The Best Grass Seed of 2022

Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seeds for your yard’s conditions.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Jun 29, 2022 6:15 PM

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The Best Grass Seed Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

Many homeowners dream of a lush, green carpet of grass upon which their children and pets can frolic. Growing a lawn that makes neighbors green with envy begins with choosing the right grass seed.

There is a seemingly endless variety of different seed types and products on the market, which can make choosing the right one an involved process. Climate, shade, and foot traffic all play roles in which grass seed is right for your lawn. This guide features factors to consider when choosing the best grass seed that will turn your yard into a striking carpet of green.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade-3 in 1
  2. BEST BUDGET: Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix, 3lb.
  3. BEST WARM-SEASON: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
  4. BEST COOL-SEASON: Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses Sun or Shade
  5. BEST FOR DENSE SHADE: Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
  6. BEST FOR HIGH-TRAFFIC: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
  7. BEST KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass
  8. BEST BERMUDA GRASS: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass, 5 lb
  9. BEST FAST-GROWING: Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
  10. BEST LOW-MAINTENANCE: Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
The Best Grass Seed Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Grass Seed

Grass seed falls into two main categories: warm-season and cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses endure hot southern climates much better than cool-season grasses. During the winter, warm-season grasses turn brown as they go dormant. Cool-season grasses grow quickly in the cool weather of fall and spring before going dormant in the summer heat. Warm-season grasses can be reseeded during the spring and summer, while spring and fall are the optimal time to reseed cool-season grasses.

Warm-Season Grass 

  • Bahia: This warm-season grass is popular in hot climates because of its heat tolerance and drought-resistant qualities. While other grasses burn to a crisp in the hot sun, with its broad leaves and coarse texture, Bahia grass thrives. This makes it an attractive grass species in the Deep South.
  • Bermuda: As with many other warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass thrives in hot climates thanks to its exceptional ability to tolerate heat and withstand high traffic. Bermuda grass requires good drainage, full-sun exposure, and plenty of nutrients. The grass does not tolerate cold weather well, making it a good option in the southern part of the country.
  • Buffalo: Even though it is considered a warm-season grass, buffalo grass thrives in a broad range of climates and is quite common in states such as Montana that experience harsh winters. Like other warm-season grasses, it goes dormant and turns brown in colder weather. Planting season for buffalo grass is from April to May.
  • Centipede: Centipede grass is known for being heat tolerant and very low maintenance. This makes it a popular grass with those who don’t enjoy spending a lot of time managing their lawns. Centipede grass thrives in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Due to those requirements, it does best in the Southeast. Plant centipede grass seed in the spring when all danger of frost has passed.
  • St. Augustine: One of Florida’s most popular grasses, St. Augustine can tolerate high heat and humidity. It features blue-green grass blades that spread quickly through a lawn. St. Augustine also can tolerate salt water, which makes it a popular option for coastal yards. Since it spreads rapidly, one of the most effective ways to establish St. Augustine grass is by planting plugs. Plant St. Augustine seed in the spring or the summer.
  • Zoysia: Zoysia is a durable, dense variety of grass that’s known for its ability to stand up to heat, drought, and high foot traffic. Possibly the softest grass for bare feet, zoysia forms a dense lawn that chokes out weeds with very little maintenance required. Although some types of zoysia can only be grown from sod or plugs, some grass seed companies offer a variety that can grow from seed. Zoysia grass should be planted in the spring once the threat of frost has passed.

