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15 tallest ornamental grasses for privacy and beauty

Many homeowners use ornamental grasses as accents, screens, and focal points. That is because the plants provide an easier way of adding elegant texture and color to a landscape.

Since these long grass plants grow in large groupings, they can add more privacy to your home. If you want to block unpleasant views or screening areas of your yard from the view of neighbors and passersby, you can use these grasses instead of erecting a wall.

Furthermore, the tallest ornamental grasses act like green or decorative walls and are less confining. You can spread them out to achieve different objectives like providing shade or blocking a view or sunlight in some areas.

Although decorative grasses can add privacy to your home, you have to choose the best type. For example, many homeowners prefer fast-growing ornamental plants because they are more affordable and offer immediate privacy.

But these plants don’t have a long lifespan and can suffer damage during a storm. An alternative would be to select densely growing plants because they will offer solid coverage of your landscape.

Note: Avoid grasses that are classified as invasive species in your area. If not taken care of properly, they can easily displace nearby plants.

If you want to plant tall grasses for privacy and beauty around your home or landscape, here are 15 types to choose from.

1. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)
Image: Flickr/Bluestem

The big bluestem is one of the best native grass plants to grow at home to add privacy and beauty.

When grown in hardiness zone 4-9, the grass will add a pop of color to your landscape throughout the year. It is the best for privacy because it can reach heights of up to ten feet.

The grass is invasive, fast-growing, and can endure poor soil conditions, drought, diseases, and pests.

2. Beard grass (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Beard grass (Schizachyrium scoparium)

The beard grass, also known as little bluestem, is one of the tallest grasses in North America.

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Its clumps can grow up to two feet until late summer when the stems elongate further into flowering stems that can reach heights of up to five feet.

The grass works well as a bordering plant because it is broad and can provide cover, shade, and privacy. Beard grass should be planted in full sun in zones 3-9.

3. Chinese fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Chinese fountain (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
Image: Flickr/Tangled Bank

The Chinese fountain grass is an excellent plant choice for homeowners who want to add soft texture to their landscapes.

It grows to form a dense clump of arching foliage that produces lots of showy, purplish-pink flower plumes, hence perfect for borders, rock gardens, and beds.

As one of the tallest ornamental grasses for privacy in zone 5, the plant requires fertile and well-drained soil to sprout.

But an advantage is that the Chinese fountain grass grows fast and does not require regular care.

4. Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

The Chinese silver grass is a clump-forming ornamental plant used at home to add a breezy and casual beauty to a garden or landscape.

Apart from its elegant nature, the plant is an aggressive invasive species that grows in giant clumps to heights of up to eight feet. That means it is ideal for the privacy screen and informal hedging.

The Chinese silver grass has many cultivars, with some hardy to zone four and others from zones five to nine.

5. Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora)

Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora)
Image: Flickr/Scott Schryvers

The feather reed grass is one of the most common names among the ornamental grasses that you’ll come across on every list of tall grasses. This is mostly due to its striking appearance.

The grass has feathery stalks that come out reddish-brown in spring and turn a golden color in fall. That means it can create a beautiful vertical effect in your landscape and is an excellent option for rain gardens.

The feather reed grass is hardy to zones four to nine since it thrives in wet soils or muddy areas and can withstand drier conditions. It does not need advanced care.

6. Frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus)

Frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus)
Image: Jahrwell

Frost grass is one of the best purple grasses hardy in zones four to eight. Some are green in color. It is a warm-season, clump-forming grass with a neat, upright to rounded form.

The plant is useful for adding a tropical look to northern gardens, especially when planted individually or in large drifts.

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Also, the grass can work well for privacy because it grows up to four feet in moist, well-drained, and fertile soil in full sun or light shade.

7. Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima)
Image: Flickr/Aaron Odland

Mexican feather grass is one of the best fine-textured grasses to grow at home.

It sprouts to form wispy, flowing, and lime-green foliage, less than an eighth wide and up to 12 feet long. The plant will move slowly or rhythmically backward and forward or from side to side to the slightest breeze.

