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Want More Privacy on Your Lawn? Grow These 12 Types of Grass

An older couple stands in the front yard of their house
Flashon Studio / Shutterstock.com

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on LawnStarter.

Are you tired of neighbors peering into your backyard, or are you seeking a natural and elegant solution to shield your outdoor space from prying eyes? Look no further.

In this article, we’ll list the best tall ornamental grasses for privacy so you can achieve that seclusion without the hassle of installing privacy screens or building structures.

Ornamental grasses have the advantage of growing quickly, providing a swift and effective solution to your privacy needs.

So whether you’re looking to shield your backyard from prying eyes, create a peaceful retreat, or simply define your property’s borders, these majestic grasses have got you covered.

1. Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana)

Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana, is a flowering grass for the garden
Walter Erhardt / Shutterstock.com

The pampas grass is a striking ornamental grass renowned for its majestic presence, growing to impressive heights of 8 to 12 feet.

It is drought-tolerant, meaning you won’t have to fuss over watering constantly. This hardy grass is content with occasional hydration during dry spells.

Come fall, pampas grass bears tall plumes of silvery flowers that make for breathtaking centerpieces in your home, adding an extra layer of aesthetic appeal.

However, it’s worth noting that this plant can be invasive and may spread if left unchecked. To avoid this, ask for sterile varieties when purchasing it at your local greenhouse.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-drained soil; dry to medium moisture
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer, fall
  • Water needs: Low
  • Mature height: 8-12 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

2. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum, blooms in August near the fence as an ornamental tall grass for hedges.
crystaldream / Shutterstock.com

Switchgrass is another great option if you like low-maintenance plants with bright green foliage throughout the growing season.

During late summer and into fall, switchgrass erupts with a profusion of reddish-purple flower panicles that add a burst of color and texture to your landscape.

This eye-catching display makes it not only a privacy solution but also a striking ornamental addition to your garden. In addition, if you’re a bird enthusiast, you’ll love how this grass attracts songbirds and game birds, which flock to its seeds.

For added privacy, consider planting shorter grasses like switchgrass on raised garden beds or atop retaining walls, allowing you to create layered green screens in your outdoor space.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-drained; prefers moist soils
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer, fall
  • Water needs: Low
  • Mature height: 3-6 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

3. Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)

La Crescent, Minnesota, feather reed grass
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

The feather reed grass boasts a distinctive growth pattern, forming dense clumps that provide an excellent natural barrier against prying eyes.

When the warm season arrives, this grass dons a crown of pinkish-purple feathery flower spikes that gracefully sway in the breeze, adding movement and whimsy to your outdoor space.

Feather reed thrives in above-average moisture conditions, making it an excellent choice for rain gardens or areas with consistently damp soil, including clay.

Among the many cultivars of feather reed, the “Karl Foerster” cultivar is the most popular.

  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Medium moisture; clay soil
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer, fall
  • Water needs: Average
  • Mature height: 3-6 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

4. Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)

Zebra grass is a Poaceae perennial and is an ornamental pampas grass.
tamu1500 / Shutterstock.com

Zebra grass stands out among the best perennial ornamental grasses for privacy, and it’s easy to see why. It has eye-catching foliage, which boasts vibrant yellow and green stripes.

In fall, the foliage takes on a new dimension of beauty, transitioning to rich gold before fading to a warm tan hue over winter.

In the late summer and early fall, this grass produces reddish-brown plumes that stand tall and proud in the garden. One of the many benefits of zebra grass is its resistance to diseases and pests, including deer and rabbits.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Moist; fertile, well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer, fall
  • Water needs: Average
  • Mature height: 5-7 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

5. Big Bluestem Grass (Andropogon gerardii)

Andropogon gerardii, Big bluestem grass
Cryptographer / Shutterstock.com

Big bluestem grass, as its name suggests, emerges in spring with foliage in a striking blue-green hue.

As the season progresses, the leaves mature to green, and then, as autumn rolls around, they transform into orange, infusing your garden with warm autumnal tones. It also blooms with deep purple flower clusters in late summer.

But the benefits of big bluestem grass don’t stop at its visual appeal. This hardy grass is a magnet for wildlife, attracting birds and butterflies to your garden.

Plus, it requires minimal care, making it a low-maintenance addition to your landscape.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Dry to medium moisture; well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Water needs: Low to average
  • Mature height: 4-6 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

6. Little Bluestem Grass (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Little bluestem on a bright sunny summers day. Also known as Schizachyrium scoparium or beard grass, is a North American prairie grass native to most of the United States.
Michael G McKinne / Shutterstock.com

The little bluestem forms dense, compact mounds of foliage, creating a visually appealing and structured appearance in your landscape. This grass has blue-green stems that turn a striking reddish-brown hue as fall approaches.

In favorable conditions, little bluestem can reach a height of 5 feet or more, making it an excellent option for creating a private sanctuary within your outdoor space.

Moreover, this grass also helps with erosion control due to its robust root system that helps stabilize the soil.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Dry to medium moisture; well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Water needs: Low to average
  • Mature height: 2-4 feet on average, 5 feet or more in favorable conditions
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

7. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Pennisetum alopecuroides hameln foxtail fountain grass growing in the park
Iva Vagnerova / Shutterstock.com

Fountain grass has dense and cascading foliage that seems to dance in the wind. This movement, combined with the elegant flower spikes, adds a whimsy and charm to your outdoor space.

If you live in an area frequented by deer, you’ll appreciate that this plant is deer-resistant.

One of the significant advantages of fountain grass is its low-maintenance nature. This hardy grass thrives with minimal care, making it a practical addition to your garden.

Whether you choose to plant it in containers, beds, or borders, it enhances the texture and color of your landscape.

