14 Terrific Tall Ornamental Grasses and Grass-Like Plants For Privacy

It is quite a trend these days to use plants as decor. Outdoors, you can use different kinds to amplify your garden's architecture or even your privacy.

If you need privacy in your yard, but don’t want install a fence. There’s a great selection of Tall Ornamental Grass Varieties that can help you create privacy and a sense of enclosure in a larger space

An economical way to block seeing your neighbor almost frequently, is the use of tall ornamental grass varieties to make wonderful living privacy screens or focal points. Soaring grasses can both add beauty and protect your personal space.

The fast growth rate of grasses will keep your place screened all-year-round and grow tall enough to be the attraction in the backyard and not your movements.

14 Terrific Tall Ornamental Grasses For Privacy

Fastest & Tallest Growing Ornamental Grasses For Creating A Screen

Check out this list of our favorite tall ornamental grass choices to add privacy to a deck or patio without a fence with details on how to care for each because every plant needs special care and growing techniques.

1. Fountain Grass

Fountain Grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Pennisetum alopecuroides
  • Water need: Regular
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 3-4 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, cut off old and dead foliage before new leaves come
  • Care: Divide the established plant during spring every 2 to 3 years in early spring.
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

Fountain grass is a non-invasive tall perennial grass that grows in clump. The ornamental grass bears leaves which seem like a fountain and the foxtail-looking flowers are of tan, pink or purple makes an elegant statement and can create privacy and a sense of enclosure in a larger space.

The grass enjoys warm climates under the full sun but can still grow on slightly shaded areas. The soil has to be well-draining because it doesn't like moist soil.

Fertilized soil is no a requirement but a good start if you grow this. Fountain grass is a popular choice since it is known to be an easy-to-grow plant in the garden.

2. Chinese silver grass

Chinese silver grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Miscanthus sinensis
  • Water need: Occasionally
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 6-10 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, during spring. Cut off foliage where new buds pop.
  • Care: Divide the established plant into four parts to avoid overcrowding.
  • Agricultural zone: 5-9

A tall, ornamental grass that changes color from season to season, Maiden Grass is green grass with brown/white flowers.

The stem reddens in fall, and the green leaves change from yellow to beige. All seasons, the grass is a beautiful addition in the garden.

M.sinensis prefers soil with good drainage but keeping it relatively moist. When the plant matures, it will become a drought-tolerant grass needing less water.

The plant grows in a cluster but is considered invasive in some parts of the U.S.

3. Giant canes

Cane, Arundo donax

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Arundo donax
  • Water need: Occasionally
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 6-23 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, prune dead bristles
  • Care: At initial stage, mulch up to 3cm thick; divide for neat appearance
  • Agricultural zone: 8a

Look closely because Giant canes are often mistaken as corn plants. The tall grass is upright with long leaves and produces feather duster-like flowers on top.

Giant canes can withstand drought and dislikes slow-draining soil. It can thrive in cooler temperatures but not excessively cold weather during winter. The plant is native in the Mediterranean.

4. Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus' (Porcupine Grass)

Porcupine Grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus
  • Water need: Moderate
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 5-10 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, but not necessary.
  • Care: Divide in spring before new leaves emerge
  • Agricultural zone: 5-9

Porcupine Grass is an invasive fibrous plant often used on paper-making. It has sharp, long break lives striped with golden lines reminiscent of porcupine bristles.

They are native in East Asia particularly in China, Japan, and Korea.

This tall ornamental grass for can cover garden landscapes since it can grow wide with incredible height.

It prefers moist soil of any type except those high in salt. Porcupine Grass is not drought-tolerant but can thrive in an oftenly flooded area.

5. Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Cortaderia selloana
  • Water need: Seldom
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 6-9 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, annually cut off to the ground
  • Care: Feed after pruning and replant using division
  • Agricultural zone: 6-11

A very familiar grass in the field, Pampas grass is native to Southern America along the region of the same name, the Pampas region.

