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From Dull to Delightful: How Landscape Grass Can Revitalize Your Outdoor Space


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A beautiful, lush lawn is a welcoming and visually compelling setting for outdoor recreation, gatherings, and moments of tranquility. It also increases your property’s value.

Ornamental grasses add texture to the landscape. They sway with the wind and provide rustling sounds. They add various colors throughout the year, from burgundy switchgrass in fall to tan ornamental rye in winter.

Enhanced Appearance

With various heights, shapes, and colors, grasses add interest to any landscape design. Small clumping grasses like ‘Morning Light’ maiden grass or ‘Karley Rose’ fountain grass work well in small garden spaces, while taller cultivars like Miscanthus Sinensis Zebrinus pair beautifully with shrubs and perennials.

Landscape grass is versatile and easy to maintain, whether used to create ground cover, soften hardscapes, or provide erosion control along a slope. They sway gently on the breeze, provide fall and winter color, and produce attractive seed heads that can be used to cut flowers.

Ornamental grasses are incredibly low-maintenance plants requiring little watering and are highly resistant to insects and diseases. Many can even be divided in early spring to expand the landscape and rejuvenate a fading clump.

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Increased Value

A property’s value can be influenced mainly by the state of its lawn, which creates an important first impression for potential homebuyers. Backyard grass significantly enhances various landscape design goals, such as adding structure, pattern, and texture. Moreover, grasses serve as multi-functional elements, effectively providing erosion control on steep banks or covering bare ground areas.

Ornamental grasses add color and interest to a garden, especially when planted in large groupings as drifts. They can offer dramatic movement as they sway and move with the wind. This effect can be enhanced by selecting species with varying levels of shade tolerance. For example, clumps of muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries) thrive in the shade, while switchgrasses and rudbeckias perform best in the sun.

Increased Comfort

Grasses can provide an eye-catching privacy screen, tall focal point, or accent to any garden. They can soften hardscapes like walkways and driveways or enclose a seating area for privacy.

Whether you have an expansive yard or limited space, there’s sure to be a grass cultivar that fits your needs. From grasses accustomed to the blazing sun of the prairie to those that can thrive in dense shade, there’s a lawn or planting bed for every environment.

Choosing the right plants for your specific topography and climate is essential, so do your research! There are many varieties of grass to consider, from taller species such as switchgrasses and feather reed grass to shorter options such as fescues and blue grama.

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Reduced Soil Erosion

One acre of lawn produces enough oxygen daily to support 14 to 34 people. Additionally, a lawn’s roots capture carbon dioxide to help mitigate climate change.

With vegetative cover, bare soil is exposed to erosion, decreasing quality and diminishing value. It can even become a hazard to human infrastructure nearby.

Ornamental grass offers various growth habits and colors to add texture and movement to the landscape. They can stabilize hillside soils for erosion control, whether planted in mass as a meadow or clumped in the garden. They also bind to soils and reduce the amount of nutrients washed away with runoff water, increasing groundwater infiltration rates. It helps protect water quality and reduce flood risk.

Reduced Water Usage

As the drought continues, many homeowners are turning away from their natural grass lawns and looking for alternative solutions. Replacing non-functional turf areas, such as playgrounds or parking strip grass, with waterwise alternatives can save money and improve climate resilience.

Ornamental grasses offer a variety of colors, textures, and shapes to complement any landscape style and require less water than traditional lawns. Some, like feather reed grass or red switchgrass, maintain upright postures, while others, like big and little bluestem, pampas, and zebragrass, bend with the wind.

Watering plants based on individual needs conserves water. Avoid watering during the day’s heat to prevent evaporation.

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