Using tall grasses for privacy is a great way to add subtle barriers around spaces without feeling unnatural. While a true privacy screen is designed for the job, it can feel like a very harsh and synthetic border.
But not all tall grasses are created equal. In this article, we’ll suggest 6 of the best tall grasses for privacy.
So, why choose tall grasses for privacy instead of a privacy screen or fence? Well, for the following reasons:
- Offers a more natural privacy screen
- Grasses grow quickly
- Grasses are generally low maintenance
- Ideal for “hiding” a privacy barrier among other plants
Below, we’ll cover the best 6 tall grasses for privacy. Note that some are more suitable for gardens than growing in pots, but we’ll make this kind of distinction obvious.
1. Pampas grass – Best for large spaces
Let’s start with a favorite in the gardening world: pampas grass. It’s the one you see decorating boho interiors in pots and is ideal for covering large areas outdoors.
When planted in the ground, pampas grass can grow up to 10ft. tall and wide. The dwarf variety, Pumila, can be grown in pots and reaches about 5ft. As such, it’s better for balconies. You can check out our full guide on pampas grass for more tips.
- Can be grown in pots
- Provides massive coverage
- Needs almost no maintenance
- Considered invasive – banned in some areas
2. Big Bluestem – Best for interesting colors
Big Bluestem is one of the more popular tall grasses for privacy, especially in arid climates. It can grow up to 6ft. tall, and its colors range from green and blue to red.
Like pampas grass, it’s considered invasive in some areas, so check before you plant it. Also, it dies back in winter, meaning you won’t have a privacy screen during those months. But if you supplement it with other plants, you’ll be fine.
- Interesting color range
- Great for privacy
- Ideal for garden borders
- Dies back in winter
3. Bamboo – Best for quick growth
Bamboo is a grass, and is the fastest-growing plant in the world. As such, it’s almost ideal as a privacy screen. But it can take over yards and is almost impossible to remove.
- Grows incredibly fast
- Great for privacy
- Almost impossible to remove and control if grown in the ground
4. Fountain Grass – Best for balconies
Fountain grass is ideal for balconies because you can grow it in pots to heights of 1-3ft. While not super tall, it’s fine for blocking a railing.
It comes in a range of colors, making it more interesting than other tall grasses for privacy. However, like Big Bluestem, it dies off in the winter.
- Ideal for balconies
- Can be grown in pots or in the ground
- Dies back in winter
5. Switchgrass – Best for attracting birds
Switchgrass is a fairly small grass that grows up to 6ft. tall. However, smaller varieties are more common. Each plant can spread up to 3ft., so it’s great for low, thick privacy borders.
The seed stems range from green and purple to copper as the year progresses, and the seeds are popular with birds in the winter. As such, it’s ideal for attracting wildlife during quieter months.
- Interesting colors
- Suitable for sandy and nutrient-deficient soil
- Attracts birds in winter
- Doesn’t grow as tall as other grasses
6. New Zealand Flax – Best for a different look
New Zealand flax is technically a grass, but it looks vastly different to other tall grasses for privacy. It has large thick leaves rather than thin stems, so is ideal for adding interest if grasses aren’t your thing.
Some types can grow up to 12ft. tall, but 6ft. is more common. You can even grow plants this size in containers, meaning you can move them around for flexible privacy screens. It doesn’t do great in cold temperatures, though, as these can turn the leaves brown.
- Different look than other grasses
- Some types can get massive
- Ideal for pots
- Needs a fairly warm environment
These tall grasses for privacy are by no means the only suitable types, but they should offer enough choice for you to get started. Of course, always check your local laws surrounding invasive species before you start planting tall grasses!