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20 types of grass used in landscaping

There are several different types of grass used in landscaping. 

For example, you can choose between turf grass for your lawn and ornamental grass for planting around your yard or in the garden. 

On top of that, each of these species of grass has unique features and characteristics.

Below are some of the different types of grass for landscaping that you can use in your yard. 

We have also included their scientific name and other interesting tidbits you should know about them.

1. Buffalo grass – Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides. Image by: Flickr/Susan Crick

Buffalo grass is a common North American grass native to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is a warm-season perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family.

Buffalo grass is short growing (about 20 cm tall), has gray-green curly leaves, and spreads very quickly horizontally using stolons, forming a thick and dense turf. 

On top of that, it is drought resistant. Therefore, it is grown as a lawn grass.

2. Bermuda grass – Cynodon dactylon

Bermuda grass – Cynodon dactylon. Image by Flickr/Nelleke Cornips

Bermuda grass is a common type found worldwide but is native to Europe, Australia, Africa, and parts of Asia. 

It is a short-growing grass (about 1 to 30 cm tall) with short, gray-green leaves. It also has a deep root system and spreads quickly horizontally using stolons.

Bermuda grass is a warm-season perennial plant; thus, it returns yearly in favorable warm weather. 

It also has a deep root system, is highly drought resistant, and forms thick sod and turf. As a result, it is one of the most popular types of lawn grass.

We previously shared how to kill weeds in Bermuda grass should you choose this grass for your lawn.

3. Ryegrass – Lolium perenne

Ryegrass - Lolium perenne
Ryegrass – Lolium perenne. Image by: Flickr/Spiranthes2013

Ryegrass, also known as English ryegrass or winter ryegrass, is a plant species in the Poaceae family and the Pooideae subfamily. 

The grass is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia but is widespread in several parts worldwide.

Ryegrass is a low-growing grass that spreads through tillering. It has dark-green leaves with a smooth, glossy surface. 

It is also perennial, cool-season grass that enjoys vigorous growth during the spring and fall seasons.

Ryegrass has a high-water tolerance and can withstand heavy foot traffic. As a result, it is mainly cultivated in school yards, parks, football fields, lawns, and other grass surfaces with high foot traffic. 

The grass is also used for overseeding winter-dormant lawn grasses like Bermuda grass.

4. Kentucky bluegrass – Poa pratensis

Kentucky bluegrass - Poa pratensis
Kentucky bluegrass – Poa pratensis. Image by: Flickr/Jonathan Bart

Kentucky bluegrass is a perennial grass species in the Poaceae family, Pooideae subfamily. 

It is native to several regions, including Europe, North Asia, and parts of North Africa (Algeria and Morrocco). The grass is also widespread (though not native) to the North American region.

Kentucky bluegrass is a short-growing plant (between 18 and 24 inches tall) with blue-green leaves with a unique, boat-shaped leaf tip. 

It is also a quick-growing grass, which spreads using rhizomes and tillers, forming a thick, dense sod. As a result, it is grown as a lawn grass.

5. Pampas grass – Cortaderia selloana

Pampas grass - Cortaderia selloana
Pampas grass – Cortaderia selloana. Image by: Flickr/Jun deCix

Pampas grass is a flowering grass that belongs to the Poaceae family and the Cortaderia genus. 

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It is a perennial grass native to the South American region, including Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. It is a large, tall-growing plant, reaching up to 10 ft tall when mature.

Pampas grass produces long, sharp-edged leaves that fold at the midrib, forming dense tufts. 

Also, during summer, female plants produce showy, silvery-white flower plumes, which form a cluster above the foliage, creating a dramatic appearance. 

As a result, this is one of the different types of grass for the yard, which are cultivated for ornamental reasons.

NOTE: Pampas grass can also be invasive if not controlled properly. We’ve explained methods for eliminating it when it grows out of control.

6. Chinese silver grass – Miscanthus sinensis

Chinese silver grass - Miscanthus sinensis
Chinese silver grass – Miscanthus sinensis.

The Chinese silver grass is a flowering grass in the Poaceae family, native to the eastern Asia region and, more specifically, China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. 

It is an herbaceous, tall-growing perennial grass that can reach heights of up to 7ft (sometimes up to 13 ft). 

The grass also forms dense clumps (that emerge from underground rhizomes) with tall, thin leaves (7-30 cm tall and 0.3-2 cm wide).

The dense clumps of Chinese silver grass create a fountain-like appearance. On top of that, the grass produces attractive, purplish flowers that bloom above the foliage. 

The grass is commonly grown as an ornamental grass.

