This is a common question we get here at Lawnmasters. And I have to say that the answer changes depending on your property. If you have full sun, full shade or a mixture of the two, you will have choices to make. Also, where you live in the United States is going to change the answer.
For our area, West Tennessee, we have four main types of grass that we can grow well.
1) Bermuda Grass – Bermuda in Hybrid or Common varieties will grow very well in our area as long as you have full sun. Bermuda will not grow in the shade at all. As a matter of fact, when someone asks me how can they get rid of the Bermuda in their lawn because they want another variety, I say MOVE! That’s the only way you will have no Bermuda. Shade is the only thing that will kill it out. Even spraying it with Round Up will not kill it. It will just grow right back. So if you have full sun, and want a maintenance free lawn, go with Bermuda.
2) Zoysia Grass – Zoysia (Japanese Lawn Grass) is a cousin to Bermuda. It grows in the same full sun conditions and is a Warm Season Grass just like Bermuda. Only it will take much more shade than Bermuda. So you can sod it or sprig it near trees, just not all the way up under them. Zoysia grows very thick and lush and is the cadillac of the lawn grasses for our area.
3) Fescue – Fescue will grow in the shade, so it is a choice when you have a shady lawn. Our problem with Fescue in our area is that lately, (last 4 years) we have had yearly droughts and the fescue takes a beating from the heat, drought stress and gets beat up on by the trees that it grows under. The tree competes with the grass for water, and the tree wins. Fescue will grow in the full sun also, again, our problem here in this part of the US is that in the Summer the climate conditions are just a little too harsh. If we have mild Summers it will survive just fine. But as a general rule, the Fescue has to be re-seeded every fall to keep it thick. Fungus also hits it hard, mainly Brown Patch. It is a cool season grass and looks the best for longer of the year. But it’s high maintenance. Use it with caution.
4) Bluegrass – Some new varieties of Bluegrass are out that are handling the heat and climate of our area much better, and the jury is still out on them as to whether or not they are a good choice. In the past, the Bluegrass varieties would die out from too much heat. I hope these new varieties work out well, there is a place for them in our zone. Bluegrass is a cool season grass and will take the sun and shade so if they do work out, it would be a good choice.
Which is right for your lawn will depend on how much shade and how much maintenance expense and or time you are willing to put into it.
For more information on Lawn grass types, maintenance and establishment go to our website Here Lawnmasters