Gorgeous grasses for fall landscapes

  • Ornamental grasses are the best plants you may not be using in your landscape.  Grasses in this category are clump forming rather than spreading and can be as small as 8 inches high ('Northern Lights' Tufted Hair Grass) or as large as 12 feet tall (Ravenna Grass) and all sizes in between.  Ornamental grasses make awesome filler between perennials and can fill gaps in shrub borders too.  The many sizes, shapes and colors available means there's an ornamental grass to fit any type of location.

    If you look at Utah’s native vegetation, there’s an abundance of grasses so including similar shapes and textures in our own yards gives our landscapes some local flavor too.  In Japanese gardening, there's a concept called "borrowed landscape." An attractive view, such as our mountains, is heightened by blending the plantings inside the landscape to fit with the natural conditions beyond-- and a view doesn't get much more positive than our stunning mountains and grassy valleys.  Adding ornamental grasses makes our landscapes "fit" with our context making them more genuine reflections of a natural Utah landscape, perfected.

    More importantly, ornamental grasses are a source of movement and sound as the wind rustles through their foliage creating a pleasant sound as they gently sway.  Late in the day, the filmy seed heads seem to glow in the light of autumn sunsets bringing the landscape alive.

    While there are dozens of wonderful grasses, here are a few of our favorites for fall.

  • Ornamental grasses are a low-maintenance addition to Utahlandscapes the echo the shades and colors of our mountains and deserts whileadding texture and movement.  They fill the blank spaces between perennials and shrubs, capture late-season light and even provide winter interest if you choose to leave them standing to provide forage for wildlife.

    Ornamental grasses need little care and maintenance.  Most varieties require us to simply cut them back to 6-12 inches high when the foliage starts to emerge in late February, early March.  Exceptions to the cut back rule are evergreen ornamental grasses like Blue Fescue, that type simply needs us to rake out dead foliage.

    To really amp the effect, mix them in with trees, shrubs and perennials as shown below. Find thesebeauties, and more, at your local nursery!