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Cool-Season Grass

  • Fescue: Tall, fine fescue grass seed is perhaps the most common grass type in the country. This is because it adapts well to many different climates as it tolerates heat, cold, shade, and drought reasonably well. This is primarily due to its deep roots that can reach as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Tall fescue is perhaps the easiest grass to grow, but it can suffer under heavy traffic. Plant and reseed fine fescue grass seed in the fall and spring. Shoppers will sometimes see fescue sold in all-season grass seed mixes, which claim they’re good year-round.
  • Kentucky bluegrass: This is the type of grass most people imagine when they consider the perfect lawn. With its lush, deep-green appearance, Kentucky bluegrass is a prized species. This grass is not easy to grow, requiring a high level of maintenance and care. Its shallow root system does not tolerate heat well, making it more suitable for northern lawns. Kentucky bluegrass should be planted and reseeded in the spring and fall.
  • Perennial ryegrass: Perennial ryegrass should not be confused with annual ryegrass, which is a temporary grass used for erosion control. Perennial ryegrass comes back year after year. Ryegrass germinates quickly, making it popular for new lawns. It does best in colder climates with mild summers; however, it can still be found in the southern part of the country. Perennial ryegrass should be planted or reseeded in the fall.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed

When deciding which grass seed is best for a front yard or a backyard oasis, it’s crucial to consider several important factors, including climate, maintenance, and sun requirements. A good grass seed should thrive in the specific conditions of your yard. Check below for some of the elements you should consider when purchasing the right grass seed.

Climate

With enough determination and money, you can grow most of the above grass seeds just about anywhere in the country. It’s not uncommon to see beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawns in the baking heat of the Southwest. But going against climate guidelines will make the job a lot harder and more expensive, requiring significant investments in irrigation systems, water, and fertilizers. Paying attention to climate will make establishing a lawn much more manageable. Consider where you live and what grass types will thrive in your region with minimal maintenance and watering.

Reseeding vs. New Planting 

How you go about reseeding a lawn versus planting a new lawn is quite different. When seeding a new lawn, you’ll be applying seed to the bare dirt you’ve prepared for new planting. For reseeding, you’ll be attempting to thicken an already existing lawn. With that in mind, you typically need about twice as much seed to start a new lawn as you need to reseed an existing lawn.

Traffic Level 

Grass types vary in how well they tolerate foot traffic. If you have kids or pets and plan to use your backyard extensively as an area for play, consider selecting grass types that can take some abuse and still keep on growing. Zoysia and Bermuda grasses are the most tolerant of foot traffic, while fescue does poorly with heavy traffic.

Required Maintenance

While some property owners enjoy fussing over their lawns, many homeowners dread long hours spent maintaining a yard. Consider which grass types require the least amount of care and how much work you’re willing to put into a lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, requires annual dethatching, while perennial ryegrass will not self-repair and requires patching. Bermuda grass, in comparison, requires very little maintenance.

Sun Exposure 

Various grasses tolerate different levels of sun exposure. Some grasses, such as Bermuda grass, demand full sun but other varieties, such as tall fescue, do well with partial shade. Assess the sun exposure of your lawn to determine a good lawn grass seed for the lighting conditions there. Some seed companies produce specific seed mixes for full shade, full sun, or lawns with shaded areas and full-sun areas.

Single Seed vs. Mix

When selecting a type of grass seed, you can choose one specific seed type or a blend that combines several different species. Go for a single seed type if you’re trying to achieve a particular look for your lawn. While single seeds are more difficult to maintain, the effect of a single species lawn can be well worth it.

Mixes are easier to grow and maintain because companies blend the mixes for improved drought or heat tolerance. They also generally grow more uniformly with little need for patching. However, your lawn will lack the attractive uniform look of a single species lawn.

Germination Percentage

Despite your best efforts to prepare your yard for seeding, some seeds simply weren’t meant to become plants. This is where germination percentage comes into play. Germination percentage is a measure of the viability of a collection of seeds. It is calculated by dividing the number of seeds that germinate by the total number of seeds.

Given how much grass seed can cost, the higher the germination percentage the better, and it mostly relates to seed quality. Although you might be tempted to buy the cheapest grass seed on the shelf, chances are it will have a lower germination percentage, resulting in significant waste. High-quality grass seed has a 90 to 95 percent germination rate, making it worth the additional investment.

Our Top Picks

You can find grass seed for sunny areas, shade, high traffic, hot and cold climates, and more. These top-rated grass seed picks cover lots of lawn and grass types to suit various uses.

