The typical suburban lawn contains a variety of grass types. When starting or restoring a lawn, it helps to know the best seed varieties for your area. The right seed mixture will require less care and perform better over time.
Grass seed falls into two categories: warm season and cool season. Areas north of USDA zone 8 are considered cool season zones. Zones 9 through 12 are warm season grass seed zones.
Lawn seed mixtures contain different seed types that germinate at different times. Annual seeds tend to germinate more quickly than perennial types.
All grass seed needs water to germinate, but once established, some types are more drought resistant than others. Kentucky bluegrass and the fescues need less watering while rough bluegrass, rye and bent grasses need more.
For play areas and other high-traffic areas, choose a perennial ryegrass or tall fescue seed. These are more resistant to wear damage than fine fescues or creeping bentgrass.
Most cool season turf grasses grow best with partial or full sun. In areas of dense shade, turfgrass experts at Purdue Extension suggest using shade-loving groundcovers as an alternative to grass. Warm season grass seed is more shade tolerant.
Do not use pre-emergent weed controls on a newly seeded lawn. To encourage beneficial soil microbes and earthworm activity, avoid insecticide use during the first year of growth.