What Is The Best Grass Seed? Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Last update: February 4, 2022

Having a thriving lawn that turns your neighbors green with envy can be a difficult task. With so many ‘miracle’ cures around, you may be tempted to use one for a faultless lawn. However, your greatest concern may be the growing conditions that would stifle any grass seed.

Certain conditions affect your lawn and that must be taken into account. From the amount of shade to the prevalent climate and how much foot traffic your lawn should expect to receive.

Deciding on a pricey grass seed that is supposed to be the answer to all your problems can be an expensive mistake. The mix could include obsolete or incompatible varieties that turn your lawn into a mass of diseased and dead grass.

Soon enough you will realize that the ‘miracle’ grass seed has actively damaged your lawn. Once it has clearly failed you may have to start all over again.

Creating a healthy lawn requires diligence and maintenance yet having the best grass seed is key. Aligning the grass seed to your region’s climate and considering the elevation and humidity also help.

You may also want to check the soil type, water retention, and disease prevention. With the best grass seed, you could soon have a lawn to be proud of.

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed

OUR RATING

5/5
Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra

Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed And Mulch

OUR RATING

4.5/5

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade

OUR RATING

4.5/5
Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed

X-Seed Ultra Premium

OUR RATING

4/5
X Seed Ultra Premium Quick and Thick Lawn Seed

Barenbrug WaterSaver Grass Mixture 

OUR RATING

4/5
WaterSaver Grass Mixture with Turf Type Tall Fescue Used to Seed New Lawn and Patch Up Jobs

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix

OUR RATING

3.5/5
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun And Shade Mix

OUR RATING

3.5/5
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun Shade

AT A GLANCE: What Is The Best Grass Seed
Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed
Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed And Mulch
Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade
X-Seed Ultra Premium
Barenbrug WaterSaver Grass Mixture
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun And Shade Mix

Best For Cool Seasons

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed

Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra Mixture

For northern lawns in cooler climates, try Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed. A variety so confident about its grass seed mix that it handily breaks down the contents of the bag.

That’s 80% tall fescue, 10% Kentucky bluegrass, and the rest consisting of ryegrass. That careful composition is an ideal cool-season grass seed blend and one that is designed for insect resistance.

Once planted, you should be impressed at how quickly the grass grows, especially in thin lawns. Thanks to a waxy coating on each seed, the grass is protected from disease and will lock in plant moisture which we enjoyed in our experience of this product.

For a lush, deep green lawn you should consider full sun exposure and be rewarded with a uniform leaf texture.

Pros

  • Rapid Establishment – Grows quickly in thin lawns and those that are newly seeded with perennial ryegrass
  • Insect Resistance – The mix includes grass that is naturally resistant to insects
  • Not Prone To Disease – The waxy coating prevents disease and keeps in moisture
  • Ideal With High Sunlight – Use the seed in full sun or even partial shade and you should get a thick covering of deep green grass
  • Uniform Leaf Texture – Enjoy a lush lawn with consistently thick grass

Cons

  • Specific Seeding Timings – Some users have commented that you strictly have to check the bag to understand when to plant the grass seed

Also available directly from Jonathan Green

Best For Low Maintenance With Light Shade

Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed And Mulch

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch

If you are worried that the bit of shade that covers your lawn may prevent healthy grass growth then allay your concerns. Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed And Mulch uses a combination of Zoysia grass seed with mulch to produce a tough, durable lawn.

That is even with some shade so you would not need to be concerned about a lack of full sunlight, which we liked in our testing.

A hot summer and any drought are of little bother too, this grass seed is well-prepared for that too. Forget about weeds as well with a mix that should be 99.9% free of them.

The one drawback is that you would be expected to extensively water your lawn for at least three weeks. Perhaps even twice a day. After that, you should be able to admire the long-lasting lawn.

Pros

  • Grows In Full Sun And Light Shade- If you have a garden that has some shade then this is the ideal grass seed
  • Durable Lawn – By combining the grass seed with the mulch you can expect a tough lawn with little maintenance required
  • Tough Conditions – The variety is designed to do well in hot conditions with expected drought
  • 99.9% Weed-Free – Enjoy a seed mix that has little chance of any weeds growing

Cons

  • Requires Extensive Watering – You would be expected to water the grass twice every day for a period lasting three weeks and more

Also available directly from Scotts

Best For Shaded Lawns

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed

Some lawns are best enjoyed in the shade. Away from direct sunlight, they may struggle but not with Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade. This seed mix is ready to be deployed in an area that gets under three hours of daily sunlight.

