Dog Friendly Ornamental Grasses

If you, like many of us, have a dog, chances are you will notice their regular route in the garden quickly becomes well worn.  It seems that nothing will grow!  One  option is to integrate their path into your garden design behind a screen of tall and sturdy perennial grasses and shrubs.   Create the pathway to be at least 90cm (36″) in width, it will accommodate small to large size dogs. With raised beds or mounding borders along the way, it will create visual interest and reduce trampling.  Be sure to plant densely, starting with quart or one-gallon sized plants.   Most ornamental grasses are dog friendly. They are available in different shapes and sizes, textures and colours. Grasses can be soft and mounding, or straight and upright. Planting several types of grasses together among perennials and shrubs in a border will provide a screen, adding an element of seclusion in the garden. Grasses can even act as a buffer to more fragile flowering plants.   Two popular choices are Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’     This beautiful variety of maiden grass has a gorgeous vase shape that reaches heights of 90 cm (4’), forming a dense clump 80 cm (32”) wide. Narrow finely variegated silvery foliage bends gracefully in the slightest of breezes, catching the light. This grass softens hard landscape features such as a walls and fences. In late summer to early fall, crimson red plumes appear which change over to sterling white as the season progresses towards winter. ‘Morning Light’ enjoys full sun in well-draining soils but will tolerate partial shade. It will also put up with heat, humidity, drought and salt.   Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’     More linear than the Miscanthus, Karl Foerster grass is prized for its vertical wheat-like plumes that appear in late spring and last throughout the season. Delivering great contrast when planted among other low growing shrubs and perennials, this variety of feather reed grass grows 180 cm (6’) tall, forming a 60 cm (2’) wide clump. ‘Karl Foerster’ also prefers full sun and moist, fertile soils, though it will tolerate clay and dry sandy soils