Best Overall

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade
Photo: amazon.com

Successfully reseeding a lawn often involves the laborious process of prepping the soil and adding fertilizer before finally spreading the seed. Scotts reduces those three steps to one with its Thick’R Lawn Sun and Shade 3-in-1 seed. This premium grass seed improves the chances that your seed will germinate, grow, and flourish by mixing the necessary components in one bag, so you can spread it on your lawn in one fell swoop.

This Sun and Shade seed includes fertilizer, organic material for improving the soil’s quality, and a mix of drought- and shade-tolerant grass seed. Simply rake, spread the seed, water daily, and let nature take its course at filling gaps in a lawn. A 40-pound bag is enough to cover a 4,000-square-foot area for reseeding.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bermuda
  • Ideal Season: Warm
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Reseeding
  • Single Seed/Mix: Single seed

Pros

  • Fertilizer, seed, and soil improver included
  • Drought- and shade-tolerant mix
  • Covers 4,000 square feet

Cons

  • Pricey

Get Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn grass seed at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Budget

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sunny Mix
Photo: amazon.com

It’s easier to grow grass in full sun than in shady parts of your lawn, but it takes a special mix like Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Seed Mix to bring your lawn to the next level. Full sun can quickly burn out a lawn when those dog days of summer come around. This is an excellent grass seed for full sun because it’s specially formulated with a mix of heat-tolerant grass seeds.

These grass seeds are treated with Scott’s 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating, which helps the seeds absorb twice as much water as uncoated seeds. The coating also fertilizes the seed and protects it from disease, helping to speed along germination and growth. This sun-tolerant mix is designed for northern lawns. A 3-pound bag is enough to cover up to 1,200 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Kentucky bluegrass
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • Suitable for ample sun exposure
  • 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating
  • Covers 1,200 square feet

Cons

  • Designed for northern lawns

Get Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix grass seed at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Warm-Season

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
Photo: amazon.com

Summer weather in the South can be downright brutal with scorching heat and high humidity, but Scotts Turf Builder Southern Gold Mix prevents having a lawn that quickly turns from lush green in June to dry brown by August. The seed mix features grass types that can survive the harshest summer conditions.

This seed also features Scott’s 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating. This treatment improves the seeds’ performance in drought conditions by enabling them to retain water more efficiently. It also fertilizes the seeds and protects them from disease. Scotts has designed this grass seed specifically for transition zone lawns. These yards must survive colliding climate zones of their region. Scotts Southern Gold Mix comes in various sizes with a 7-pound bag covering about 1,750 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Fescue
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • Suitable for harsh summer conditions
  • 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating
  • Fertilizer integrated
  • Covers 1,750 square feet

Cons

  • Not available in certain states

Get Scotts Turf Builder Southern Gold grass seed on Amazon and at The Home Depot.

Best Cool-Season

The Best Grass Seed Options: Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra Mixture
Photo: amazon.com

A good cool-season grass seed blend like Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses will give you a mix of grasses best suited for cooler and northern climates. The company is open about its mix, so purchasers know exactly what they’re getting in this blend.

This cold-tolerant mix includes three different types of cool-season grasses: 80 percent tall fescue, 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass, and 10 percent ryegrass. Black Beauty seed features a waxy coating that protects each seed from lawn diseases and will preserve plant moisture. A 25-pound bag will cover up to 10,000 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • 3 kinds of Kentucky bluegrass included
  • Waxy coating on each seed for protection
  • Covers over 10,000 square feet
  • Cold-tolerant mix

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not suitable for southern or warm climates

Get Jonathan Green grass seed mix at Ace Hardware.

Best For Dense Shade

The Best Grass Seed Option: Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
Photo: walmart.com

Most grasses grow best with a good daily dose of sunlight, and it takes a special mix like this Pennington Smart Seed Grass Seed to equally fill those shaded parts of a yard. This shade mix is intended for areas of a lawn that only get about 2 to 4 hours of sun a day. As with other Pennington seeds, the dense-shade mix has the company’s Penkoted technology that coats the seed with a special fertilizer to help it grow through those delicate seedling stages.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Fescue and Kentucky bluegrass
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Single seed

Pros

  • Cold tolerant; suitable for areas that only get 2 to 4 hours of sun per day
  • Penkoted technology; prevents disease
  • Fertilizer integrated
  • Covers over 1,500 square feet

Cons

  • May not be suitable for southern areas
  • Limited coverage area compared to other options

Get the Pennington Seed Smart Seed grass seed at Walmart.