Perhaps a large over-ground trampoline dominates over the lawn, with this grass seed you need not worry.

The pure bred seeds are excellent for withstanding drought. They should still produce wonderfully thick grass, even when using up to 30% less water than other rival brands.

The Penkoted technology from Pennington also protects against disease and deadly fungi, which we liked in our testing.

Pros

  • Requires Less Light – The specially designed mix includes grass seed varieties that do well in shaded areas
  • Penkoted Technology – Pennington’s unique technology protects against deadly fungi
  • Pure Bred Seeds – These seeds are developed for drought tolerance and thick grass that grow using 30% less water than other grass seed varieties

Cons

  • Poor In Direct Sunlight – The grass seeds are ideal for shaded areas and struggle when exposed to direct sunlight

Also available directly from Pennington

Best For Mixed Seeds

X-Seed Ultra Premium


X-Seed Ultra Premium Quick and Thick Lawn Seed Mixture

Occasionally, you may want a grass seed mix where you barely have to check the bag. With X-Seed Ultra Premium, you should know that no fillers are included. Expect a natural-looking, long-lasting lawn from a mix of just three grass seeds.

With the mixture comprising 55% Perennial Ryegrass, you can expect the lawn to return every year, even after heavy traffic.

No fillers and no coatings, which we liked in our testing, as only pure seeds are used. The grass seed grows fast and is ideal for Northern and Central US states. This is also an ideal mixture if you wanted a thinner variety of grass.

Pros

  • Long-Lasting Lawn – The Perennial Ryegrass keeps coming back every year
  • Great Blend of Seeds – With 55% Perennial Ryegrass, 15% Kentucky Bluegrass and 30% Fine Fescue, you can enjoy the benefits of each grass variety
  • No Fillers – Expect a natural lawn as no fillers are included in the mix
  • Lack of Coatings – Only pure seeds are used so you should see a lawn grow as nature intended

Cons

  • Thin Growth – Other mixture versions can produce a thicker variety of grass

Also available directly from eBay

Best For Warm Season

Barenbrug WaterSaver Grass Mixture 

WaterSaver Grass Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue Used to Seed New Lawn and Patch Up Jobs

With WaterSaver Grass Mixture, you can create a rich lawn with little work. The seed mix is designed to knit your lawn together through self-repairing turf. Conclusively, that means less watering, less maintenance, and less mowing is necessary.

The grass does not even require any special conditions as it is versatile enough to grow in a transition climate.

Whether shaded or prone to sunlight, expect a deep green color. The grass is also developed to cope well with difficult weather conditions. You could even use your lawnmower close to your turf for a closely cut lawn, which we liked in our testing.

Pros

  • Low Maintenance – This grass seed rapidly fills in open and damaged spots with less watering required.
  • Versatile – Whether in the sun or the shade, the grass will grow in a transition climate zone
  • RTF Technology – The tall fescue with rhizomatous tall fescue seeds will combine for a strong root system and result in fewer weeds

Cons

  • Not Ideal For Hot Conditions – The grass seed copes well in warm climates but not hot ones such as some southern states

Also available directly at eBay

Best For High Foot Traffic

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed

You should be able to enjoy your backyard, especially when it is covered in lush grass. With Scotts’ Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix you should be confident that your lawn can take some heavy treatment.

That should include your pets roaming around, children playing and the odd party.

Even in areas of worn-down spots, with self-repairing grass that will grow quickly, the lawn should be covered, which we liked in our testing.

The seven-pound bag also covers quite a lot of ground, 1,500 square feet in fact. With Scotts’ WaterSmart Plus coating, the grass seed will actively absorb water for a durable, long-lasting lawn with strong roots.

Pros

  • Stable Growth – Revel in a grass seed that is designed to grow strong roots
  • Self-Repairing Grass – The grass should withstand foot traffic as well as general wear and tear
  • Durable Lawn – This is grass seed that will produce a liveable, long-lasting lawn
  • Withstands Parties, Kids And Pets – Enjoy your backyard the way it was supposed to with a grass seed that can take some high traffic
  • Big Coverage – A seven-pound bag should cover an area of up to 1,500 square feet

Cons

  • Unknown Lawn Conditions – Though the seed mix is ideal for heavy traffic, the lawn and climate conditions are unknown

Also available directly from Scotts

Best For Cold Climates

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun And Shade Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Scotts are so keen on ensuring that their Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun And Shade Mix is used appropriately, you cannot get it in certain states.

