The Complete Guide to Ornamental Grasses: Everything You Need to Know About These Stunning Plants

If you’re looking for a way to add beauty and depth to your garden, you should consider planting ornamental grasses. These plants come in various shapes, sizes, and colours and can be used to create stunning displays in your garden.

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about ornamental grasses, including why they’re so popular and the best types for your garden.

So, if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, read on – because we’re about to reveal why ornamental grasses aren’t as dull as they sound.

What Are Ornamental Grasses, And Why Are They So Popular?

Ornamental grasses are grass grown for their aesthetic value rather than their ability to produce food or be used as turf.

These plants are usually characterised by their long, slender leaves and tall, arching stems. They also come in a range of colours, including green, blue, purple, and even black.

Ornamental grasses are native to many different parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and North America, but were introduced to Europe many years ago, where they quickly became popular ornamental plants.

Today, ornamental grasses are planted in gardens worldwide and have become one of the most popular types of plants.

There are many reasons for this, but the most common ones are:

  • They’re easy to care for and maintain
  • Ornamental grasses are drought tolerant
  • You don’t need to use much fertiliser
  • They add interest and texture to the garden

What Are The Best Types Of Ornamental Grasses For Your Garden?

Now that we know what ornamental grasses are and why they’re so popular, it’s time to look at some of the best types for your garden.

There are many types of grass to choose between, but some are more suitable for the infamously volatile UK climate than others.

Pheasant’s Tail Grass

Pheasant’s Tail Grass is perfect for UK gardens, even though it’s native to New Zealand. The semi-evergreen plant has long, thin leaves that are a beautiful colour.

You’ll notice the leaves have a red or orange tinge during the summer and usually turn to a deeper colour by autumn.

Reed Grass

Reed Grass is a very popular type of ornamental grass, and it’s easy to see why. The plant is known for tolerating wet and dry conditions, making it perfect for the UK climate.

You can grow this perennial grass in the middle of a garden border, and the leaves can develop pink flowers too.

Blue Fescue

Blue Fescue is a stunning grass that gets its name from the blue-grey leaves. The plant is perfect for adding colour and texture to your garden, and it’s straightforward to look after.

If you have a contemporary garden, you’ll love Blue Fescue because it adds a modern aesthetic to your space without becoming overpowering.

Japanese Golden Grass

Japanese Golden Grass is a beautiful, evergreen grass with thin, bright green and yellow leaves. The plant grows in dense clumps, making it perfect for adding some privacy to your garden.

This grass is also known as Hakone Grass and is native to Japan, where it’s often used as a groundcover around shrines and temples.

Wood Rush

Wood Rush is a very popular type of ornamental grass in the UK, and it’s perfect for gardens that are short on space. The plant has long, thin leaves that grow in dense tufts.

Wood Rush often grows in woodlands and hillsides, but it also looks beautiful on garden borders. Shady gardens particularly benefit from this grass because it’s one of the few options that doesn’t require sunlight to flourish.


Silvergrass is a beautiful, ornamental grass that gets its name from the silvery-white leaves and fluffy flowers. The plant is perfect for adding some interest to your garden and requires minimal maintenance.

However, this plant does require a decent amount of sunlight to grow and fertile soil.


Switchgrass is a very popular type of ornamental grass, and it’s perfect for adding some height to your garden. The plant has long, thin leaves that grow in dense tufts and can flower in summer.

One thing that makes this plant stand out is its blue and grey colouring, which gives it a distinctively autumn feel. Switchgrass often grows in woodlands and on hillsides, but it also looks beautiful in gravel gardens.

Pony-Tail Grass

Pony-Tail Grass is a beautiful, ornamental grass that gets its name from the long, thin leaves. It also has silvery flowers that combine perfectly with the pale green leaves and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Most people use Pony-Tail Grass for a gravel garden, but you can add it to a mixed border.


Lilyturf is a beautiful ‘ornamental grass’ with long, thin leaves. While nurseries sell it as ornamental grass, it’s technically not an actual grass type – but it has a similar appearance.

The plant is also available in black, though these variations are rarer, and it grows best in the sun or partial shade. You should also have well-drained soil.

Choosing Your Ornamental Grass

When used correctly, ornamental grasses can create a beautiful garden design, but choosing the wrong types for your garden means you won’t be able to appreciate everything these grasses offer.

It’s always best to consult with a landscaping company before making a final decision, as the specialists will be able to point you in the right direction and introduce the grasses in a way that ensures their growth.

While some grasses are more versatile, others require more sunlight, and if your garden isn’t in the correct position, you’re better off choosing a hardy ornamental grass that grows in shady gardens.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide helps you decide whether ornamental grasses are suitable for your garden, and you can choose varieties that enhance your outdoor space.

The best thing about all the plants on this list is that they don’t require as much maintenance as regular plants or grass and are ideal for the less keen gardener!

Now all you have to do is choose from this list or get in touch with us, and we’ll lend a helping hand.

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