Pampas grass is a popular decorative element indoors, but, unsurprisingly, it works just as well outdoors. Famous for its bushy stems and interesting texture, it’s a great choice both cut and grown as a plant.
In this article, we’ll look at 12 ways to use pampas grass décor outdoors. Of course, you can translate plenty of these into indoor decorations, too.
Getting Started with Pampas Grass
Pampas grass grows well in USA Hardiness Zones 7-11 and generally doesn’t require much maintenance. If you live somewhere colder, you’ll have to bring your living plants indoors over winter because they can’t tolerate low temperatures.
When grown directly in the ground, pampas grass can reach heights of up to 10ft. Keeping it in containers will limit its spread, allowing you much greater control if you’re growing it on a balcony or patio.
Pampas grass is considered an invasive species in some states. Check whether you can plant it in the ground (or at all) before you rush out to buy some.
Outdoor Pampas Grass Décor
The pampas grass family’s name is Cortaderia and it comes in 4 main varieties:
- Andes Silver
- Gold Band
- Silver Comet
- Purple pampas grass
It’s also worth mentioning Cortaderia selloana, known as Pumila. It’s a dwarf variety of pampas grass that grows about 5ft. tall, making it more suitable for smaller outdoor areas.
Considering the main varieties are named after colors, it should be fairly easy to decide which is best for your design ideas. You can buy dyed pampas grass, too, but as cut stems rather than live plants.
Pampas grass décor works great with plenty of design styles, including:
Depending on the color grass you choose and the way you style it, you could make it work with pretty much any outdoor design style.
12 Pampas Grass Décor Ideas for Your Outdoor Space
You’ve probably seen hundreds of articles about pampas grass décor indoors. Some of these ideas can be translated to outdoor spaces with a bit of care, but below are some of the best ways to use pampas grass outdoors.
1. Privacy screen
Due to its height and bushy growth, pampas grass is an obvious choice for balcony privacy. It would work great to hide something like a hot tub or trash can area or simply to block a neighbor’s view of your yard.
Also, due to its height, you could easily use pampas grass to block raised areas like a deck or veranda. A single pampas grass can grow up to 6ft. wide, giving you plenty of coverage with minimal effort.
2. Wall decorations
A popular choice for pampas grass décor is wall decorations, such as wreaths or displays. These work fine outdoors, providing you put them up in a covered area, like a balcony wall. Cut pampas might be durable, but it’s a natural material, so rain will cause it to rot.
It’s pretty easy to make a pampas grass wreath, so check out this video for more information.
3. Attract birds
Pampas grass is perfect for attracting local birds, which use it for making nests and many will eat the seeds. You’ll probably want to plant the pampas grass in the ground (or a massive pot), so it can get big enough to be worth the birds’ time.
Of course, if you want to keep the birds around for even longer, consider hanging a bird feeder from your balcony or patio railing.
4. Contrast against pots
If you’re designing a colorful outdoor space, such as Moroccan or boho, pampas grass décor is a great way to contrast against bright plant pots. You might already have suitable pots, but if not, it’s a perfect excuse to buy some more!
You should grow pampas grass in a 10-gallon pot at the minimum, which can make it a bit heavy. However, once planted, you won’t have to do much else to it.
Gold pampas grass looks great against bright blue or gray pots, whereas silver contrasts against turquoise and emerald greens. Purple pampas grass adds good contrast to colder colors, making it a good accent for neutrals or black and white designs.
With a bit of planning, you could use pampas grass to shade brighter outdoor areas. The logic is much the same as a privacy screen: it’s big and bushy, meaning it blocks out light.
You might need to raise the pampas grass slightly using pots or a raised bed, but, at 10ft., it should provide plenty of coverage.
Also, it’ll help block your outdoor space from the wind for the same reason.
6. Making lighting arrangements
As you can probably tell by now, pampas grass stems are pretty sturdy. With a bit of crafting know-how, you could try making some pampas grass décor lighting arrangements for your outdoor space.
You’ll want to use picked and dried grass rather than the live plant. Simply get some string lights and wrap them through the bushy part of the grass. To keep everything together, consider wrapping some fabric around the stem, which you can also use to hide the light’s wires.
Propped in a vase, these will be a great way to add ambient light to a patio or balcony.
Alternatively, you could try making a pampas grass cloud, which follows the same logic but is more of a table or wall arrangement.
7. Mask noise pollution
While not specifically pampas grass décor, the plant works great at masking annoying noise pollution such as road traffic.
It’s worth noting that it won’t block noises, though, and requires even a slight breeze to run through the area. Providing this happens, the noise of pampas grass stems rustling in the wind will do a pretty good job of masking traffic noise.
For best results, plant the grass as close as possible to seating areas, so you’re closer to the noise.
8. Accessorize your vases
Vases look best when filled with cut flowers, but this isn’t possible all year round. Instead, switching live flowers out for pampas grass décor gives you a way to keep your vase out while still looking great.
Pampas grass works with tall vases and bowls, as you can arrange it horizontally to add interest to larger surfaces. Consider adding in other elements, such as string lights, pebbles, or sticks for all kinds of vase-based decorations.
9. Soften hardscaping
In landscaping lingo, hardscaping refers to things like walls, patios, and so on. Blending these into natural landscapes can often look jarring because they stand in contrast to everything that makes a natural landscape natural.
Due to the size and shape of pampas grass, it’s a perfect choice for softening hard edges in transitional areas. You could grow it in pots around the edge of a patio or deck or plant it next to a pool or paved walkway.
10. Mark the transition of seasons
Pampas grass décor really comes into its own when other plants are dying off in fall and winter. It’s around this time that pampas grows its seed heads, which are the large fluffy tops.
Adding a few careful pampas grass plants around your flowerbeds will keep them looking fresh all year, even when everything else is dead. For this, you’ll probably want to go for varieties that pop, such as silver or purple. Gold will be too close in color to the brown dying plants, making it less noticeable.
11. Use dyed pampas to add pops of color
So far, we’ve mainly focused on natural colors found in pampas grass. But, as mentioned earlier, there’s a massive range of cut and dyed types that are perfect for almost any design style.
You can buy dyed pampas grass online or dye it yourself. To do so, you’ll just need some fabric dye and a container large enough to fit the grass.
Mix the dye according to the instructions, and then dip the stalks upside down in the container. Swirl them around for a few seconds, remove, wring out, and hang up to dry.
Drying can take up to two weeks depending on how warm it is. You can speed it up by using a hairdryer set to cool, but do this outside because they can shed!
12. Potted pampas can shelter gardens
You can use pampas grass décor to shelter your vegetable or flower garden in the same way you can to shelter a patio. It’ll create shade and block out some wind, making it a good choice to use around fragile plants.
But don’t plant it directly in the ground. Pampas will suck up all the nutrients your vegetables need, so will do more harm than good.
Final Thoughts on Pampas Grass Décor
Hopefully, these pampas grass décor ideas will give you some inspiration for how to liven up your outdoor space. It’s an incredibly versatile material, both as a live plant and cut stems. Just be sure you’re allowed to plant live pampas grass in your area, as plenty of places ban its use.