Adding grasses to your garden can transform it from bland to grand.  Most grasses are easy to care for and need only small amounts of water.  There’s a wide variety of plants available to add year round color, shape and texture to any garden.   Also as a bonus, they sway in the wind and can create wonderful sounds in the landscape.

Here are some of my favorites:

Photo credits to Flickr user MeganEHansen

Photo credits to Flickr user MeganEHansen

Orange Libertia (Libertia peregrinans) With striking burnt orange and yellow foliage color, this plant is actually an iris from New Zealand.  Upright sword shaped leaves, produces small white flowers.  Does well in most soil conditions.

Photo credit to Flickr user Drew Avery

Photo credit to Flickr user Drew Avery

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) Blue foliage ¼ inch in width, grows to 20-24 inches in height , full sun or light shade, moist soil , good drainage necessary, grows in wide range of soils, recommended spacing 18-36 inches depending upon your desired look.

Photo credit to Flickr user Clivid

Photo credit to Flickr user Clivid

Oriental Fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale) True to its name, this grass sends out a graceful spray of foliage in upward and 360 degree directions.  Will also send out super soft seed heads in white, pink or red (depending upon the variety) in late summer continuing through early fall.  Can grow up to 5’ in height, 1’ – 4’ in diameter.   Drought tolerant once established. Backlighting from sunrise or sunset makes for dramatic view.

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Pheasant’s tail grass (Anemanthele lessoniana) Shades of copper, gold and bronze colors on soft arching foliage, grows to 3’ in most well drained soils. Thrives in sun or partial shade.  Offers great textural contrast to shrubs.

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Common blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’) Grows between 6 and 10 inches in height and width.  Fine bluish greenish leaves in tuft formation. Versatile uses in the garden, as single accent or multiples to add a dose of color. Also used as ground cover. Keep plants tidy by clipping seed heads when they turn brown.

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Photo credit to Flickr user briweldon

Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) Thin gray-green foliage with hints of silver grows in a clump 2’ to 4’ in height. Stems arch outward from center forming tuft effect.  Prefers sun but will tolerate some shade.  Needs well drained soil.