The Best Types of Grass for Lawns: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to keeping your lawn looking its best, nothing is more important than choosing the right type of grass. Different types of grass require different levels of maintenance, and some are better suited for certain climates than others.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the best types of grass for homeowners to choose from. We'll also provide tips on how to care for each type of grass so that you can keep your lawn looking green and lush all year round!

The grasses best suited to hot climates are listed below. Warm season grasses go dormant in the winter in cold climate areas like the northern states. Cool season grasses listed below do most of their growing in the cooler months of the south and then resist through the hotter months.

Fine Fescue

Fine Fescue

Fine Fescue grass (including chewing, crawling red and hard fescue) is a cool season grass that grows in Europe, North America, and North Africa.

This grass is common in the Pacific Northwest and is often used in combination with Kentucky bluegrass and other grasses. It is more shade and cold tolerant than tall fescue but, like all fescues, it is not tolerant of traffic. It doesn't lose its color in winter and is highly drought tolerant.

Fine Fescue Grass Features:

  • Growing season. Fine Fescue is a type of grass that flourishes in both TRANSITIONAL and COLD climate zones within the United States. Not only can it withstand harsh cold temperatures, but it also grows during the winter when planted in late autumn.

  • Shade tolerance. Thrives in areas with little sunlight.

  • Sun requirement. This plant does not need a lot of sun to live and will stop growing in extremely hot weather that is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Drought tolerance. This plant is highly drought resistant and prefers dry clay soil.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. This plant does not do well with a lot of foot traffic. If you plan on using it in an area that gets a lot of foot traffic, we recommend planting it with Kentucky bluegrass.

  • Maintenance needs. Doesn't need a lot of care. You won't have to fertilize often. And you can choose not to mow it if you don't want to.

  • Disease tolerance. This grass can tolerate disease in dry conditions, but it is more susceptible to problems in wetter areas with poor drainage.

Fine Fescue Grass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. The ideal height for fine fescue grass is 1 to 3 inches, but it also does well when left un-mowed.

  • Recommended lawn mower. This grass has a dense, fine leaf texture. The tips of the leaves will brown if they are cut with a rotary mower or dull blade, so it's best to use a petrol or electric mower with a sharp blade.

Bahia Grass 

Bahia Grass

Bahia grass is a warm season grass that originally came from North America. It grows best in sunny areas and was originally brought to Florida for grazing cattle.

It's a type of grass that people often use to line roads because it stabilizes the ground, doesn't require much care, and is resistant to disease and insects. This grass is also very hardy.

Bahia Grass Features:

  • Growing season. Bahia grass is a warm-season grass that thrives in direct sunlight and high humidity. It is most common in coastal areas of Florida, where it performs particularly well.

  • Shade tolerance. They require some shade, but they can survive in partial shade.

  • Sun requirement. Requires sunlight to thrive, but can still grow moderately well in shady areas.

  • Drought tolerance. Tolerant of or able to bounce back quickly from dry conditions.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. Low foot traffic tolerance.

  • Maintenance needs. Easy to care for. Mowing and fertilizer are not needed often. Unbothered by disease or pests.

  • Disease tolerance. Good disease tolerance.

Bahia Grass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. The recommended mowing height is 2 to 4 inches. Mow on a regular basis during the growing season.

Bermuda Grass 

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a type of turfgrass that grows best in warm weather. It's often used for sports fields, lawns, parks, and golf courses in countries with tropical or subtropical climates. Bermuda grass originally came from Africa but is now common in places like India, the southern United States, Australia, and South America.

While some people adore bermuda grass, others consider it nothing more than a weed. This is because farmers know that it has the potential to invade and ruin crops such as sugar cane, cotton, corn and/or vineyards. However, those same attributes – being resilient to heavy traffic and temperatures while still maintaining an appealing texture at mowing height above 2 inches – are what endear the grass to many homeowners.

A straightforward to alter cutting height is advised for a lawn mower. For fine turf needs, reel lawn mowers are the way to go.

Bermuda Grass Features:

  • Growing season. Bermuda grass loves the heat and needs high temperatures to prosper. The ideal daytime temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) or higher, and it doesn't do well when nighttime temperatures drop below 75 degrees F (24 C). It can manage in colder weather but growth will slow down at night if the temperature goes below 50 degrees F (10 C). Studies have shown that bermuda grass isn't bothered by cold snaps where nighttime temps reach 34°F (0°C), as long as there's a nice warm-up during the day, with a high of 70 degrees F (21 °C).

  • Shade tolerance. Not very tolerant of shade.

  • Sun requirement.This type of grass is best-suited for sunny areas and will not grow as thick in shady or darker conditions.

  • Drought tolerance. Drought tolerant. Can endure long periods of little to no water, but will need assistance from irrigation during droughts.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. Very resilient to heavy traffic. Quickly self repairs damaged areas.

  • Maintenance needs. Requires irrigation. Requires fertilizer. Requires frequent mowing. Requires thatching.