Best for High-Traffic

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
Photo: amazon.com

Those well-trodden areas of your yard can take a real beating, and Scotts Turf Builder High Traffic Grass Seed Mix helps a lawn hold up to dogs, kids, and backyard parties. For families who use their yards for more than just show, this high-traffic mix of grass seed from Scotts will grow quickly and self-repair worn-down spots in those areas that see a lot of activity.

The high-traffic grass seed features Scotts’ proprietary 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating, which gives the seeds a boost while promoting water absorption. This mix is an excellent option for patching worn-out parts of the lawn or thickening up an entire turf area. A 7-pound bag provides enough coverage for up to 1,500 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • Grows strong and durable
  • 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating
  • Suitable for thickening grass or planting new seeds
  • Covers over 1,500 square feet

Cons

  • Limited coverage area compared to other options

Get Scotts Turf Builder High Traffic mix at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Kentucky Bluegrass

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
Photo: amazon.com

Homeowners who dream of the perfect green and lush lawn usually have Kentucky bluegrass in mind, and Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass Mix has a mix of the popular grass for both full sun and light shade. It’s also formulated to self-repair and endure foot traffic, making it both durable and low maintenance.

Although Kentucky bluegrass can be susceptible to drought, Scotts’ mix is designed to endure dry summers, thanks to its proprietary seed-coating technology, which provides nutrients while protecting the seed from fertilizer and enabling it to absorb water better. Scotts Kentucky Bluegrass Mix does best in northern regions. A 3-pound bag will cover up to 2,000 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Kentucky bluegrass
  • Ideal Season: Cool
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • Suitable for full sun and light shade
  • Self-repairing formula
  • Durable and low maintenance
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited coverage area compared to other options

Get Scotts Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass mix at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Bermuda Grass

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts 18353 Turf Builder Bermudagrass
Photo: amazon.com

Growing grass in the southern regions of the country that see scorching-hot temperatures can feel like an exercise in futility, but Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermuda grass can weather these harsh climates. With its high tolerance for drought, intense heat, and humidity, Bermuda grass might be the answer.

The grass grows rapidly, and this Scotts mix will grow even faster, thanks to its 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating, which can absorb twice as much water as uncoated seeds. The treatment helps seedlings enter the world strong, healthy, and ready to grow. A 5-pound bag of Scotts Bermuda grass seed is enough to cover up to 1,500 square feet.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bermuda
  • Ideal Season: Warm
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Single seed

Pros

  • Suitable for use in southern regions
  • Grows quickly; absorbs more water than average seeds
  • 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating

Cons

  • Some users report limited growth
  • Limited coverage area compared to other option

Get Scotts Turf Builder Bermuda Grass seed at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Fast-Growing

The Best Grass Seed Option: Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
Photo: walmart.com

If you don’t like waiting weeks to see if those grass seeds you so carefully planted will grow, it’s best to go with a fast-growing grass seed like Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Ryegrass.

This ryegrass germinates more quickly and grows faster than other grass seeds. It also maintains a deep green color year-round—you won’t have to look at a brown lawn all winter long. Pennington’s ryegrass seed can take as little as 7 days to germinate, which is far less than other grasses that can take up to 4 weeks.

