Decorative grasses produce fabulous textural effects and look stunning when grouped together. Most are easy to maintain, and have a long season of interest, with plumes of flowers in summer followed by seedheads and stems that offer color and structure in winter.
When to plant: Autumn or early spring.
At their best: Summer to early autumn.
Time to complete: 2 ½ hours.
You will need: Well-rotted organic matter, spade, all-purpose fertilizer.
Selection of plants to use: Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana ‘Aureolineata’, Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’, Feather grass, Stipa calamagrostis, Stipa splendens, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’.
Prepare a border
Choose an open, sunny site for your border. Grasses generally tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but it is always wise to dig in well-rotted organic matter before planting your border. If you have heavy clay, incorporate some horticultural grit to increase drainage.
Set out the plants
The Miscanthus and pampas (Cortaderia) are the tallest grasses, so set them toward the back of the border, leaving space at the front for the feather grasses (Stipa). Allow about 4 ft (1.2 m) between the larger grasses for them to spread, and 30 in (75 cm) between the smaller ones.
Planting and aftercare
Plant grasses at the same depth as they were in their original containers and mulch with gravel to help suppress weeds. Keep the plants well watered for the first year until they are established. Leave the dried stems on the plants to overwinter, and in early spring, cut them down almost to ground level to allow new growth to emerge.