  • Disease tolerance. Susceptible to pests and disease. Fungicides required.

Bermuda Grass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. Bermuda grass, in general, should be mowed more frequently the shorter you want to keep it. This is due to the fact that each cut of grass should remove only a 1/3 portion of the grass leaf. As a result, golf greens are maintained on a daily basis while sports fields are treated every three to five days.

  • Recommended lawn mower. For a neat, healthy looking lawn, it is suggested to use a reel mower on Bermuda grass, as it can be thick and difficult to cut with other types of petrol mowers.

St Augustine Grass

St Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a warm season grass that's popular for low-traffic lawns and pasture vegetation.

It thrives in humid locations such as along shorelines and in coastal tropical and subtropical regions like the Gulf of Mexico, West Indies, and West Africa. It grows naturally on beach ridges, lagoons, marshes, and limestone coastlines.

St augustine grass is popular because of its thick turf appearance and the fact that it grows well in hot regions, surviving cooler temperatures than other warm season grasses like bermuda grass. It does need some attention; fertilizing (nitrogen), mowing, applying fungicides, and thatching are all required. The best lawn mower on our list is suggested.

St Augustine Grass Features:

  • Growing season. This plant grows rapidly during the summer, but becomes dormant when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

  • Shade tolerance. This type of grass is more tolerant to shade than other warm season grasses, making it a good option for shady areas.

  • Drought tolerance. Drought tolerance is not particularly/moderately good. It even loves water more than other warm season grasses. In dry conditions, it requires extra care.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. Traffic-resistant. Best for lawns and general purpose turf. Not best for sports fields or walking parks.

  • Maintenance needs. This grass species might be high-maintenance for some. It requires consistent fertilization, pest and disease management, as well as mowing and thatching on a regular basis.

  • Sun requirement. Tolerant of shade.

  • Disease tolerance. Insects and pathogens can harm St. Augustine grass. Insecticides and fungicides are required for it to flourish.

St Augustine Grass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. St. Augustine grass, like all fescues, requires regular mowing throughout the summer for optimum health. If it's in full sunlight, once a week is fine. If in shade, every 10 days is sufficient. You should mow your grass lawn every 5 days if you want a 0-2 inch tall grass lawn. As the height you desire increases, you should reduce the frequency of mowing. Allow an inch more of grass during fall and winter to allow the leaves to absorb more sunlight.

  • Recommended lawn mower. The best petrol is recommended for St Augustine grass because it can be thick and hard to mow.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that's commonly used on residential lawns and golf course fairways. It's native to Australia, China, Japan, and southeast Asia. People appreciate zoysia grass because it's fine, soft, and slow-growing. As with bermuda grass, it needs plenty of water and care. A reel mower is suggested for its maintenance needs.

Zoysia Grass Features:

  • Growing season. This grass grows quickly in the Spring and turns brown during Winter.

  • Shade tolerance. Moderately tolerant of shade.

  • Drought tolerance. Tolerant of drought, but it will cease growing and begin to turn brown.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. Is resistant to traffic. It's a grass that is perfect for sports fields and other applications where heavy footfall is required.

  • Maintenance needs. This grass type is high maintenance. Every season, it needs thatching, and it grows quickly, so you'll have to mow often.

  • Sun requirement. Needs a minimum of 6 hours sunlight each day.

  • Disease tolerance. This grass is very tolerant to disease and pests rarely bother it.

Zoysia Grass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. Zoysia grass needs to be mowed frequently in order to thrive. It should be mown to 1 - 2 inches every week in full sunlight. In shaded areas, it should be mowed more often, but the height of the cut should be higher.

  • Recommended lawn mower. Fiskars reel mower.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season and transitional season grass. It's well known for its ability to spread and self repair damage, which is why it's often used in combination with ryegrass on sports fields – rye is resistant to wear and bluegrass repairs heavy traffic areas.

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season and transitional season grass. It's well known for its ability to spread and self repair damage, which is why it's often used in combination with ryegrass on sports fields – rye is resistant to wear and bluegrass repairs heavy traffic areas.

Kentucky Bluegrass Features:

  • Growing season. Kentucky bluegrass grows best during the cooler spring and fall months in transitional or colder climate zones. If it gets too hot and dry during summer, Kentucky bluegrass will become dormant. It thrives at a soil temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) but growth declines rapidly above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degree Celsius).

  • Shade tolerance. Low shade tolerance.

  • Sun requirement. Requires sun for optimal health and energy.

  • Drought tolerance. Low drought tolerance. In arid climates and during droughts, this plant needs a lot of water. However, it is also very resilient and will bounce back quickly after being watered.

  • Foot traffic tolerance. Moderate traffic tolerance.

  • Maintenance needs. Moderate maintenance needs. This plant requires water and fertilizer, and weeds can become a major problem. Herbicides are required for control.

  • Disease tolerance. Pests, insects, and diseases must be kept under control.

Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn Mowing:

  • Mowing height. Mow to 1.5 to 3 inches. During summer months, mow at the highest height. Ideally, mowing should remove 1/3 of the grass leaf. This equates to about a weekly mowing for a 2 inch lawn.

  • Recommended lawn mower. Fine leaf, dense growth. One of the top electric mowers is suggested. If you don't want an electric mower, check out our selection of the best gasoline lawn mowers.

Best Type Of Grass For Transitional Climate Lawns 

Climate lawns that are in-between hot and cold seasons do best with grasses that can resist lower or higher temperatures, respectively.

Zoysia – This type of grass is best suited for warm or transitional seasons. It's drought tolerant and needs full sun to thrive, but can also handle heavy foot traffic. Keep in mind that it may not be as low maintenance as other options.

Tall Fescue – Cool-season grass that does well in cooler, transitional seasons. It is tolerant of shade and resistant to drought. Low maintenance lawn grass that can take a beating from high foot traffic

Kentucky Bluegrass – Cool and transitional season grass. It's very popular. Requires a lot of sun and water. Salt tolerance means it's perfect for coastal regions. High-traffic tolerance is excellent.

Ryegrass – Transitional and cool season grass. This tough grass can stand up to a lot of foot traffic, making it ideal for sports fields. It needs frequent watering in drought conditions and lots of sun to thrive.

Best Type Of Grass For Cold Climate Lawns

Lawns in cold climates need cool season grasses, such as ryegrass and kentucky bluegrass, because they can handle cold winters and hot summers.

Fine Fescue – Cool season grass. Fescue is a cool-season grass that is highly heat resistant. It can endure shade, drought, and is a low-maintenance lawn grass. Its greatest weakness is heavy foot traffic since it has small leaves that are easily damaged.

Kentucky Bluegrass – Cool and transitional season grass.This plant is very popular and easy to grow. It thrives in sunny, well-watered conditions and can handle salt spray, making it ideal for coastal areas. It's also tolerant of high traffic, so it's a good choice for areas where people walk or play.

Ryegrass – Transitional and cool season grass. This hardy grass can take a beating, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. If you're looking to turn your lawn into a sports field, this is the perfect choice of grass. Keep in mind that during droughts, it will need to be watered more frequently than usual. It also needs plenty of sunlight to thrive.

Best Type Of Grass For Shaded Lawns

Although all types of grass need some sun exposure to grow, there are certain varieties that can still thrive even with less sunlight. These shade-tolerant varieties are ideal for areas that do not receive direct sunlight for long periods of time. The following four grass types are the most tolerant of shady conditions:

Tall Fescue – Transitional season grass. Tolerant of shade. Drought resistant. A grass that can endure heavy foot traffic without much upkeep.

Fine Fescue – Cool season grass. Fine fescue is mainly a cool season grass, but can still grow in hotter climates. This type of grass is also able to tolerate being in shaded areas, experience droughts and needs less maintenance than most lawns. The only downside to this selection is that it gets damaged more easily because of its thin leaves ,when there's heavy foot traffic.

Bahia – Warm season grass. Bahia grass is a low-maintenance, shade-tolerant grass that's known to be drought-resistant and easy to maintain. For hot climate lawns, Bahia grass is an excellent option. It is, however, not tolerant of a lot of foot traffic.

St Augustine – Warm season grass. This grass is very strong and does a great job of blocking out weeds. However, it requires some maintenance in the form of mowing, watering, and fertilizing. It is also tolerant of shade.

Best Type of Grass To Water Less

Tall Fescue – Transitional season grass. Tolerant of shade. Drought resistant. A drought resistant grass that can take a beating, perfect for yards with high foot traffic. With its light green color, it is an attractive addition to any lawn.

Bahia – Warm season grass. Bahia grass is a shade-tolerant, drought-resistant and low-maintenance grass that has been shown to be suitable for both residential lawns and commercial applications. It's a fantastic choice for hot climates because it's tolerant of heat and can withstand foot traffic.

Bermuda – Warm season grass. Bermuda is a sturdy grass that is difficult to kill and can handle high traffic areas. However, it will build up a layer of dead organic matter over time known as thatch, making it necessary to de-thatch the lawn every few years. Bermuda also grows best in full sun.

Buffalo – Warm season grass. A low-maintenance grass that is both drought tolerant and non-invasive. You can forget about it, and it will just grow. The disadvantage is that it isn't the most attractive lawn.

Zoysia – Warm season and transitional season grass. Vigorous, long-stopper bloomer. Requires lots of direct sunshine to thrive. Heavy foot traffic is tolerable. It's not considered low maintenance.

Final Verdict

So, what is the best grass for your lawn? The answer to that question will vary depending on where you live and the climate conditions in your area. However, some of the most popular types of grass for lawns include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and zoysia.

 If you’re not sure which type of grass is best for your home, reach out to a local landscaping company or turf specialist for advice. With a little bit of research and some expert help, you can create a beautiful and lush green lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood!

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