Ornamental grasses light up IKEA parking lot

The other evening we went to IKEA in West Sacramento, about 20 minutes away. Knowing that their parking lot is landscaped with lots of ornamental grasses, I brought my camera along. By the time we were done with our shopping, it was 7:45pm and the grasses were ablaze with the golden glow of the setting sun. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw such a magnificent sight in what is otherwise a completely ordinary parking lot next to the freeway. It goes to show that beauty is everywhere, just waiting to be discovered.

Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster')


Giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea)




Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)

The strip of deer grass was already in the shade and therefore didn’t light up like the other grasses

Whoever designed the landscaping for this IKEA parking lot made very smart choices. All three grasses are perfectly adapted to our climate (deer grass even is a California native), very drought-tolerant, and maintenance free. Perfect for a wide open asphalt lot that produces a great deal of reflected heat.

Well done, IKEA!


  1. It's beautiful. Especially the 'Karl Forster'. I have it planted here but it does not do as well as these specimens. Maybe someday.

  2. Tina: I agree. I've had 'Karl Foerster' for years, and they don't look that good or large. I wonder what the secret is?

    Ornamental grasses are some of the best plants for backlighting. I *love* the stipa_gigantea1 image!

  3. Tina and Alan, the IKEA parking lot is a brutally hot place in the summer, especially with the reflected heat from the asphalt. That makes me believe the Karl Foerster does best when it has lots of sun and heat. Also remember that we have low humidity in the summer.

    We have four Karl Foerster grasses at our house, two regular and two variegated, and they while they do grow and flower well, they don't look quite like that either. It might be because ours are in a mixed border where they get regular water.

  4. Gerhard,

    These are great photos with spectacular light. I do appreciate capturing areas of unexpected beauty in somewhere as mundane as a commercial parking lot near a major interstate highway. Great work!



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