How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your Lawn - Backyard Boss
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How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your Lawn

The right grass seed makes all the difference when cultivating and maintaining your lawn, whether you do it yourself or hire a service. But if you’ve ever tried to pick the right grass seed yourself, you could have been overwhelmed with the options and unsure of how to choose among them. To find the right grass seed for your lawn, it’s important to understand what you need—and what you should avoid. Learning about your climate, understanding your needs, determining the optimal result you want to achieve with your lawn reseeding, and knowing the pitfalls of DIY lawn care will help you find the right grass seed options for you. And when you’re done here, you’ll also need to make sure you pick the right fertilizer for your grass seed.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix - How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your LawnScotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix
  • Counters disease and drought
  • Aggressively spreads to repair bare and thin spots
  • Seeds up to 2,800 sq. ft
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Scotts Turf Builder Thick'R Lawn Sun & Shade  - How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your LawnScotts Turf Builder Thick'R Lawn Sun & Shade
  • Improves color and density
  • Grows throughout the season
  • Seeds up to 4,000 sq. ft
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Pennington Seed Complete Grass Seed For Sun & Shade Areas - How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your LawnPennington Seed Complete Grass Seed For Sun & Shade Areas
  • Low maintenance
  • Works quickly
  • Seeds up to 125 sq. ft
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Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch - How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your LawnScotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
  • Works in various climates
  • Low maintenance once established
  • Seeds up to 2,000 sq. ft
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Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Quality All-Purpose Mix - How to Choose the Perfect Grass Seed for Your LawnScotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Quality All-Purpose Mix
  • Suitable for most cold climate areas
  • Fixes bare areas
  • Seeds up to 8,000 sq. ft.
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How Do I Know Which Grass Seed Is Best for My Climate?

While there are thousands of grass species, it is generally true that all fare best in particular growing conditions. The USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map is often used on seed packets and live plant tags to indicate optimal growing regions. Knowing your hardiness zone will help you narrow down the array of grass seed options to only those which grow well in your climate. Factors that influence local climate include:

  • Geography: Northern states usually have cooler climates than southern states do. In general, the year-round temperature is highest closest to the equator and coldest toward the poles.
  • Shade: Lawns with significant exposure to shade may require plants that thrive in low light or blends designed for cooler temperatures than your climate zone might suggest.
  • Moisture: Some regions naturally get more rain than others do. The general presumption is that hotter regions are dryer, so it’s necessary to consider the amount of precipitation you’ll get when choosing varieties of grass.

Cool-season sod flourishes in the spring and fall, yet turns brown in the intense heat of summer. Warm-season verdure thrives in the summer heat and loses its green color when the temperature drops. A grass that grows beautifully in Zone 3a will probably not last long in Florida, or vice versa. The backs of seed packaging will list a USDA hardiness zone, as will online retailer specs or manufacturer pages.

Choosing the Right Seed for Your Soil

Soil is the foundation of every lawn. Before selecting from climate-appropriate seed offerings, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of what type of soil you’re working with and have it suitably prepared for sowing.


To choose the correct groundcover for your new lawn, you’ll need to know the pH range of your soil. Soil testing kits and strips are available from local and online retailers. Although the majority of verdure can do just fine in any type of soil conditions, that’s not the case for all of it. There are some types (like Kentucky Bluegrass) that require neutral soil, from pH 6.5 to a neutral 7. Zoysia and centipede grass are examples of lawn offerings that perform much better in acidic dirt—albeit not much lower than about a pH of 5.


You want to ensure that you select the grass seed type that is right for the texture of the particular patch of earth you’ll be planting in. Examples of different types of textures include that with a light texture versus that which is outright sandy. You can usually distinguish between the type of texture of your loam by simply feeling it with your hands between your thumb and forefinger.

A quick soil texturing test is simple to do on your own and will ensure you’re planting the right lawn blend for your texture type.


The texture of your soil, in combination with your climate, will determine the drainage your lawn has. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall and your soil is more clay than sand, you’ll likely have areas of standing water that require either a grass blend that loves the water or should be leveled, conditioned, or treated with sand and loam mixes before planting. Likewise with dry areas, heavily sandy soils, or portions of the replanting area near septic tanks, water features, or drainage structures.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Foot traffic

Areas of heavy traffic from walking, bicycles, and even cars will be more compact and the grass you choose will need to be more durable. Take the use of your newly-planted lawn into account when choosing Different types of grass are more durable and resistant to footsteps than others are. Robust options like Zoysia grass seeds and many others have a high tolerance for people stepping on them and swiftly bounce back.


When preparing the ground for sowing grass—even for areas of an existent yard that requires repair—it’s important to ensure that it is consistent. Thus, you should stop using any sort of weed treatment on this turf three months before you’re ready to plant the seeds.

You’ll also want to carefully mow any greenery already on your turf. It doesn’t hurt to get down and pull up any weeds, stubborn stalks, or manually remove stones or other objects like twigs on the soil.

I’d often do so without gloves when scouring my loam, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. Prudent topsoil preparation involves inputting organic material like compost to heighten the overall fertility. It’s a good idea to rake the area immediately before planting the seedlings to ensure that it’s smooth and even. This gives you a reliable bed for your fledgling stalks to grow for optimal results once the proper verdure product has been selected.

Seed Mix Options

Some sod-seeding offerings are hybrids, while others contain just one type of seeds. Mixtures are excellent options for addressing multiple lawn needs, such as seedlings designed to redress patches in lawns and endure in drought. Scotts grass seed specializes in synthesizing these different varieties of needs in a single package. The different blends for these materials include:

Mixtures of blended seeds: These packages contain multiple types of the same species of grass, which combines their strengths while still generating a lawn that looks uniform.

