Using Grasses in the Landscape

Ask the Gardener: Using Grasses in the Landscape

When people usually think of grasses in their landscape, they envision large billowing Maiden grasses that reach more than seven feet tall. Although there are great places for tall grasses, they can often be overwhelming in a landscape. I like to use smaller grasses, planted en masse, to create a neat, orderly appearance with minimal maintenance. Also, we try to get grass planted before the dog days of July so the roots have a chance to establish. This makes it easier for the plants to survive the harsh winters.

A Few of His Favorites…


Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’

Muscari and Lilyturf
“Superb when planted in a large group. It is a beautiful perennial
that has a blue spring flower. It stays small, and I love it in tight
groupings. It prefers loose, well-drained soil and does best if not in the direct sunlight all day long.”



Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’

Dwarf Fountain Grass
“This stays between one and two feet tall. Try using this planted in a double row or band around a clump of slightly taller Japanese Blood Grasses. The striking contrast in color with the green against the reddish-orange will be stunning in the sunlight.”



Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’

Adagio Grass
“A dwarf grass that reaches a max of two to three feet tall. Use it in a planting island surrounding a Himalayan birch tree for a simple, peaceful look.”


This article appeared in the 2010 Home edition of Whirl Magazine.