The plant has sharp foliage and a white feathery top. Having a cutting stem, it is advisable to be careful during the pruning stage.

It is resistant to drought, wind and salt spray making it easy to propagate requiring minimal care. The grass favors a well-draining soil and moist. Although it withstands dry spells, Pampas grass needs water in prolonged dryness.

You can burn (be very attentive though) the grass down and still, it can rejuvenate from the ground.

6. Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet

Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Pennisetum glaucum
  • Water need: Moderate being careful not to overwater
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 6-9 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, to keep the growth going
  • Care: Use mulch to keep the soil moist
  • Agricultural zone: 10-11

Shortly called as the Purple Majesty, this is an upright ornamental grass that can stand out in the green garden because of its purple color from foliage to cattail-like spikes.

The plant prefers moist, well-draining soil since overwatering can drown the grass. It likes hot weather and avoids frost during winter. It grows on any soil type but will be glad to be planted on rich, organic soil.

7. Switch grass

Switch grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Panicum virgatum
  • Water need: Moderate
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 4-6 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, to let air circulation with enough sunlight
  • Care: Fertilizer feeding is optional. Use organic mulch to conserve moisture
  • Agricultural zone: 5-9

Switchgrass is an upright plant that produces a feathery flower in red or purple. The stem has sharp leaves and they can grow in clumps.

For a bushier appearance, plant 12 inches away from each other. Each plant can spread half of its height.

Like most plants, it prefers soil that drains well. It can be tolerant to salt sprays but thrives on short drought only.

Switchgrass does not like a cool environment and dies during winter. However, the roots underground are still alive and can grow back.

8. Umbrella bamboo

Umbrella bamboo

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Fargesia murielae
  • Water need: Regular
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 10-15 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, prune height to help it grow thicker and manageable
  • Care: Apply a fertilizer rich in Nitrogen so it will grow more vibrant and mulch to protect from the winter cold
  • Agricultural zone: 5-9

This hardy, clumping bamboo native to Asia is a beautiful screen in your garden. It grows tall and regular pruning can help it grow denser. Its foliage is green fading to yellow.

Umbrella bamboo is one of the most manageable types of bamboo because unlike the runners, this doesn't spread.

It enjoys sunny areas but can do well even in areas that are partly shaded. It is not sensitive to soil types as long as it is not too dry.

9. Blue oat grass

Blue oat grass

Quick Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Avena sempervirens syn. Helictotrichon sempervirens
  • Water need: Moderate
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 10-15 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, prune in the fall to remove old leaves
  • Care: Feed no more than once yearly. Divide during spring or fall.
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

A blue hue in a garden filled with green? That's unique. Blue oat grass is a pretty ornament grass with its blue-green foliage producing tiny yellow golden tips similar to oats.

It grows in clumps and the grass is considered not invasive.

The grass grows in any soil type even with poor conditions for as long as it is moist, well-draining soil in cold weather.

It requires minimal care and is not prone to diseases. Still, you must avoid overwatering it to prevent root rot.

10. Big bluestem grass

Andropogon gerardii

Quick Info

  • Botanical Name: Andropogon gerardii
  • Water need: Depending on the plant's height desired, it can be infrequent to heavy watering
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 4-8 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, mow stems in the fall
  • Care: If possible, replant to other location some cuttings
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

Big blue stem or Turkey Foot Grass is a solid stemmed tall growing grass variety that blooms in late summer to mid-fall.

It has bluish-green stems and reddish seed heads that separates into three parts like the foot of a turkey. Sometimes, it is referred to as the King of the Prairie.

The ornament grass can grow short in less water or taller in overly moist soil. However, the height comes with a price since it can weaken stems.

The roots of this plant become thick over time making it difficult to cut through. Big blue stem can attract insects essential in the garden.

