Many cultures seem to have an identifiable garden style--there are formal
Italian fountain gardens, French parterres, English perennial borders, and
Japanese contemplation gardens. For many years, we didn't have an
American-style garden. Now, a new trend has arisen which the originators have
dubbed the 'New American Garden.' This style of landscaping is naturalistic and
relies on sweeps of ornamental grasses to create the feel of the prairies that
once dominated much of the American landscape.
The backyard garden presented here follows that theme. The grasses used vary
from low-growing plants hugging the borders to tall plants reaching six feet or
more. Some of the grasses are bold and upright; others arching and graceful.
When the grasses flower, they produce plumes that dance in the wind and sparkle
in the sun. Foliage colors include bright green, blue-green, variegated, and
even blood-red. During autumn, foliage and flowers dry in place, forming a
stunning scene of naturalistic hues in varying shades of straw, almond, brown,
and rust. Most of the grasses remain interesting to look at all winter, unless
heavy snow flattens them to the ground. In early spring, the dried foliage must
be cut off and removed to make way for the new growth--but this is the only
maintenance chore required by an established garden of ornamental grasses!
The design includes a large, realistic-looking pond (not included in the plan blueprints), which can be made from a
vinyl-liner or concrete. At the end of the path leading from the bridge, a
small seating area provides retreat.
Low in maintenance requirements and high in natural appeal, this garden of
ornamental grasses delights the senses all year with subdued foliage colors,
sparkling flower plumes and rustling leaves.