Landscaping with Australian Native Grasses

Australian native grasses are attractive all year round, easy to maintain use very little water, and provide variation in texture and colour. They encourage birds, and wildlife into your property, send down deep roots to provide a drought tolerant solution to Australia’s changing climate.

Native grasses have an array of tussocky habits with a wide variety of leaf shapes, textures and sizes. The foliage can be erect, falling, flexible or ridged. During the flowing season, the grasses sent out stems carrying the inflorescence and it is these flower heads, which make the grasses an attractive garden feature. The flower heads remain for many months, even after the seed has fallen. The grasses can be used to create interesting textures and accents in the garden, particularly when used with other native flowers, forbs and herbs.

There are many ways to use native grasses in the garden:

  • Grasses of different shapes can be used in a garden bed as an understory for larger native shrubs and trees.
  • They can fill in the gaps between small and medium sized perennials.
  • Native grasses can be used as ground cover grasses and when established can retard and prevent weed growth.
  • Some natives will grow in shade and cope with competition from tree roots.
  • Native grasses can also be used for borders, along walkways or in rockeries.

When designing a garden with grasses, use tall spike species such as a Spear grass or Plume grass as a backdrop for lower growing group cover species such as weeping grass. Alternate with different shaped inflorescences for contrast. Grasses with spikes can contrast well with grasses with open or feathering panicles.

Examples of Australian native grasses used in landscaping

Poa labillardieri is an large tussock grass used in landscaping

Poa labillardieri is an large tussock grass used in landscaping

Terrey Hills Golf Club North Sydney

Australian Native Tussock grasses used in landscaping at Terrey Hills Golf Club North Sydney

Attractive Australian Native Tussock grass used in landscaping

Australian native grasses can be as feature plants in the garden

Key species used in landscaping

Kangaroo grass
Kangaroo grass florets

Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) is tufted with soft leaves. The tall arching flower stems have russet coloured decorative seed heads which last for many months.

Spear grass
Spear grass (Austrostipa densiflora) floret

Spear grass (Austrostipa spp.) have attractive tall flower spikes wich vary in form according to species.

Wallaby grass
Hume wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma spp.) floret

Wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma spp.) are excellent accent plants, particularly when in flower. There are numerous species that vary in form and height from very short (ankle height) to quite tall (waist height).

Weeping grass
Griffin Weeping grass (microlaena stipoides var Griffin) lawn at full height

Weeping grass (Microlaena stipoides) is a versatile grass with small, fine green leaves. It can be used for lawns, borders, along walkways or in rockeries.