11. Feather Reed Grass

Feather Reed Grass

Quick Info

  • Botanical Name: Calamagrostis x acutiflora
  • Water need: Occasional
  • Sun need: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maximum height: 3-5 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, take off old foliage before new growth and cut stem 3-5 inches from the ground to keep it neat
  • Care: Divide mature plants to sustain growth and desired width
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

Feather Reed Grass is a cool-season grass that grows upright and behaves. It is a good screen that has dull green leaves and grain-like inflorescence.

They are native to Africa and Europe where they grow in clumps. The grass tends to bloom in spring and early summer.

This type of grass can tolerate both wet and dry soil conditions. It also thrives even in poorly draining soil like pool sides.

Although it likes water, feather reed can survive drought but the drawback will be on its height. Most grasses of this type have no danger to pests.

12. Ravenna grass

Saccharum ravennae

Quick Info

  • Botanical Name: Saccharum ravennae
  • Water need: Occasional
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 8-12 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, cut the foliage back to 6 inches from the crown.
  • Care: Divide in mid-spring or early summer and mulch during winter
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

A hardy grass relative of Pampas grass, Ravenna grass exudes winter aura characterized with white foliage. It grows in clumps and the height makes it a good screen in the garden.

While some gardeners use it for erosion control, it is an undeniably majestic addition to your garden barrier.

Ravenna grass or Elephant grass to others, favor moist soil that drains well. It does not like fertile soil rather prefers a soil type of average nutrients.

It loves sunny spots making it drought tolerant but can survive winter frost too. Furthermore, it is deer resistant.

13. Pink muhly grass

Pink muhly grass

Quick Info

  • Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia capillaris
  • Water need: Occasional
  • Sun need: Full sun
  • Maximum height: 3-4 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, trim the dead foliage back within a few inches before the new growth emerges
  • Care: Apply slow-release fertilizer during spring when it starts to grow.
  • Agricultural zone: 5-9

Having sweet cotton candy-like inflorescences, Pink muhly grass is a sun hardy plant that shows off drama in the garden with its sharp foliage and pink to purple shoots.

As a matter of fact, they kind of looking like floating silky feathers in the garden

The plant is a low maintenance ornament, the reason why most gardeners choose it over other tall grasses.

It is drought, humid, heat and deer resistant. Its water need can be supplied with rainfall and it can tolerate poor soil conditions given it drains well. Pink muhly grass is native to North America.

14. Amur Silvergrass

Amur Silvergrass

Quick Info

  • Botanical Name: Miscanthus sacchariflorus
  • Water need: Moderate
  • Sun need: Full sun to light shade
  • Maximum height: 5-8 feet
  • Pruning: Yes, cut dead leaves in late winter
  • Care: Divide crown to promote propagation
  • Agricultural zone: 4-9

M. sacchariflorus is a winter-hardy grass native to Japan, Korea, and northern China. It is considered slow-spreading but an invasive kind of grass.

It blooms silvery-white spikes from August to September while its foliage has silver-green color that turns yellow every autumn.

Amur silver grass tolerates spots that are flooded once in a while keeping the soil wet and moist. Despite being water-friendly, it appreciates well-draining and moderately fertile soil. Its characteristic makes it ideal as ornament for the water garden.

A fair warning is this tall grass variety can screen your property but spread aggressively aside from its location.  

Other neighboring plants may not appreciate it taking over so caution is needed. One positive trait is the silver grass can withstand summer heat and humidity as well as the winter cold.

Tall Ornamental Grass for Privacy

It is not uncommon to want good privacy at home. Ornamental Grass that can grow heights is perfect screens while adding natural beauty to your landscape.

Use tall ornamental grass for privacy and you won’t need to build new structure to do so.

Now you know that not all grass are like weeds that you need to uproot, some can add beautiful interest in your garden. Choose from our list the species that will best suit your garden motif.

Keep your garden (or even your home) off from the sight of your backyard passersby. Instead, have them in awe of your unique cover.

Happy planting!

Last Updated on

>