How to Pick the Right Grass for Your Lawn in 7 Steps
Posted by George Bravos on
Lets talk about how to pick the right grass for your lawn in 7 steps! Taking on the task of establishing a new lawn or renovating an existing one can be more work than expected. Whether you'redoing the job yourself or hiring someone else, there are multiple steps involved. Here we'll focus on the task that kicks everything off, what grass should I pick?
Traditional Grass or Alternative Lawn Cover
You may want to start by considering if you want traditional grass or an alternative lawn cover. Grass is the most popular and common ground cover. However, there are other options. Many plants and materials can be ground covers - mulch, rocks, pebble, trees, flowers, etc. - the list goes on. But, if you are looking for a live plant to cover your whole lawn, the alternative ground cover we recommend i Kurapia! Kurapia has an uncanny resemblance to grass, with improved traits. For example, it never has to be mowed and is extremely drought tolerant. It also blooms flowers twice annually. So if you're open to something other than grass, look no further!
Annual or Perennial Grass for Your Lawn
There are two main types of grasses, annual grass or perennial grass, for your lawn. To make things really easy, annual grasses have a dormancy period, usually winter time, during which they turn brown and "go to sleep". They can be over seeded with a perennial grass such as ryegrass to stay green throughout its dormancy period. Perennial grasses stay green year round. This can be confusing because the ones called "annuals" are actually not green year round. The most common annual type of awn cover is bermuda grasses. They go dormant in the winter, and come back in the spring and are often over-seeded with ryegrass. You may be asking yourself why someone would want a grass that is brown for many months. Well, Bermuda's are highly resilient when they are green. They tolerate heat, drought and foot traffic much better than most perennial grasses. This is why you typically see them on athletic fields. Bermuda's are the short grasses that almost look like a carpet, growing really dense and low to the ground. For annual grasses, take a look at any of our hybrid bermudas. If you want a lawn green year round, take a look at our fescues or natives.
Here is a comparison between our Native Mow Free, a perennial grass that is green year round, vs. our Delta Tifway 2 which is a Hybrid Bemruda and will go dormant in winter time.
Sun and Shade Exposure on the Lawn
Sun and shade exposure is one of the most critical things to consider when choosing a new lawn. Like any living organism, grass needs the basic elements to stay alive and thrive. Your lawn will need sun and water at varying degrees depending on which type it is. Most grasses like full sun, and few are cultivated to tolerate some shade. However, any lawn will need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. We generally talk about sun exposure as full sun, partial sun and shade, light shade, moderate shade and heavy shade. If the area has heavier shady conditions, then there are a few options. For example, our Shade Blend, Mow Free and Delta Native Grassland Mix.
Here is our Shade Blend after one of our installation sites, as you can see immediately beneath filtered shade.
Foot Traffic on the Grass Lawn
Foot traffic is important to consider because it will dictate the type of blend you require based on how much stress it will receive. Mostly, we consider foot traffic to be light foot traffic, moderate foot traffic or heavy foot traffic. Foot traffic can be kids playing in the yard, sports activities on the lawn, the grass serving as a walkway, etc. Basically, anything that will increase the wear and tear of the grass. The range of foot traffic is wide as some grasses are used for aesthetic purposes only and other solely for purposes such as sports fields.
This is one of our Delta Tall 9010 installations a few years back. It was a backyard for a family with 3 boys who would be paying soccer on the lawn.
Pets on the Grass Lawn
Pets are an essential factor to conciser because similarly to foot traffic, they will be an additional environmental conditions the grass will be exposed to, and it is best to prepare for those conditions specifically. We usually want to know if the dog female or male, as they have different urinating patterns. It is also important to consider f the dog will be small, medium or large. For larger dogs, you want to ensure a hearty grass like our Delta Tall 9010 and is not frail and easily damaged. Or perhaps a bermuda grass, which is also very resilient.
Drought Tolerant Grass for a Lawn
Drought tolerant grass for a lawn is a significant consideration to make when deciding what turf type you want. First and foremost, we are in a global climate crisis and water is becoming more scarce. So, knowing that water may not always be unlimited is significant. IN fact, many counties and cities are already implementing water usage regulations and limitations, especially during the summer, which is when grass needs the most water. Water conservation also means cutting down the cost of maintaining the lawn, so this may be something to consider as well, the cost of watering your lawn as needed. Lastly, depending on the type of irrigation system, watering your lawn can take up time. So, it is important to consider if you will have the time to keep up with maintaining it and spend the time needed to ensure it gets enough water. Our most drought tolerant sod options include our Kurapia and Delta Tall 9010, among many other runner ups.
Aesthetics of Your Grass Lawn
We may say aesthetics don't matter, but let's admit it, we know they do! Try and envision what you want your lawn to look like. It is often overlooked how many types of grass there are and that they all are different! Some grasses have a darker green color, while others have a brighter green. Some grasses grow tall, while others grow short. Some grasses have thicket and wider blades, while others have more narrow bladed that can both be narrow and tall and narrow and short. It all depends on what you want your who lawn to look like as a whole. When we get phone calls from customers who are realtors or in the process of selling their home and want something that will increase the property value, we usually recommend one of Blue ye bends. Blue and Rye are highly aesthetic grasses with rich colored blades and soft textures.
Here is one of our Delta Blue Rye mixes, as you can see it has a deep, rich green color and beautiful blades!
If you are going to be doing the job yourself, you may use our DIY Prep and Install Blog as a guide. Click the link below for the full blog!
We hope you found this guide helpful! If you have any further questions or wonderings, give us a call! All of our staff are trained to help you choose a turf type. We hope to hear from you soon!
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Thank you for helping me choose the suitable grass for my lawn. You guys have the best customer service ever.
Great advice, George. I’m starting to like your blog, and it gives me some helpful ideas on what I need for my yard.
This guide is lifehack. I should follow this before making a choice. Thanks a lot.
Thanks for this comprehensive guide for anyone who doesn’t have a piece of knowledge about grass. Your blog is fantastic and informative. Love it.
This guide is full of great advice and tips on having suitable grass and a perfect lawn.