There are a wide variety of different grasses, in many different shades, shapes and sizes. Choosing the right grass to fit your garden can add a particular flair to it. If the correct choice is made, grasses can be the final touch to creating a beautiful looking garden. But do you know which grasses will best suit your garden? What types are eye-catching over winter? Exactly what are the differences between grasses? And what should you consider for planting? Let us get to the bottom of these questions.
You can find grasses all over the world in most climates. Hence almost every garden has a suitable place for grasses to thrive. Hardy and perennial types are the most versatile because they withstand the changing weather. However other varieties are more specific and suit particular gardener’s needs.
The first and arguably most important step is determining the style of your garden, and correspondingly which grasses fit this garden style. In general, grasses can serve as blinds that block unwanted views, as ground-cover plants, or as a bond between different plant groups. You can also plant grasses to fill in the gaps in autumn and winter beds. As many grasses change their colours in autumn – ranging from silvery grey to warm copper tones - they also offer an eye-catching view at that time of year.
The best time for planting grasses is in autumn or spring. In order to ensure optimal planting conditions you should use a mixture of potting compost and leaves for shrub-like grasses, and a mixture of potting compost and sand for steppe grass. After planting, the roots need to be completely covered by soil. A distance of 30-150cm is advisable between the single grass plants as they spread a lot. Ideally, the soil should be able to store moisture but be permeable to water at the same time. For green grasses, the rule applies: “the brighter the grass, the more moist and shady the planting spot should be”. This means that grasses with grey or blueish sand-sedges should be placed in dry and sunny places, whereas beamless and coloured grasses need to find a place in half shaded and clammy potting compost. The spikes of annual grasses should be removed after they have blossomed. However try to keep the ears of the shrub-grasses as the dry blossoms are especially beautiful in winter. Before spring, the grass usually is cut back down to the ground. If you want to avoid further growth, the grasses need to be separated.
To improve the look & feel of your garden, you can use the variety of the grasses in an eye-catching way. As the growth height of different grass types varies a lot, it is best to follow the rule: “High grasses are better placed in the back and lower growing grasses in the front of beds.” Of course you can also use high grasses to beautify free spots in the garden.