When you think about what you want your Greater Chicago home to do for you, you probably are seeking a few key things: high-impact visual appeal and low-stress maintenance.

There are some plants in your home landscape arsenal that can work wonders to deliver these traits you seek. Among them are ornamental grasses. 

Landscaping with ornamental grasses can amplify your landscape’s environmentally friendly qualities due to their great pest resistance and drought tolerance. They can also enhance your yard by bringing multiple textures, varieties, and heights.

Let’s learn more about these textural plants and how they can be best used in Chicagoland landscapes.

4 Ornamental Grass Benefits For Your Greater Chicago Landscape

While beauty is a top attribute of ornamental grasses, they also boast quite a bevy of benefits that you may not expect.

ornamental grass around landscape

For a more sustainable, low-maintenance home landscape, there are more than a few reasons landscaping with ornamental grasses is ideal.

1. Ornamental Grasses Are Drought Tolerant

If you’re trying to conserve water use, ornamental grasses in landscaping can be long lasting without taxing your irrigation system or increasing your water bills. 

They can handle harsh summer heat and resist any negative impacts from dry or biting winter weather and winds. 

2. Ornamental Grasses Boast Pest and Disease Resistance

Ornamental grasses in landscaping can stand up to common pests and diseases, which make them assets in your yard. 

This also can reduce maintenance tasks since they don’t require excess fertilizers or pesticides or any special attention. And they still look great even when you’re not paying them a lot of attention. 

3. Ornamental Grasses Are Hardy 

You are busy and don’t have time to micromanage your plants. That’s why ornamental grasses can be your best friends. 

ornamental grass along walkway

Ornamental grasses in landscaping come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and textures – ranging from spiky to feathery to mounding and tall. As they move in the wind, they sway and shimmer, adding a great elegance to your landscape. 

4. Ornamental Grasses Are Adaptable

Ornamental grasses in landscaping can be used in multiple ways. 

As curb or border plants, they can offer striking volume, year-round color, and a durable alternative to texture and unique interest in your landscape. 

Some ornamental grasses can even grow to an 8 feet height, providing some nice privacy in the form of a natural fence in your yard. 

Ornamental grasses can even make great thrillers in your landscape containers, bringing height and some movement. 

Finally, if you use ornamental grasses as ground covers, they can grow some deep roots and give hard-to-mow hillsides or slopes some color.

Using Ornamental Grasses in Landscaping

Now that you know the intrigue and interest ornamental grasses in landscaping can add to your Greater Chicago landscape, it’s time to learn about some of the best ones to plant.

Try one of these adaptable ornamental grasses. 

1. Karl Foerster Reed Grass

Karl Foerster is a reed grass that boasts tan seed heads that wave in the breeze atop bright green plumes. Reddish-copper plumes can be eye-catching in summertime. 

CC - Karl Foerster Reed Grass

Plant this ornamental grass in landscaping in sun or shade. It can take high-traffic areas, as well, growing to 5 feet with a spread of 32 inches.

2. Maiden Grass

As a great vertical accent plant, maiden grass can be used in so many places – as a hedge or in a mass planting.

Maiden Grass

This ornamental grass has silverish seed heads that appear at grass tops beginning in early autumn and lasting to winter. Foliage goes from green to green- and white-striped to yellow-striped. The stems turn bright red in fall. 

These 5- to 10-feet tall and 2- to 5-feet wide silvery plumes on narrow, arching foliage make perfect backdrops to showcase other perennials. 

3. Liriope 

This tall perennial ornamental grass in landscaping is adaptable as a ground cover to keep hillsides intact and can survive wet or dry conditions, as well as sun or shade.

Liriope ornamental grass

Since liriope also grows nice and thick, it helps prohibit weed growth.
There are quite a few varieties of liriope you can choose from – some have dark green leaves with lavender flower spikes, and others have variegated green and creamy white spikes with purple flower spikes. 

4. Dwarf Fountain Grass

This fine-textured ornamental grass adds bright green foliage to your home landscape that turns gold in fall. A visual perk is when blooms appear as little tops of bottle brushes in whites and violets. Also, it blooms earlier than other ornamental grasses.

Dwarf Fountain Grass

Only reaching 2- to 3-feet tall, this dwarf fountain-like display can be great for smaller landscape beds in sunny, well-drained places. 

5. Japanese Forest Grass

This brilliant, golden yellow ornamental grass in landscaping is upright and vigorous, adding graceful mounds to your Greater Chicago home landscape. Its arching, bright green leaves are 10 inches long in late summer. By fall, they become radiant in rust or a brilliant orange-bronze. 

Japanese Forest Grass

They can also provide some textural spillers in containers or stand out as garden accents. 

Plant these 18-inch high and 24-inch wide ornamental grasses in shade to partial shade gardens for attractive golden or chartreuse mounds.

Embrace Landscaping With Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses certainly can steal the show in your home landscape. They are drought tolerant, low maintenance, pest resistant, fast growing, and provide year-round color and texture.

ornamental grass near pond and walkway 
But it can be confusing choosing which varieties to add to your yard, as well as how to best use them in your landscape design. 

We understand. It can be a lot to learn and take in, especially when there are so many varieties available. 

Let KD Landscape help. We have vast knowledge of all plants, including ornamental grasses, and we’d be happy to bring that insight to your home landscape.

We can help you choose amazing ornamental grasses in landscaping, plant them into your site creatively, and keep your yard looking beautiful with some unique texture and intrigue. 

Ready to see how KD Landscape can transform your Greater Chicago landscape into something beyond your expectations? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver a custom space that stands out. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan that works best for you. Then you can enjoy your new landscape for years to come. 

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Image sources: Karl Foerster Reed Grass, Maiden Grass, Liriope, dwarf fountain grass, Japanese Forest Grass