Choosing the right grass seed for your lawn isn’t as easy as picking the first one you see the in the shop as there are a few things you need to consider first. Not every garden is the same and because of this there are many different types of seed to choose from, which can make this process a little confusing.
The best way to choose your grass seed is to first understand which type of lawn you have (this will help you understand how to treat your lawn and make any soil amendments). Depending on what type of lawn you have, its requirements and growing conditions, you need to choose grass seed which it is compatible to ensure strong and healthy growth. Below are different types of lawns, so have a look to see which is yours:
- Hard Wearing; this type of lawn receives quite a lot of wear and tear throughout the day and therefore needs grass seed which is tolerant to excessive use (children, pets, path-ways, sports etc).
- Luxury; this type is pretty much the complete opposite to the hard wearing above, as it permits light and limited use, they’re like bowling or golfing greens.
- Shaded; this type of lawn is regularly covered by tree branches and house walls, so the grass will have a tough time growing because of lack of sunlight, so you’ll need grass seed which is tolerant to these conditions.
Choosing The Right Seed Mixture
With this lawn you’ll need a mixture of hard-wearing grasses, such as perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and red fescue. This mixture will be resilient and will give you good colour all year round, it’s also fast growing, so even though you’ll be required to mow it often, it’ll be hard-wearing in areas with loads of traffic/extensive use.
This type of lawn is fast growing, creates a thick dense sward and will stand up to wear and tear during the varying seasons, however it is not drought resilient. It has the ability to recover quickly from stress.
For this type of lawn you’ll need a mixture of fine-leaved grasses such as chewings fescue, creeping red fescue and brown-top. After applying, your lawn will be very fine in appearance, which is why it’s great for bowling and golfing greens, and is mid-slow growing and can be mowed at a very low height.
To get the best finish possible make sure you go for a premium grass mix, this will contain a good variety of the UK’s natural grasses and even though it’ll require more maintenance and proper regular treatment, it’ll look brilliant afterwards.
This type of lawn is not drought resilient, however it does tolerate shady areas very well.
Again if planting this lawn from scratch, the speed of germination and establishment is relatively slow.
A mixture which contains hard fescue, creeping red fescue and brown-top are most suitable for areas regularly covered by shade. These are specially chosen as they can survive in difficult conditions and because shaded grass is not all that wear and tear tolerant, it makes these grasses ideal. But remember, you’ll still need to give this area special attention and proper lawn care in order for it to grow properly.
Grass seeds specifically designed for shaded areas are not tolerant to wear and tear and the speed of growth is much slower. This means that this lawn will not only require less mowing but is also very good for drought resilience.
This type of lawn will require less watering and fertiliser compared to other types of lawn. It is naturally deep-rooted and therefore more resilient.
If you are seeding a lawn from scratch, grass seed designed for shaded areas will take much longer to establish.
As with every piece of garden and lawn care equipment, you get what you pay for. If you decide to go for the cheaper mixture, then don’t be surprised if the seeding doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes the ingredients used within them aren’t what you actually want, e.g. some put in perennial ryegrass instead of turf ryegrass, which are better suited to lawn which grazes sheep instead of a garden lawn, and you might even find that they are contaminated with weeds.
The best advice I can give is to always check the ingredients list and ensure that what you want is actually used within the mixture. Go with more trustworthy brands and try to get the best price possible without saving money on the store’s own brand (more expensive in the long run).
If you are not prepared to use grass seed in your garden and prefer to have a more instant result, then you may want to consider laying turf instead. If you would like to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of both grass seed and turf you can read my article on “Grass Seed Vs Turf“.
If on the other hand you have decided that grass seed is the way to go, then you may want to read my article “How to Sow Grass Seed“.
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In general, in the UK we do not suffer from huge temperature and climate variations as they do in the US. However it is also important the consider not only the usage and different types of lawn grass, but also the soil and climate conditions your lawn will be exposed to.
Heavy clay soils, for example, are full of nutrients which on the face of it sounds great for your new grass seed, however in warmer and drier conditions the soil becomes compact and may even crack causing stress to your lawn. Clay is also poor for drainage and therefore the grass can suffer again from excessive water, weeds and disease.
The opposite of clay is sandy soil, which again may sound ideal for your grass seed due to the good drainage. This again can cause problems due to the low nutrient content and the soil drying out too quickly.
Some gardeners will try to change the make up of their lawn soil by adding soil amendments such as sand, compost, peat, however this can be an arduous and long term process. Better than this would be to choose grass seed for your particular soil type, as opposed to trying to change the entire make up of your lawn.
To understand more clearly the make up of your soil, home soil testing kits are readily available, reasonably priced and easy to use with immediate results.
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Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Once your new lawn is well established, you will need the right lawn mower to keep it looking in top condition. To access my free guide that will provide all you need to know click on “A Helpful Illustrated Guide to Buying a Lawn Mower“.