7. Tall fescue – Festuca arundinacea

Tall fescue - Festuca arundinacea
Tall fescue – Festuca arundinacea. Image:Flickr/Alan Buckingham

Tall fescue is a cool-season perennial grass in the Poaceae family that is native to Europe but widespread in several regions worldwide. 

It is a bunch-forming grass that spreads through vertical shoots (tillers). The grass has dark-green coarse leaves with a dull top surface and a glossy bottom surface.

Tall fescue grass has several uses; it is grown as a forage grass for agricultural purposes. 

It is also a popular lawn grass tolerant to heavy foot traffic; it is even grown on the South Lawn of the White House. 

Lastly, the grass can be grown in landscapes for ornamental reasons due to its showy tufts.

8. Purple fountain grass – Pennisetum setaceum

Purple fountain grass - Pennisetum setaceum
Purple fountain grass – Pennisetum setaceum. Image: Flickr/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Purple fountain grass is a plant in the Poaceae family and native to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. 

It is a tall-growing plant that reaches up to five feet tall and four feet wide. It is also a perennial grass (coming back every year during the warm season), though it often acts as an annual plant in places with extremely chilly winter seasons.

Purple fountain grass has attractive, burgundy-colored leaves. It also produces showy, purple blooms in summer. 

As a result, it is one of the most popular types of ornamental grass for landscaping.

9. Feather reed grass – Calamagrostis × acutiflor

Feather reed grass - Calamagrostis × acutiflor
Feather reed grass – Calamagrostis × acutiflor. Image: Flickr/AaronGrabiak.com

Feather reed grass is a naturally occurring hybrid plant of the Calamagrostis arundinacea and Calamagrostis epigejos, two grass species of the Poaceae family native to Eurasia. 

It is a tall-growing grass that can reach up to five feet tall and two feet wide when mature.

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Feathered reed grass has blue-green leaves that become an attractive golden-tan shade in fall. It also produces showy pink or white flowers

Therefore, it is primarily used in landscaping for ornamental reasons.

10. Couch grass

Couch grass
Couch grass. Image:Flickr/melleus.

Couch grass, also known as witchgrass or quitch grass, is another popular type used in landscaping. 

It is a perennial species of the Poaceae and Pooideae subfamily, native to Europe, Asia, northwest Africa, and the Arctic biome.

Couch grass is a low-growing grass that spreads through rhizomes, forming a dense, deep green mat. 

It is also easy to maintain and highly tolerant to drought conditions and heavy foot traffic. Therefore, it is mainly used for lawns.

11. Kikuyu grass – Cenchrus clandestinus

Kikuyu grass - Cenchrus clandestinus
Kikuyu grass – Cenchrus clandestinus. Image: Flickr/Forest and Kim Starr

Kikuyu grass is a tropical species in the Poaceae family, Panicoideae subfamily. 

It is native to the Kenyan highlands that are home to the Kikuyu people, hence its name. 

However, it has been naturalized in several other regions worldwide, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Kikuyu grass is an aggressive growing grass that spreads through a deep-rooted rhizome system and above-ground runners. 

It is also a perennial plant moderately tolerant to drought and heavy foot traffic. 

Lastly, it produces light-green leaves that form a dense turf, making it a popular garden lawn grass.

12. St Augustine grass – Stenotaphrum secundatum

St Augustine grass - Stenotaphrum secundatum
St Augustine grass – Stenotaphrum secundatum. Image: Flickr/Dũng Đỗ Hữu

St Augustine grass, also known as buffalo turf, is a warm-season perennial grass species in the Poaceae family, Panicoideae subfamily. 

The grass is native to the warm regions of Africa, South America, and the southeastern U.S.A., but it is also naturalized in several other countries.

St Augustine grass is a low-growing species that spreads horizontally using stolons, forming a deep, dense turf. 

It also features broad, coarse leaves with an attractive blue-green color. These characteristics make the grass a popular option for home lawns.

If you have a lawn with St. Augustine grass, use these weed removal techniques to remove unwanted grass and other weeds from it.

13. Blue oat grass –  Helictotrichon sempervirens

Blue oat grass -  Helictotrichon sempervirens
Blue oat grass –  Helictotrichon sempervirens. Image: Flickr/Matt Lavin

Blue oat grass is a flowering grass in the Poaceae family and the Pooideae subfamily native to the grassland regions of central and southwest Europe. 

It is a tall-growing grass (reaching up to 140 cm in height) that grows in an arching pattern (spreading up to 60 cm wide. 

It is also an evergreen perennial plant, though it sometimes becomes semi-dormant in summer due to drought stress.

Blue oat grass grows clumping, forming nice-looking green-blue round tufts. 