Seed mixtures: Unlike mixtures of blended seeds, seed mixtures have a variety of different types of grass for distinct purposes, such as that which requires minimal water amounts and that which can counteract disease. These types of mixtures are a true hybrid option.

Lawn Fixers: Seedlings designed to repair yards with patches or barren areas usually involve a synthesis of mulch, fertilizer, and common grass rudiments. The mulch and starter fertilizer is oftentimes optimized for the type of greenery the package contains.

Invasive Species

Invasive plants can wreak havoc on local ecosystems. It is prudent to be sure a grass you’re planning to plant isn’t a troublesome variety for your location. Bermudagrass, for example, is considered a bothersome weed in much of the American Southeast and is regulated by law in California and Florida. This Invasive Grasses database can help you identify seed mixes or species to avoid.

Top 5 Grass Seed Reviews

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

This turf solution offers a mixture of different types of materials for different purposes. Consequently, this combination is designed to thrive in warm areas in which there’s lots of direct sun or heavy shade. It was developed to fix bare spots by quickly spreading over fertile areas. This choice is also disease-resistant and is a credible warm-climate offering.

This turf builder is best suited for planters in warm climates looking to quickly get a lush green lawn—especially in situations in which the lawn needs repair or is being newly planted.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix
    WaterSmart PLUS Coating wraps these individual seeds in a shell that absorbs water and nutrients much better than they can without the coating, making this a great warm-weather selection. The materials in this product include different types of Fescue, Ryegrass, and Kentucky Bluegrass, which is a great assortment for a rich, fertile crop of grass.



Scotts Turf Builder THICK’R Lawn Sun and Shade

This is a terrific repair solution for lawns struggling to make it. Specifically, this product aims at revamping thin lawns and making them as dense and endurable as the best of yards are. Unlike most other lawn repair products, this seeding option can be used on an entire lawn to improve it as a whole. Plus, it mixes up a couple of different solutions to get the best effect.

For those with dry spots or stubborn areas of their lawn, this solution is great at quickly fixing them to smooth out the entire landscape.

Scotts Turf Builder THICK'R Lawn Sun and Shade
    This product contains an artful mixture of soil improver that aims to develop roots, fertilizer for existent and newly formed sprouts, and seeding to fill in the gaps. There’s plenty of bang for your buck as just one bag covers 4,000 square feet with bluegrass, perennial eyeglass, and red fescue.




Pennington One Step Complete Bare Spot Repair Grass Seed Mix For Sun & Shade Areas

This is another credible lawn fixer-upper that contains a mixture of materials for fully flush yards. Although it works better in sunny areas, it’s still proficient in yards with moderate amounts of shade. The seedy substances contained in the product is primed for absorbing water and keeping things moist around the individual lawn progenitors while delivering the necessary nutrients for notable yards.

It covers up to 125 square feet and includes seeding from many different types of fescues, including tall fescue, chewing fescue, and creeping fescue. If you want to see some green growing action right away, this is one of the better choices you’ll find to produce an immediate impact in your private horticulture.

Pennington One Step Complete Bare Spot Repair Grass Seed Mix For Sun & Shade Areas
    This is a low-water solution that works well in hot climates and is drought resistant because of its moisture-enhancing capabilities. In addition to respective rudiments for verdure, this offering also includes mulch and top-grade fertilizer for speedy results.



Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed & Mulch

This is one of the most utilitarian lawn planting products available today. Partly because it includes zoysia varieties, the blades sprouting from this mixture are tough enough to survive colder temperatures, yet designed for conditions of intense heat. The resultant sod can resist drought while delivering nice-looking yards in partly shady areas, too.

This solution contains a basic mixture of grassy materials and mulch which is why its blades are so durable to traffic. You’ll be satisfied with this mix if you live in harsh conditions and need tough blades to endure extremes of cold and heat.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed & Mulch
    The zoysia seeding mix used in this product is almost completely weed-free, which is essential for long term propagation of your yard. In optimal conditions this offering can seed up to 200 square feet.



Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Quality All-Purpose Mix

Lawn enthusiasts in colder climates may be interested in this Scotts turf building offering that works equally well in shady and sunny areas (hence the all-purpose mix in its title). Designed in part to withstand droughts, this formula produces a course bladed texture of verdure that’s striking to see, particularly in direct sunlight.

The mixture is almost entirely weed-free; the respective verdant rudiments are coated with moisture-enhancing capabilities that maximize their use of the water they encounter. This offering works best for those in cold climates looking to even out their yards with a deeply rich, green coloring.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Quality All-Purpose Mix
    The seeding for this product is primarily ryegrass, which delivers a quick green that’s ideal for filling in rough, barren areas. The other types included are Kentucky bluegrass, which is known for the aggressiveness of its spreading roots, and fine fescue, known for its rapid population of soil in high elevation and colder climates.



And the Best All-Around Option Is…

Of the five products examined, the top all-around choice is Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix. It’s the only reviewed solution that is avowedly disease-resistant and effectively grows in both shady and sunny areas. Moreover, it combines mixtures of blended grass seedlings, seed mixtures, and lawn fixers.

Additionally, this hybrid of hybrids is a bonafide repair mechanism for troublesome lawns that haven’t responded to other solutions—which is why it trumps Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed & Mulch. It’s also the best option for both repairing unseemly parts in your sod and for initially sowing your private greenery, which are capabilities the other fixer mixtures can’t claim. This could be the ideal choice for your lawn if you are combating drought or poorly planted, inconsistent turf in areas of both sun and shade.