Prairie style planting

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Natural and fresh with that ‘homegrown’ vibe. A prairie style garden is great for attracting those all-important pollinators and satisfies our urge as humans to be closer to nature and the simple life. A garden that evolves, Prairie style planting has taken off globally over the lasty few years. Outside the US, it is particularly popular in Australia, Scandinavia and here in the UK.

The Benefits

  • Appeals to the senses
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought resistant
  • Attractive to pollinators
  • Autumn seedheads provide a source of food for native birds
  • Creates a habitat for small mammals, frogs and toads

Using the right plant selection and structure you can create your own ‘Little House on the Prairie’.

Heleniums in a Prairie style planting scheme

A Brief History

In 1894, the Prairie style was pioneered by American architect and designer, Frank Lloyd Wright. He referred to this emerging style as ‘organic architecture’ – the primary principle of which being that the building should look like it belongs to the site and evolved there naturally. Whilst this style has been around for many years, there has been a resurgence over the last three years or so.

Key Concepts

Think of the overall landscape, the key is to create a drift effect as would happen in nature. You can do this by staggering the planting, keeping taller grasses at the back.

  • Create vertical and horizontal layers with a repeating pattern of plants.
  • When setting out, space plants so that once they reach maturity they will be touching each other. You want to create one large mass that ebbs and flows as one.
  • Repeat colour and texture to create distinct and recognisable patterns.
Australian native flowers in a Prairie style scheme

Plants to use

A mixtures of grasses and flowering perennials. Most effective in larger areas, the relaxed, naturalistic feel can also be achieved in smaller gardens.

Miscanthua sinensis

Herbaceous Perennials

  • Achillea
  • Allium
  • Camassia
  • Crocosmia
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Echinops
  • Eremurus (Foxtails)
  • Erigeron karvinskianus
  • Eryngium (Sea holly)
  • Geum
  • Helenium
  • Helianthus
  • Leucanthemum vulgare
  • Phlomis russeliana (Turkish sage)
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvia
  • Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’
  • Stachys lanata byzantine
  • Stachys ‘Silver Carpet’
Erigeron karvinskianus

Ornamental Grasses


Calamagrotis x acutiflora


Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’


  • Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ (Russian sage)
Perovskia (Russian sage)

Where to see Prairie style planting