We all love their texture, so it’s amazing when a border is built almost entirely out of them

If someone told you they were going to create a garden almost entirely out of ornamental grasses you might think, “How boring!” But when you look at this garden designed by Barbara Weirich in Benton Harbor, Michigan you quickly realize that you would be wrong. With strategically placed garden art and a few bold-leaved companions this small patch is able to look good from mid-spring all the way through the epics snowfalls experienced in this lakeside location.

Grasses are revered for their diaphanous nature, but that can create problems if you’re trying to create separation in a bed. Here, custom-made privacy screens help divide the grass garden from the woods behind—and they provide some much needed structure, too.

The occasional bold-leaved plant does show up in this grassy bed for textural and color contrast. Here, purple-leaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena, Zones 2-8) and an ornamental St. John’s wort (Hypericum cv., Zones 6-9) do the trick.

A fallen tree branch works as garden art and adds a focal point to this area while the black plumes of ‘Moudry’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry', Zones 5-9) and the burgundy-tinged inflorescences of ‘Morning Light’ maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light') are just starting to color up in midfall.

It’s hard to miss the maroon colored foliage of red leaf hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella, Zones 7-11) among the sea of green and tawny hued grass blades. 'Shenandoah' switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah', Zones 5-9) does an admirable job, however, echoing the reddish color of the hibiscus.

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