardening needs, ranging in colour, size, form and type. Grasses aren’t just green; the foliage can be found in rich shades of blue, red and purple. In addition, they range in types, from low mounding fescue to tall plants like giant reed grass. Ornamental grasses, with their quiet beauty and soft soothing sounds in the wind, add a sense of movement and peacefulness to the landscape. 

The Advantages of Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses range from compact plants, such as sedges, to tall billowy grasses, such as pink muhly grass. Decorative grasses are anything but boring thanks to the wide selection of heights, textures, foliage colors and leaf shapes. Along with the beauty they add to your garden, these grasses have distinct benefits that enhance the landscape and the surrounding ecosystem.


Decorative grasses fit into many areas of the yard and serve different purposes. Short ornamental grasses work as a border to define the edge of a planting bed. Large ornamental grasses add height to any area of the yard and fill in large empty spaces in the landscape. The tall grasses can double as a privacy barrier when strategically planted. You can also plant smaller varieties in flower pots or urns. The grasses mix well with other perennial flowering plants. For homeowners who want an alternative to traditional turf grass, ornamental grasses are a ground cover option.

Varied Appearance

Despite the name, ornamental grasses come in numerous varieties, each with distinct features. Foliage comes in colors including green, blue, purple, tan and red hues. Combining several types of ornamental grasses creates contrast in the yard for visual interest that draws the eye around your outdoor space. Long grasses also move around in the breeze, and the rustling sound of the moving blades adds a soothing touch to the garden.

Easy Maintenance

Ornamental grass is a low-maintenance landscape element once it’s planted. The grasses grow on their own without the need for pruning or maintenance. Many varieties billow out to create volume as they grow to fill in spaces. Most grasses handle heat well and don’t require a lot of water. These decorative plants have few if any pests or diseases that damage them. The low maintenance means ornamental grasses are relatively hands-off after they are added to your yard.

Environmental Benefits

The low irrigation needs of ornamental grasses allow you to conserve water in the garden. Chemical pesticides aren’t typically needed, so you won’t contribute to dangerous runoff into local waterways. The ornamental grasses often grow well on slopes, preventing erosion of the soil in those areas. The hardy plants provide a habitat for wildlife and create a natural environment in your yard.

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