Landscaping With Flowers

Learn how to liven up your outdoor grass space with these tips for adding colorful flowers to your landscape.

Using flowers and grasses in contrasting colors and textures looks attractive over large areas or in pots or borders. Plant bulbs in a lawn for a spring display, or let the lawn grow long, and enhance with wildflowers for a meadow effect. Prairie-style planting is different and takes this to the extreme: mix perennials with swathes of tall grasses in large borders.

Contemporary Combinations

The foliage of the feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) breaks up the clumps of white roses, purple pin cushions (Scabiosa columbaria), and chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) to form an open, looser style of planting that gives a modern twist to an otherwise traditional border. Ornamental grasses can be used to great effect in borders since their foliage and seedheads create an attractive contrast with the colorful flowers.

Annual Meadows

The most popular annual meadow flowers include poppies, daisies, and cornflowers, which are also effective on a small scale when sown into borders or flowerbeds. Meadows sown with annual flowers create a huge splash of color in a small amount of time. If they are left to form seedheads before being cut down in late summer, then they should produce flowers year after year.

Prairie Style

This traditional prairie planting consists of fiery Achillea and Rudbeckia and airy Stipa tenuissima, which creates movement as it sways in the wind. Influenced by American prairies, this style is popular due to its spectacular display of brightly colored flowers, low maintenance, and drought tolerance. Unlike most meadows, prairies generally contain more flowers than grass and can provide year-round interest — the plants can be left to form seedheads and look spectacular covered in frost in winter.

Spring Appeal

Rows of Grape Hyacinths Add Interest to Grass

Rows of Grape Hyacinths Add Interest to Grass

Rows of naturalized grape hyacinths (Muscari), Anemone, and Chionodoxa create a simple yet stunning formal effect, adding a bit of life to this large expanse of grass. This effect can be achieved on any size lawn, using different bulbs, colors, and planting patterns. The lawn around the bulbs will need to be cut weekly in spring to retain the definition between grass and flowers.

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