As a giant grass, Mexican feather grass is perfect for the water-wise garden. The plant is hardy from zones 6-10 and likes life on the dry side without heavy or wet soil.

8. Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)
Image: LukeLuke68

Pampas grass is one of the best flowering grasses that grow in zones 7-11.

The plant adds beauty to a home because of its graceful, fluffy plumes that appear in late summer, making a bold and dramatic statement on a landscape.

Furthermore, its colors range from silvery white to sand pink. As a large perennial grass, it can reach heights of up to ten feet, offering better privacy to a home.

It is worth noting that pampas grass can also be invasive. When it grows in a large patch, it can be difficult to remove or prevent it from regrowing.

9. Pink hair grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Pink hair grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
Image: Flickr/Darby&Me

Pink hair grass is a clump-forming, warm-season, perennial grass hardy from zones 5-11.

Many homeowners consider it a beautiful North American grass bush because of its billowy, pink plumes that can enliven any landscape.

The plant can also offer better privacy around the home because it can reach a height of four feet and a width of three feet if grown in clumps.

After sprouting, it does not require too much care and does not get affected by diseases and insects.

10. Purple majesty (Pennisetum glaucum)

Purple majesty (Pennisetum glaucum)
Image: NSPC

Purple majesty is one of the most eye-catching plants to grow at home.

The grass can add a unique and exotic look to your landscape when mass-grown or planted in clusters of at least nine plants and can sprout to as high as five feet.

Its leaves start green in spring then turn a glittering dark mahogany purple in the summer, creating a wholesome clump. You can plant purple majesty in zones ten and eleven.

11. Ravenna grass (Tripidium ravennae)

Ravenna grass (Tripidium ravennae)
Image: Christo doulou

Ravenna grass is a big and bold plant with arching green foliage stalks that can reach up to five feet tall, and its flower stalks can expand up to 12 feet.

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Its overall length makes it an excellent plant to employ as a living screen or focal point on a landscape. Ravenna grass grows well in zones 6-9 in sunny, fertile, moist, well-drained soil.

An advantage is that it is a low-maintenance plant and not invasive when grown.

12. Scottish tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

Scottish tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
Image: Cottage Farms

Scottish tufted hair grass makes is ideal for privacy because of its compact size. It sprouts in clumps, making it useful for smaller areas, borders, and containers.

Furthermore, it grows to form dark green foliage that adds a refined texture and color to any landscape. Scottish tufted hair grass is hardy from zones four to seven.

Once grown, it can reach a height of up to four feet with seed and requires little maintenance.

13. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Image: Lotosk

Switchgrass is a clump-forming, warm-season grass that forms purple stigmas at flowering time. It grows to heights of up to six feet in zones 3-9.

During fall, its color changes to pale yellow, and its step turns to bright yellow. The curly leaves remain bright green and spread up and down the stem throughout the growing season.

Switchgrass is a perennial plant that will grow in large clumps, providing better privacy to a home.

14. Umbrella bamboo (Fargesia murielae)

Umbrella bamboo (Fargesia murielae)
Image: Baumschule

Umbrella bamboo is a non-invasive clumping bamboo with a canopy of evergreen leaves.

It is not like any other bamboo because it has more aesthetic appeal, with tall, slender, and rich yellow-green canes providing an excellent impression as a privacy screen.

Umbrella bamboo is the fastest-growing ornamental grasses on this list, in addition to being one of the tallest. The plant can grow to heights of up to 15 feet and a width of five feet in zones 3-5.

15. Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)

Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)
Image: Jardins

Zebra Grass is an ornamental plant known for its long arching leaves with appealing stripes across the width, like dappled foliage in the sun.

It is a perennial plant that produces deep green leaves in spring, showing more golden striping as the leaves mature.

Zebra Grass can get up to six feet tall to create a spectacular screen. The plant works well in zones 5-9.

The tallest ornamental grasses add beauty and texture to a landscape. But these plants are also the best for adding privacy to your home or garden.

You can use these grass shrubs to block unpleasant views or screen areas of your yard from the viewpoint of neighbors and passersby or provide shade in your backyard.

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