Where To Plant Ornamental Grasses: 8 Top Tips
If you are in the process of developing your garden, you may have wondered about the types of plants that will work well in our cool and sometimes harsh environment. Ornamental grasses can the perfect plant to provide interest, form and even screening in your front and back gardens.
They are especially good for use around driveways, where they soften the edges and provide a simple and easy to care for look to the garden. They can also survive car exhaust fumes and being driven over from time to time!
What Can Ornamental Grass Offer My Garden?
When we think of grass, we might imagine the lush green stuff that we have to mow every Summer. In fact, an ornamental grass is something quite different and much less challenging to care for.
Ornamental grasses are mostly perennials and will grow throughout the spring and summer, falling back in the winter and going dormant. Bamboo is an exception and is an evergreen that will provide year round fresh colour.
You can choose from bunch grasses such as tussocks that are known as clumping grasses or running grasses that are more distinct from each other. Some stay small and close to the ground, while others can grown as tall as 5 metres and will droop, giving a distinctive and attractive look.
The main thing about ornamental grasses is the way that they can be grown in even the coldest of environments. They will survive harsh winters and strong winds and this is why you often find them in the countryside, on the sides of hills and mountains and around ponds and lakes.
They are hardy, and therefore easy to grow.This can cause a problem in some cases, as they will spread throughout your garden. It makes sense to put some of these plants into pots to prevent spread if the chosen plant is prone to that.
There are so many ways that you can use ornamental grasses in your garden, and many that you may not have initially considered Knowing where to plant your ornamental grasses can be the difference between making the best use of them, and finding that they are the wrong choice for your particular project.
Option No.1: Screening For Privacy
One of the best ways to use ornamental grasses is as privacy. The nature of the plant means that it can be planted either in clumps or in rows.
This means that you can get thick screening for complete privacy or just a feeling of protection from prying eyes, without filtering too much sunlight.
Many grasses can be grown to the height you need such as bamboo that can grow several metres high and still remain sturdy.
Option No.2: Softening Driveway Edges
If you have recently had your driveway relaid or designed a new resin bound driveway for your home, you may find that the edges still look harsh. It can take a long time for border plants to blend in and soften these edges. Ornamental grasses, however, offer a quick solution.
Small clump grasses can be planted along the edges of the driveway, providing an attractive look, while protecting the other plants behind from the occasional driving incident. Grasses will put up with harsh treatment, and will usually survive.
The colours can also be chosen to complement the driveway stone colour. With grasses available in natural browns, creams and greens, it is easy to get the foliage to match your brand new driveway, enhancing the overall aesthetics.
Option No.3: Creating The Perfect Backdrop
Taller and more dramatic ornamental grasses make the perfect backdrop to your more formal plants. A large row of pampas grass can look great when placed behind your flowering plants, and will give it the vibrant look you desire.
The colours are also fairly neutral, so the shades of your bright flowers will really stand out. The colours are also perfect for deep green leaves of other plants and bushes.
Option No.4: Protecting Plants From Weather
If your vegetables or more delicate plants need protection from the weather, you may have thought about adding fencing or other barriers. These can look artificial in your garden. Ornamental grasses can offer the same protection but in a natural and attractive way.
Use the height and width of these plants to surround your precious flowers and vegetables and protect them from the rain and the wind.
Option No.5: Creating Movable Pots For Patios
If you have had a new resin bound patio installed, you will want to complement the look as best you can. Your lovely patio will be enhanced by ornamental grasses in large pots and containers.
If these are on wheels you can move them around to provide privacy, screening from the sun or just to give your patio a modern and relaxed look. Grasses provide movement in what could be a very stark spot. Plus you can choose the size and shape you want to complement the existing space.
Option No.6: Softening Walls And Fences
All gardens have walls or fences of some kind and many are ugly and bland. You can paint them or add trellis and ivy – but there really is nothing quite like hiding them altogether.
Ornamental grasses are one of the best ways to provide screening from these boring expanses.
You can choose grasses that are the correct height and grow them either in clumps or in rows, depending on the space.
Option No.7: As An Easier Alternative To Trees
Ornamental grasses will grow surprisingly tall and therefore can provide similar shape and size to a tree in your garden – but with a much quicker growing time and a significantly cheaper price.
A huge clump of grass in the centre of your garden can look incredible, and yet it doesn’t have the same disadvantages of trees. The root system will not cause problems with your drains or pathways, and the canopy will not prevent light getting through to the green grass below.
It will also be easier to trim, and to keep at a certain size-making it far more manageable overall.
Option No.8: Creating A Meadow Garden
While many of us prefer the strict lines of a manicured lawn, the prairie meadow look is also popular, and ornamental grasses work well for this. Choose grasses that grow low and do not need to be cut back as often. Intersperse them with flowering meadow plants and green grasses.
These will all naturally spread, and the look will be a soft feel that is perfect for the back of any garden where you want wildlife to flourish, and pruning and maintenance needs to be relatively minimal.
Growing ornamental grasses can be a joy – but knowing where in your garden to use them is the tricky part. Hopefully, if you are considering this plant in your garden scheme, you will now have a good idea of how you can use them to their best advantage, and keep them in your garden for many years to come.
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