That includes Los Angeles and Guam as the grass seed is specially designed for northern lawns. Those lawns can take a harsh winter and the seed mix is designed for medium to high drought resistance.

Allow the turf builder to take the initiative by covering thin and bare spots. You can be confident that a fully covered lawn will be the end result.

Especially with a WaterSmart Plus coating to help the seeds absorb more water, take in more nutrients and prevent disease. That special coating was a feature we enjoyed in our experience of this product.

Pros

  • Medium To High Drought Resistance – Ideal for areas where water may be scarce
  • Contains Kentucky Bluegrass – This particular grass variety can take harsh treatment and that includes northern winters
  • WaterSmart Plus Coating – The grass seed absorbs more water, protects against disease and takes in essential nutrients
  • Aggressive Spread – The seed actively covers thin and bare spots

Cons

  • Not Ideal For Southern States – The grass seed is not even available to purchase in certain states, such is its designed formula

Also available directly from Scotts 

Buyers’ Guide

When you are considering grass seed, it is perhaps best to steer clear of the ‘miracle’ promises. They may make certain boasts yet a bit of research is well worth the effort. Your lawn may not need such divine inspiration yet you should still find the most ideal grass seed.

One that works well in the conditions and looks after itself. The best grass seed will be one that works well with your soil type and delivers enviously lush quality year-on-year.

It may be the case that your best bet is shopping locally. Your nearest garden center may have grass seed in huge bulk dispensers. It may not have a raft of information but you should be confident that it would work well for your region’s climate.

You can also buy as little as you want to test it out first on a small patch. If it works, simply go back and buy enough for your lawn. If in doubt, you can always ask someone who works there for their opinion and advice.

Always check the bag first so you have a good idea of what grass seeds are included. The mixture should be broken down into percentages so you can research which types of grass are best suited to your lawn.

Several mixes can include a significant proportion of fillers or mulch and you may want to steer clear of those components.

Any dirt or chaff should be ideally under 2% of the total mix too. Excellent blends do tend to create a more uniform look and increased resistance to diseases which is a worthwhile factor to consider.

The bag should also include the expiration date of the seeds. This is quite important as any seed that you plant that is over ten months past its listed date is unlikely to germinate to any real success.

Try your best to match the grass seed to the type of lawn that you already have or are aiming for.

Climate Matching

There are various climates that specific grass seed mixes can cater for and perform best in. If you live in an area that is highly susceptible to drought then there are grass seeds that require less watering than others.

The heat (or lack thereof) also plays a crucial role in how grass can thrive, or suffer. For that eventuality, some grass mixes are specially designed to grow in cold climates while others fare better in warm climates.

Some manufacturers will even refuse to deliver to specific states as they appreciate the grass simply won’t perform or grow as desired.

Certainly, if you buy a grass seed that is not suited to the climate you will be making the task of maintenance a lot harder, even more expensive.

Generally, you should be looking for a grass seed that is native to your area. For instance, Bermuda grass originates in the Southern Hemisphere so works best in southern states.

You may find yourself having to buy a suitable irrigation system and numerous fertilizers to keep the grass in good condition. The best grass seed should make it easy for you and not require an excessive amount of time and effort.

Type of Grass Seed

Put simply, there are two types of turf grass. Warm-season grasses come from the southern states and do well in hotter climates, particularly in summer.

As you would expect, the grass is particularly good at withstanding drought conditions but can fade to a brownish color during later months.

For good germination, you should plant warm-season grasses in late spring. Popular varieties of warm-season grasses include St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia.

Then there are cool-season grasses which come from… the North. These include varieties such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass. They tend to perform admirably well when the conditions are cooler such as winter and should be planted in early fall.

Quality

Certain brands like to praise how deeply green their grass will be once grown. That may be simply because they have included one variety of grass that results in little interference. You could even achieve a glossy look which would be the envy of the neighborhood.

Coverage

Should you have a particularly large lawn then you may want the best value for your buck. That means a grass seed mix that can cover a big area. This could simply include one grass variety yet a 50-pound bag may cover 10,000 square feet which is excellent value.

The grass variety used should be deep-rooted and develop wide leaves to ensure wide deployment and a lush lawn.

The coverage should also include filling in and reseeding some dead spots on your lawn that require some extra TLC. Certainly look out for those mixes that boast of quick germination so you can fill in those areas promptly.