  • Sun: Full sun but tolerates part shade
  • Soil: Prefers dry, well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer, fall
  • Water needs: Average
  • Mature height: 2-3 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-9

8. Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Pink Muhly Grass in the Garden
Jeri Bland / Shutterstock.com

Pink muhly grass or pink hair grass is a clump-forming evergreen perennial known for its pink plumes. In the fall, this grass steals the show with its stunning display of pink, cloud-like plumes that last for weeks before gracefully fading to a light tan.

If Barbie ever decided to upgrade her Dreamhouse‘s garden, pink muhly grass would undoubtedly be her top pick.

This grass is not just a pretty face; it’s a tough survivor that thrives in adverse conditions. Whether you have sandy soil, scorching heat, humidity, poor soils, salt, or drought, pink muhly grass stands can adapt and thrive.

  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Prefers sandy soils
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Fall
  • Water needs: Low to average
  • Mature height: Up to 3 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-11

9. Chinese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracilimus’)

Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) growing in a garden
Monika_1 / Shutterstock.com

Chinese silver grass, often known as maiden grass, is a favorite among ornamental grass enthusiasts for several reasons.

It has spectacular flower plumes that appear in late summer, starting with a hint of purple flush and gradually maturing into a shimmering silver, rising above the foliage like ethereal feathers.

Moreover, Chinese silver grass is impressive in size. Growing up to a towering 10 feet in height with a substantial spread of 6-8 feet, this grass is a formidable contender for providing privacy in your garden.

And this plant requires little to thrive — a simple annual cut to the ground in late winter is all it needs.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Moist; fertile; well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Water needs: Average
  • Mature height: Up to 10 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

10. Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

Blue Oat Grass - Helictotrichon sempervirens
Kathryn Roach / Shutterstock.com

Blue oat grass is a distinctive ornamental grass that forms round clumps in your garden landscape. Its striking feature is its silver-blue foliage, which adds a cool and calming touch to your outdoor space.

While it may resemble blue fescue, it distinguishes itself by its larger size.

During the summer, blue oat grass produces beige to light brown panicles that gracefully rise above the foliage, adding a touch of charm.

It suits low-maintenance landscapes, including rock gardens, due to its low maintenance and low water needs.

  • Sun: Full sun but tolerates light shade
  • Soil: Dry; well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Water needs: Low
  • Mature height: 2-5 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

11. Ravenna Grass (Sacchraum ravennae)

Red-winged blackbird on Ravenna Grass (Pampas Grass)
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Ravenna grass, also known as hardy pampas grass, is an exceptional choice when creating a natural privacy screen in your landscape.

With an impressive height range of 8 to 12 feet, it provides a formidable barrier that shields your outdoor sanctuary.

The plant produces silver-white, feathery plumes that sway gracefully in the breeze, creating a sense of elegance and movement in your garden. The foliage turns a bronze color in fall.

However, Ravenna grass can potentially crowd out native and desirable plant species if not contained. It’s a good practice to check with your local Extension office before planting it.

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Moist; well-drained
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Water needs: Average
  • Mature height: 8-12 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-10

12. Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia murielae)

Fargesia umbrella bamboo.
Octopus16 / Shutterstock.com

Many people may not realize it, but bamboo belongs to the grass family, and umbrella bamboo, in particular, can be a fantastic addition to your outdoor environment.

It has rich yellow-green canes that add a touch of elegance and exotic charm to your garden. Its leaves are short and narrow, featuring a bright green hue contrasting beautifully with the canes.

One of the most appealing aspects of this bamboo is its rapid growth rate, which allows you to create a green screen in your landscape relatively quickly. It is also known for its cold tolerance, enduring up to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Sun: Part shade
  • Soil: Moist and fertile; clay or loam
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Bloom time: N/A
  • Water needs: Average to high
  • Mature height: 10-15 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

What Are Tall Ornamental Grasses?

Blue Grama Grass
Kathryn Roach / Shutterstock.com

Ornamental grasses encompass true grasses as well as grass-like plants such as sedges.

These grasses, known for their hardiness, rapid growth, affordability, and low maintenance requirements, have gained popularity in landscaping for their versatility and practicality.

They can add movement and texture to various garden designs, making them excellent choices when landscaping for privacy.

Tall ornamental grasses stand out for their impressive height, which can reach up to 15 feet or more in some cases. This towering stature is a key reason why they are often chosen to create privacy screens.

Whether used as a natural fence or a backdrop for other plants, tall ornamental grasses provide seclusion and an attractive focal point in gardens.

Why Use Tall Ornamental Grasses for Privacy?

Tall ornamental grass
R.Moore / Shutterstock.com

Tall ornamental grasses are an attractive and cost-effective means to create a natural privacy screen in your outdoor space.

These grasses can reach impressive heights, forming a living wall-like structure that shields your garden from unwanted views. It’s also a good idea to use trees for privacy.

What Is the Tallest Ornamental Grass for Privacy?

Cynodon dactylon, drought tolerant Bermudagrass
The_CLICK / Shutterstock.com

Among the tallest ornamental grasses are the pampas grass, Chinese silver grass, Ravenna grass, and umbrella bamboo.

These remarkable plants can each grow more than 8 feet in height, making them ideal choices for those seeking privacy and a touch of natural beauty in their landscape design.

Privacy hedges such as the American holly, American arborvitae, and the Southern red cedar can also reach impressive heights.

What Is the Fastest Growing Ornamental Grass?

blue grass
Kathryn Roach / Shutterstock.com

The pampas grass is the fastest-growing ornamental grass.

This plant can reach its full height in just a matter of months, so if you’re looking for quick results in your landscape, pampas grass is a standout choice.

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