How to Make an Ornamental Grass Garden


Ornamental grass gardens provide a low-maintenance alternative to traditional flower and shrub landscape. Decorative grasses come in two types: low-lying clump grasses and varieties that spread prolifically through the garden area. Ornamental grasses require care, and the creation of a planting bed for this type of garden mimics the needs of a standard garden bed. Learning how to make an ornamental grass garden involves evaluating space and soil quality and preparing the optimum planting bed for these beautiful plants to thrive.

Step 1

Choose a location that receives full to partial sun and has well-drained soil. Ornamental plants may be generally low maintenance, but proper preparation of the garden bed will ensure your plants last for many years.

Step 2

Dig up and remove all weeds from the garden area. Aim to remove the weeds by the root, following any trailers underground. Don't simply pull the surface weed to remove it from sight. Weeds will compete for moisture and soil nutrients with any plants in the garden, including large ornamental grasses.

Step 3

Use the spade shovel to turn over the entire garden area to an 8 to 10 inch depth. Turning over the soil involves sticking the shovel into the dirt and overturning the soil one clump at a time. This might seem like excessive effort, but turning the soil loosens compacted dirt to allow for proper root spreading. Your new plants will benefit immensely from this effort.

Step 4

Chop up any dirt clumps using the spade shovel, and smooth the whole garden surface with a rake.

Step 5

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or peat moss to the entire garden. Turn over the soil again, working the soil additive into the top 8 to 10 inches of dirt. Additives improve soil aeration, break up clay soils and improve drainage in the garden bed.

Step 6

Place your plants in their pots in proposed places in the garden. Place taller plants at the back of the garden or in the center to create a circular garden. Always consider the mature growth of the plant during placement. This information should be printed on the plant container or listed on the tab inside the pot from the nursery.

Step 7

Dig individual planting holes 1-1/2 times the size of the pot of each ornamental grass plant.

Step 8

Press on the outside of the plant pot to loosen the soil in the container. Use pruning clippers to cut root-bound potted grasses out of the plastic containers. Take care not to damage the roots.

Step 9

Place the ornamental grass into the planting hole. Check the position to ensure that the top of the root ball lies no more than 1 inch below the garden soil surface. Fill in around the plant and firm the soil to release air pockets. Repeat this step for each plant.

Step 10

Mulch around the plants to discourage weed growth and improve water retention in the garden. Water the plants thoroughly at the base of each plant to encourage deep root growth and health.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade shovel
  • Rake
  • Compost or peat moss
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Pruning clippers
  • Mulch
  • Garden hose and water


  • University of Florida
  • Smithsonian Institution Horticulture Services Division
Keywords: ornamental grass garden, ornamental grass, make ornamental grass garden

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.