11 Best Ornamental Grass You Can Use for Your Backyard!

As a homeowner, it is obvious that you wish to look for ways to enhance the visual and curb appeal of your favorite garden. Planting colourful flowers and matching them with native plants is one sure way to grab attention but that has become quite cliché these days.

In case you wish to adopt some new and handy ideas, ornamental grass is a concept which is gaining popularity recently. As remarked by ‘Knox County Master Gardeners’ (Published in Ornamental Grasses & Grass -Like Plants), ornamental grass décor adds a new dimension to landscape enumerating colour, texture, form, and natural opulence. They provide screening, erosion control, and can add beauty to your backyard. Want to know more? Read here further…

Types of Ornamental Grass

There are plenty of ornamental grass variety in the world of flora. But all of them are not suitable to plan at home garden. We have chosen some good looking and easy to maintain ornamental grasses without any health risk to surroundings.

Read here about the best ornamental grass that you can use for your front yard or backyard’s landscaping.

01. Zebra Grass

Zebra grass on the ground

Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ or Zebra grass grows tall and looks very stylish in its display effect. The grass can grow up to a maximum height of 2.4 meter (8 feet), and you can also plant it in your garden boundary if you want to stop people from peeping inside every now and then. Similar to other members of maiden grass family, the zebra grass needs proper sunlight, regular watering, and adequate soil drainage for acquiring attractive blooming beauty. But remember, for this, you need adequate space around your house.

02. Hardy Clumping Bamboo

Bamboo near the Entrance door

This might surprise you but the truth is that bamboo is a type of grass too. However, it is of very long stature and you may opt for it if you are sure of the consequences. However only bamboo plants of the Fargesia Genus are suitable for garden plantation. The Fargesia Robusta are tall ornamental grasses which can grow up to a height of 5.2 meter (17 feet) and you can easily use it to maintain the fencing of your garden which can take care if your privacy as well.

03. Feather Reed Grass

Feather reed grass in the home backyard

Just like other reed grasses, the feather reed grass looks pretty. The grass would need more than the regular moisture level to thrive, so frequent watering is a must to take care of them. You can easily plant them in the areas where the soil is clayey and the water drainage is rather a slow process.

If it rains sufficiently in your area and you are looking for a medium height low maintenance grass variety, then you must try the feather reed grass. It is also called Calamagrostis x acutiflora. By the way, they also attract birds and that also adds up to the advantages of planting them in a garden.

04. Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass near the house

If you are located at extremely hot weather zone, the pampas grass would be a great option for your garden decor. It is also called Cortaderia Selloana. The height here again reaches to a high of 3.6 meter around (12 feet) and this makes it a marvelous combination for your beautiful home’s background décor. Some other versions of the pampas grass are found known as the plume grass or Ravenna grass. This grass can really grow beautifully in heavily sunlit areas. Mostly the plumes turn brown in colour and you can coordinate it with your other flower combinations.

05. Big Bluestem

Big Bluestem grass

In America, the Big Bluestem grass was avidly planted in the prairies (large open area of grassland) and it is an old practice. Known as the Andropogon Gerardii traditionally, this grass can withstand all kinds of weathers and tough environments around. If the grass is exposed to sunlight properly this would grow beautifully and it adapts to any kind of soil condition. If you water the plant regularly the grass may grow to a height of around 2.4 meter (8 feet) which is awesome for creating natural garden decor.

06. Fountain Grass

Fountain Grass for the garden and house

If you are looking for a pretty looking grass for planting in your garden, then fountain grass should be your one of the best options. The best part is at that at the most it would reach a height of 1.5 meter (5 feet). You can plant these grasses in small clusters and enjoy the beautiful bushy effect. As fountain grass are moisture friendly and blooms in warm weather these grasses can be maintained easily in tropical zones. You must read the instructions on the seed label to know more about the maintenance before purchasing. It is also called Pennisetum Setaceum.

07. Switchgrass

Switchgrass in the garden

Switchgrass is widely known across the world as one of the members of the Panicum Virgatum variety. The switchgrass would generally thrive in moist-prone areas as well as in dry conditions. It is grown vastly in North America; however, the variety has been mixed to produce a red version, which looks glamorous too. In case of some varieties of this grass requires ample sunlight and a habit to stand tall.  If all the conditions are met, only a full growth of the grass you can expect. The grass is best maintained in moist soil and hence watering is a vital part for the maintenance of Switchgrass bushes.

08. Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass is known as the golden grass and this ornamental grass variety is found usually in regions around Mt Hakone in Japan. Predominantly, the leaves of this grass display a golden tinge and it can be identified by the thin stems which somehow resembles bamboo.  The grass bush looks exceptionally beautiful with purple flowers and dark green plants at its backdrop. You need to water it frequently: in hot and humid weather you may have to water the grasses two to three times a day. Scientifically these grasses are called Hakonechloa macra.

09. New Zealand Flax

New Zealand Flax in the garden premise

This is another type of ornamental grass variety which has become very popular in residential and commercial establishments for decorating the lawns and pathways. It is scientifically known as Phormium tenax. Having a deep red, purplish, bronze tinge these grass strands work as an eye catcher when grown in your garden. Its height reaches 1.5 meter (5 feet) and width can go up to 1.2 meter. However, these grasses are slightly demanding in terms of maintenance: they need thorough de clumping every year. Once you can separate the clumps, you can easily plant them elsewhere in the garden without an extra penny spent.

10. Blood Grass

Blood grass in the garden

Blood grass is also called Imperata Cylindrica. Having its origin in Australia, India, Africa and South Asia, the grass is a unique color mixture of bright red, yellow, and green. Texture wise the grass remains low and close to the ground.

Blood grass grows best in moist soil and even in very hot weather, but you need to meet up the water requirements perfectly. Even though the grass is quite good to look, some people tend to ignore it considering it to be invasive on nature.

11. Pink Muhly Grass

Pink Muhly Grass

Also called the Sweetgrass, this variety derives its name from the famous botanist ‘Henry Muhlenberg’. Lovely to look at, the grass is accompanied by pink plumes which make it look like a flower bouquet, hence it is called coloured grass for its varied color effect. It is also called Hairawn muhly. When tending to plant it in a garden, the muhly grass is perfect for plant potting in large clumps as its natural beauty gets exemplified in this manner.


If you have planned to add some ornamental grass in your garden, the above eleven varieties are the best options that you may choose from. However, in order to take the right care for each of them, you must have a clear idea of the weather, soil, and water requirements they need. Usually, you would find this information on their packet in nursery store and reading that carefully would certainly help you a lot. You may search online also for gathering information, etc. regarding your favorite ornamental grasses.

According to ‘David J. Ellis’ (Published in The American Gardener: Ornamental Grasses for small spaces), Ornamental grasses offer an endless display of design possibilities. They provide a textural drama when combined with perennials, annuals, or shrubs in the garden. They serve as stunning groundcovers bringing a natural harmony and colorful ambiance to the garden decor. Try them to enhance your garden beauty!

Also Read:

Landscaping Design Ideas that your Neighbours will Imitate!
7 Common Gardening Mistakes a Homeowner Must Avoid!
10 Best Air Purifying Plants to Clean the Air in Your Homes!

Image Courtesy: Image 1Image 2Image 3Image 6Image 7, Image 9, Image 10

Author Bio

Garima Bais I am a blogger writing on topics like parenting, love, life, beauty and travel. Belonging to a country with a deep heritage India I am an eternal optimist and believe that whatever life gives to you should be taken with gratitude. Do let me know your take on my articles in the form of comments.

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