The grass also produces pale blue-green flowers that bloom in summer, making it an excellent ornamental plant for landscaping.

14. Blue fescue – Festuca glauca

Blue fescue - Festuca glauca
Blue fescue – Festuca glauca. Image: Flickr/shadowshador

Blue fescue, also known as mountain grass or grey fescue, is a flowering grass species in the Poaceae family and the Pooideae subfamily. 

It is a semi-green herbaceous perennial grass that is native to Europe.

Blue fescue is a clump-forming grass with short, glamorous blue-gray foliage. It also produces light-green flowers with hints of purple above the leaves from late spring to early summer. 

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As a result, the grass is cultivated in gardens and yards for ornamental purposes.

15. Centipede grass – Eremochloa ophiuroides

Centipede Grass
Centipede grass. Image by: Flickr/MJRGoblin

Centipede grass is a plant species in the Poaceae family and the Panicoideae subfamily native to Asia, especially in China. 

However, it is widely grown in the North American region, where it is an introduced species. It is also a warm-season perennial grass that produces attractive light green (sometimes blue-green) foliage.

Centipede grass is low-growing and spreads horizontally using stolons, forming a thick, dense mat. 

Also, it requires minimal maintenance and is tolerant to heat, making it a perfect choice for lawns. You can easily fight weeds in centipede grass should they occur.

16. European alkaligrass – Puccinellia distans  

European alkaligrass - Puccinellia distans
European alkali grass – Puccinellia distant. Image: Flickr/Bas Kers (NL)

European alkaligrass is a type of grass in the Poaceae family and the Pooideae subfamily native to Europe but widely grown in North America as an introduced species. 

It is a tall-growing perennial plant with upright stems that can reach up to 60 cm high at maturity. It is mainly found in moist areas with saline soils.

European alkaligrass features green to purplish leaves with a flat, rough texture. The plant also produces whitish flowers that form clusters above the foliage. 

Therefore, it is often grown as an ornamental plant, although it is considered a weed in many areas due to its aggressive and invasive nature.

17. Muhly grass – Muhlenbergia capillaris

Muhly grass - Muhlenbergia capillaris
Muhly grass – Muhlenbergia capillaries. Image: Flickr/Charlie

Muhly grass, also known as hairawn muhly, is a plant in the Poaceae family native to eastern regions of the U.S., Mexico, and Guatemala. 

It is a perennial grass with a stiff, upright growth habit, reaching three to four feet tall. As a result, it is one of the top types of tall grass for landscaping.

Muhly grass has glossy, dark-green leaves that grow in a clumping pattern. It also produces showy pinkish-purple blooms in the fall season. Therefore, it is cultivated for ornamental reasons.

18. Creeping bentgrass – Agrostis stolonifera

Creeping bentgrass - Agrostis stolonifera
Creeping bentgrass – Agrostis stolonifera.Image: Flickr/Tony Frates

The creeping bentgrass is a grass species in the Poaceae family and the Pooideae subfamily native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. 

It is a cool season, tall-growing, perennial grass that can grow up to one meter in height.

Creeping bentgrass often forms mats with its blue-grey foliage. Therefore, it is used for turf in gardens, lawns, and other landscapes like golf courses. 

However, it is incredibly high maintenance, especially when grown as lawn grass, as it requires regular watering, mowing, fertilizing, aeration, and dethatching.

19. Japanese forest grass – Hakonechloa macra

Japanese forest grass - Hakonechloa macra
Japanese forest grass – Hakonechloa macra. Image: Flickr/James Gaither

Japanese forest grass is a grass species within the Poaceae family that is native to mountainous regions of Japan, hence the name. 

It is a perennial, slow-growing grass which produces new leaves from underground offshoots.

The Japanese forest grass has narrow, lanceolate-shaped leaves that are bright, yellowish-green. It also forms dense clumps. 

It also grows in an arching pattern, with its foliage creating a beautiful cascading effect. As a result, it is cultivated as an ornamental grass.

20. Bahia grass – Paspalum notatum

Bahia grass - Paspalum notatum
Bahia grass – Paspalum notatum. Image:Flickr/Bat

Bahia grass is another common type of grass used for landscaping, belonging to the Poaceae family and Panicoideae subfamily. 

It is a perennial grass that is native to Mexico and South American regions but is also widespread in North America, where it is naturalized. It is primarily found in tropical and subtropical habitats.

Bahia grass is a low-growing, creeping plant which spreads through stolons and rhizomes. 

Therefore, it forms a dense turf with its rough-textured light-green leaves. Therefore, it is popularly used in home lawns during landscaping.

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