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How to Use Ornamental Grasses in Your Landscaping

Today I’m sharing some ideas for using ornamental grasses in your landscaping and how to create a simple to maintain garden by mass planting ornamental grasses. 

When I first started my gardening journey, back when we had our very first tiny little home that we tore down to the studs and completely renovated, I was only about 21 years old.  I remember reading every gardening book I could get my hands on and memorizing the latin names of every perennial.  I also remember heading to the nursery with more excitement than natural for someone my age but I couldn’t help it… I was so excited about turning our tiny little yard into a beautiful English Cottage style garden.  And you know what, at that time and for several years going forward, I actually hated ornamental grasses and refused to use them in any of my landscape plans.  I lacked knowledge and experience with ornamental grasses (aside from our neighbours huge ugly pampas grass) and I had no idea of the variety that grasses are available in nor of the ethereal quality that they lend to your yard.

I’m not quite sure where it all switched, but I think it was around twelve years ago when we were living in Tofino (a very quaint little beach town on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island).  A local restaurant there had their landscaping redone with river rock, driftwood, and lots of ornamental grasses and I couldn’t get over how much I loved the look.  This new discovery has almost turned into an obsession now, and I adore the look of a mass planting of grasses and have used this look in our previous home as well as almost exclusively in our new yard landscaping…

Tips for using ornamental grasses in your landscape design:

Mass Planting

Ornamental grasses look amazing when grouped together.  In our front yard, I grouped 7 Mexican Feather grasses beside 7 Blue Fescue grasses in the narrow bed between our stairs and retaining wall.  I love the ethereal look that these create, and the landscaping is very easy on eyes because it’s a mass grouping of the same plant.

Choose the right size for your space

In front of the house, we went with smaller ribbon grasses that grow to approximately 2-3 feet tall maximum and the same width. Although I love large (4-5 tall) grasses, we wanted to keep the light coming in through the basement windows so the shorter grasses worked well for this space. We grouped 7 of them together in a mass planting…

We intermixed them with some smaller grasses, as well, to fill in any gaps.

We then chose some taller ones for the area in front of the porch as a feature.

Halloween and Valentine’s Day

Landscaping with ornamental grasses is also really low- maintenance, which I love! A professional landscaper gave me the tip to cut them most of the way down around Halloween, and then come Valentine’s Day to cut them all the way down to the ground.  They come back fresh in the early spring and doing this saves you a lot of the cleanup work trying to pull out old dead grass blades from your new fresh grass growth in the spring.


Today I’m joining some of my talented blogging friends who are also sharing their Gardening Tips!

Just click on the link below each image in order to see their full post.

How to Start a Hydrangea Plant – Happy Happy Nester

Cut Flower Gardening – The Ginger Home

Most Common Garden Tools And Their Uses – Shabbyfufu

Unique Container Ideas For Garden Planting – Sanctuary Home Decor

How to Grow Fresh Tomatoes – My 100 Year Old Home

Simple Tips from a Green Thumber – Craftberry Bush

Make the Most of Your Small Garden – Most Lovely Things

How to Use Ornamental Grasses in Your Landscaping – The Happy Housie

Anthropologie-Inspired Succulent Planter – Modern Glam

3 Tips For Creating Window Boxes and Planters – Lemon Grove Lane

DIY Succulent Garden Cake – My Sweet Savannah

Small Space Gardening – Dreaming of Homemaking

Garden Design and Trellis DIY – Finding Lovely

Lake House Garden with Peonies – Styled With Lace

How to Fill A Raised Garden Bed and Save Soil – Twelve on Main

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  1. Krista,
    I love the look! Can you please tell me the name of the ribbon grass you planted in a group of 7 in front of the basement windows? Thanks so much!

  2. Krista,
    Quite a few people here in our neighborhood have the ornamental grass, and I love how soft and beautiful it looks in their yards. I love your post and your gorgeous yard. Your beach town location is to die for!

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