Type of Soil

One task you could perform before you spread your grass seed is to check the soil. Some grass seeds work better in specific soils than others. That can mean stronger roots when you need them, particularly in sandy soils.

Protection

As you might expect, there is some science involved in grass seeds. Specific development has gone into how to protect your seeds to provide the best, lushest growth.

The patented technology can include coatings that offer protection against disease and any dangerous fungi that may threaten your lawn.

This is particularly welcome in lawns which could include significantly wet and shaded areas that can encourage the growth of mushrooms.

Other grass seeds are coated with a waxy substance that is designed to help with drought and disease resistance. That same coating can also lock-in and preserve moisture which is crucial to make the most of each watering.

Part of your research could also be protecting yourself. If you suffer from asthma, try to read some reviews as this could be a telling factor in your decision-making and a warning could be in place.

Foot Traffic

Having a lush green lawn should not just be something to look at. You should be able to enjoy it under your feet too and that includes a grass that can withstand heavy foot traffic.

This is a feature to look out for if you have children who particularly like to play outdoors. Certain grass types such as Bermuda and Zoysia tend to fare well under heavy traffic while fescue does not.

The grass should be thick enough to withstand some heavy treatment, including bouncing balls as well as general wear and tear. If you expect few people to walk on your grass and only some occasionally light traffic then this is not a feature you necessarily need.

Level of Maintenance

Thankfully, some manufacturers have worked out that there are a lot of individuals who want a nice lawn with minimal maintenance. That could mean less watering, in which case the seeds need to retain moisture.

It could also mean allowing for close cutting of the turf so it requires less time for you to spend on the lawn mower. You should consider a grass type that does not need annual dethatching and you could find one that is self-repairing.

If you truly want a grass seed mix that you really do not have to work very hard for, check the bag for whether it includes fertilizer.

You may intend to use lawn fertilizer anyway yet you can guarantee that with it included in the mix your seeds get the nutrients they require.

The type of fertilizer will also have been specifically selected. Mulch can also help due to its water retention and how it prevents the growth of weeds.

Sunlight Exposure

Some grass seed manufacturers have developed their own mixes that are intended to grow well in shaded areas. That could mean catering for a specific area of your lawn that you only expect to receive three hours of direct sunlight a day.

This lack of sunlight could also apply to your whole lawn so a sizable bag may be a good option. It is worth noting that fescue should grow fine in areas that are well shaded.

However, a few varieties of ryegrass and Bermuda grass in particular only need a couple of hours of direct sunlight and they will still thrive.

Weed Content

One plus point that grass seed mix manufacturers like to promote is the lack of weeds that should be included. If the bag does not boast of being 99.9% weed-free that may indicate how liberal the mix is.

Certainly, it should be a concern if the breakdown of what goes into the mix is not included. Not to suggest that manufacturers would intentionally include weeds yet it helps if there is some sort of a declaration.

Just like the ingredients list on any packaging, knowing what goes into the content is reassuring to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Prepare The Soil Before Planting Grass Seeds?

First, grab a sharp garden tool such as a rake for a large lawn. You can also use a shovel for a smaller area like a bare patch. Be careful to remove stones and any large debris to clear the area.

Incorporate some organic material such as compost into the soil to prepare it to absorb water. Once this organic material has been added, use your tool to smooth out the area. You may want to add some lawn fertilizer to boost germination and aid the growth of your grass.

Finally, you are ready to spread your seeds. Try to sow them evenly, or better still use a lawn spreader. The seed should be in the top eighth of an inch of the soil after you have raked it in.

A good precaution to take with your seeds is to water them until it germinates though you should read the instructions on the bag first.

How Should I Reseed A Lawn?

For bare spots, you may want to reseed parts of your lawn. Try to use the same seed for a consistent overall look and prepare your soil first. That should mean cutting the grass down to an average height of around 1.5-inches.

Just as you would with any area you are about to seed, use a sharp garden tool to loosen up the soil. Even out the surface smoothly and spread the seeds over.

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Plant Grass Seed?

This largely depends on what grass seeds you have and the climate you live in. As a general rule, you should plant your grass seed in the most accommodating conditions possible.

Not too hot and not freezing either, it needs to be just right or a part of the year when you can expect reasonable temperatures.

For cool-season grass, you should be planting your seeds in the fall when temperatures are coming down. However, for warm-season grass, the ideal time is spring when temperatures are on the rise.

The best time of the year is when you can expect middling temperatures during the day with the evening being pleasantly cool.