Pennington’s seeds also develop denser root systems, which makes them more drought tolerant. This fast-growing grass seed also includes its Penkoted seal, which protects the seeds from mold while enabling them to retain moisture.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Perennial rye
  • Ideal Season: Warm
  • Reseeding/New Planting: New planting
  • Single Seed/Mix: Single seed

Pros

  • Deep green color
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought tolerant
  • Penkoted seal for protection

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May not be suitable for northern areas

Get Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye seed on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Low-Maintenance

The Best Grass Seed Options: Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
Photo: amazon.com

Shade, full sun, heavy foot traffic, scorching heat, cold, drought, even salt water matter little with Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed. This “grow anywhere grass seed” holds up well against most elements the climate or a busy lawn owner can throw at it, and it’s the easiest grass to grow in almost every climate. It even requires less mowing because it grows so slowly. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance lawn, consider zoysia grass. Although it can grow in northern regions, this variety of grass does particularly well in the South.

Most zoysia grass must be planted as plugs or turf. This mix from Scotts will grow from seed, using a grass seed and mulch combination to speed the germination and growth process. A 5-pound bag is enough to cover a 2,000-square-foot area.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Zoysia
  • Ideal Season: Warm
  • Reseeding/New Planting: Both
  • Single Seed/Mix: Mix

Pros

  • Very durable growth
  • Suitable for most climates
  • Requires infrequent mowing

Cons

  • May be hard to plant for some
  • May not be suitable for some northern areas

Get Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia grass seed mix at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Our Verdict

For a full, luscious lawn, our first pick is the drought- and shade-tolerant Scotts Turf Builder Sun & Shade seed, which is suitable for warm seasons and reseeding, with fertilizer, seed, and soil improver included. Alternatively, for a budget-friendly option in cool climates, the Scotts Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass seed is suitable for new plantings or reseeding, comes with a 4-in-1 WaterSmart PLUS coating, and covers over 1,200 square feet of lawn space.

How We Chose the Best Grass Seed

We researched the most sought-after grass seed in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, suitable season(s), intended use, and other special features included by select brands.

The most popular types of grass seed among users is Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue for their suitability in multiple climates and their ability to grow thick, durable grass. While not as popular, Bermuda and zoysia grass types are also viable options for those who live in southern areas with a lot of sun. What’s more, these mixes can cover small or large yards depending on your needs.

Many of the grass seeds are also capable of fixing patchy areas on existing grass or growing new plantings for your whole lawn. Plus, many of these options are mixes, which makes them easy to maintain without intense labor. For added convenience, select grass seeds included in our list come with protective coatings to protect them from disease and to aid in water retention or have fertilizer built in.

FAQs

If you’re still wondering what product is best for you, read on for answers to your most pressing grass-seed questions.

Q: What month is best for planting grass seed?

The best month for planting grass seed is September for cool-season grasses and May for warm-season grasses, although this can vary depending on where you live. For cool-season grasses, you want a combination of warm soil, moderate temperatures during the day, and cool temperatures at night. Warm-season grasses should be planted when temperatures eclipse 80 degrees during the day and remain warm through the night.

Q: How do you seed a lawn?

Once you’ve purchased your seed, you’ll need to prepare the soil. If reseeding, cut the grass to a height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Lightly rake the area to break up the soil’s surface, so it can receive the seeds. For new lawns, prepare the ground, making sure to even out the surface. Use a spreader to distribute the recommended amount of seed for reseeding or planting a new lawn.

Q: How do you prepare ground for grass seed?

If possible, use a soil test kit to determine the pH of your soil. Depending on the results, you might need to add organic matter such as lime, compost, topsoil, or peat moss to your soil. Once you’ve completed that step, break up the top ½-inch of the earth with a rake. The soil needs to be loose to accept the seeds.

Q: Can you mix grass seed with topsoil?

Mixing grass seed with topsoil is not a good idea. By combining the two, it’s difficult to spread the seeds evenly throughout the yard. It also might cause some seeds to be buried too deep into the soil to germinate and grow. For better results, spread the seed after mixing topsoil into the yard.

Q: Do you need to cover grass seed?

It’s best not to cover the grass seed with topsoil. Grass seeds are not strong enough to push through heavy earth after germinating. Covering the seeds with topsoil suffocates them, preventing them from growing.

Sunday Lawn Care

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
Free Lawn Analysis