A border of ornamental grasses and purple flowers line the edge of a driveway that twists itself through the front yard. Olive trees, lavender and a variety of grasses add Italian flair to this landscape design.
This 10-year-old garden belongs to a home in Utah. It features a lovely mixture of drought-tolerant perennials, ornamental grasses and native plants for an overall look that complements its high desert setting.
No other plant can add movement and catch light like ornamental grasses. They can soften, yet enhance masonry elements with their airy form and uniquely capture and filter the sun's rays. Tip: Be sure to place them where they can catch the light, which will shine through their foliage and flower heads, making them glow and shimmer in the breezes.
The makeover of this home's expansive grounds and gardens included expanding the lawn and more gracefully connecting it to the terrace. Tall golden grasses are a pretty contrast to the lawn's lush green.
In snowy regions, grass that goes into winter without being mowed is more prone to develop snow mold. Try to give grass one last cut before winter snows arrive. Also, once the ground freezes, stay off the lawn. Frozen grass is more prone to breaking as you walk on it, which can damage individual grass crowns.
Ornamental grasses steal the show in autumn, with eye-catching seedheads and blades that move in the wind. ‘Prairie Fire’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum) forms sturdy, upright clumps that stand up to winter snows. Blue-green stems and wine-red leaves look great through the growing season. Rosy-tinted flower heads appear in late summer and linger into winter. Switch grass is a great plant for wildlife gardens, providing good winter cover for birds and insects. Plants grow 48 to 60 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Chip Wade recommends planting water-loving plants like grasses near a water feature like this beautiful stream running through his Georgia backyard. "You're basically trying to create the utopian version of what would happen naturally" says Wade.