Types of Grass Lawn To Grow in Your Yard

Lawns, whether intentionally or not, stand out as representative of a property’s standard. They are clear indicators of the property owner’s values.

Whether it’s a lush lawn or a low-input lawn, each tells a story and creates a distinct impression of the property – commercial, residential, or leisure.

Remarkable properties are the product of good planning and dedicated care. In planning your garden, specifically your lawn, environmental conditions, and use-purpose are essential considerations.

Ecological factors include climate conditions, soil type and condition, and groundwater conditions.

Usage considerations may include the expected foot traffic, desired cosmetic appeal, and the required lawn surface finish.

Influencing your final decision may further be affected by the amount of shade on the property and drought, disease, and pest resilience requirements.

Read on to learn about different types of grass lawns that you can plant for your front yard and landscaping.

Types of Grass Lawn Based on Climate

The United States has two distinct lawn-type categories:

Shortlisting suitable grass types for your property will depend on the property’s location.

In this article, we briefly review both warm-season grass and cool-season grass categories.

We also provide a brief synopsis for each of the most common grass types in each category.

Furthermore, each grass type can be overseeded with grass seed to make the lawn grass lusher.

To further assist you in making an informed decision, we provide links to qualified research articles at the bottom of the article.

U.S. Climate Regions and Grasses

Below are the most commonly used grasses per region.

Included, where available, are the low-input options as referenced from the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA).

Deep South and Gulf Coast Region

Grass TypeWarm Season Grasses
Commonly UsedBahia Grass, Centipede Grass
AlternativesZoysia Grass, Seashore Paspalum, Buffalo Grass, St Augustine Grass, Dichondra Repens
Water Conservation OptionsTall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass  
Key FactorsHigh Heat and Humidity, Coastal, Warm Season Grasses Thrive

Midwest Region

Grass TypeCool Season Grasses
Commonly UsedKentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass
Water Conservation OptionsThe above three plus Bermudagrass, Fine Fescues
Key FactorsVarying Humidity, Ideal for Cool Season Grass Types

Northeast Region

Grass TypeCool Season Grasses
Commonly UsedKentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass
Water Conservation OptionsThe above two, plus Tall Fescue, Fine Fescues
Key FactorsCold Winters, Cool Summers, High Humidity

Pacific Northwest Region

Grass TypeCool Season Grasses
Commonly UsedKentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue
Water Conservation OptionsThe above two, plus Bermudagrass, Fine Fescues, Perennial Ryegrass
Key FactorsCool, Arid Conditions

Southeast Region

Grass TypeWarm Season Grasses
Commonly UsedBahia Grass, Centipede Grass, Zoysia Grass, Buffalo Grass, St Augustine Grass, Dichondra Repens
Water Conservation OptionsIn cooler areas – Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermudagrass
Key FactorsHot and Humid, Saline Ground

Southwest Region         

Grass TypeWarm Season Grasses
Commonly UsedBermuda Grass, Perennial Ryegrass
Water Conservation OptionsIn cooler areas – Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermudagrass
Key FactorsHot and Arid

Transition Region

Grass TypeCool Season Grasses
Commonly UsedTall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass
Water Conservation OptionsThe above two, plus Bermudagrass, Fine Fescues
Key FactorsSome Heat Tolerance Required. Temperature Fluctuations

Warm Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses have no tolerance for cold. Some, such as the St Augustine grass, succumb to frost.

Warm-season grass loves heat, full sun and is tolerant of salt and drought.

There are numerous variants of each cultivar, and research continues to find strains that provide specific profiles.

Below are the most common warm-season grasses:

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass is one of many types of grass lawn for your front yard

Bermuda grass, prized for its heat and drought resistance and ability to survive severe use and recover quickly, is a good warm-season grass choice.

Bermuda grass is deemed an invasive plant in some areas. Bermuda grass grows at the fastest rate of all the warm-season grasses.

A plus is that it can withstand heavy use and recovers from harm far faster than most grasses.

As a result, it is often used for sporting fields, golf course tee areas, and golf fairways in the southern United States.

Characteristics:

  • Warm-season grass
  • Requires full sun and good drainage
  • Suitable for southern lawns from coast to coast
  • Tolerant of heat, drought, traffic, and salt
  • Intolerant of cold
  • Requires high maintenance and nutrient input

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is well-known for its high heat tolerance and low upkeep requirements.

Centipede grass, a favorite of lawn owners looking for low-maintenance options, requires significantly less attention and input than other grasses in its growing region.

Centipede’s root structure is shallow in comparison to other warm-season grasses.

During periods of low rain, this necessitates increased care and watering. Centipede quickly recovers from stress.

Characteristics

  • Warm-season grass
  • Heat-tolerant grass
  • Low maintenance and nutrient requirements
  • Moderate shade tolerance
  • Alkaline soil sensitivity
  • Shallow root system
  • Sensitive to iron deficiency
  • It does not permit Perennial Ryegrass overseeding.

St. Augustine Grass

St.-Augustine-Grass

St Augustine grass produces a lovely light to dark green turf.

It grows into a dense turf that thrives in most southern soils, even in the shade of the majestic live oak trees that the south is known for.

The wear tolerance of St Augustine grass is low.

Characteristics

  • Warm-season grass
  • Heat-tolerant grass
  • Dormant in winter
  • Planted by vegetative means, including sod, sprigs, or plugs.
  • Alkaline soil sensitivity
  • Most shade-tolerant warm-season grass
  • Fair saline tolerance
  • High maintenance
  • Requires short trim to manage thatch

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass’s active development begins in late spring and peaks in the summer heat.

When planted in the right conditions, Zoysia is a perennial plant that will come back year after year.

It grows well on lawns all over the southern U.S., from the hot, humid Southeast to sections of California.

Families who use their lawns for activities and partying would like this thick, dense growth of green grass.

Zoysia has a deep root structure that is highly efficient at retaining moisture and surviving drought.

Characteristics

  • Warm-season grass that is more resistant to cold 
  • Prefers sun
  • Tolerates some light shade
  • Suitable for southern and transition zones
  • Heat and drought tolerant
  • Low water and maintenance requirements
  • Dense, heavy foot traffic tolerant growth

Bahia Grass

Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass is drought and heat tolerance and its capacity to grow where other lawn grasses struggle.

Bahiagrass provides a lawn that is generally durable, low-growing, and low-maintenance in this location.

Its deep root structure makes this warm-season grass drought resilient, even in the Southeast’s sandy soils.

Characteristics

  • Warm-season grass
  • Prefers full sun
  • Suitable for Deep South and Gulf Coast lawns
  • Heat and drought tolerant
  • Low water and nutrient requirements

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass grows best in full sun, although it can be cultivated with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine per day and still be acceptable turf.

It is one of the turf-grass species that can withstand extreme heat and drought.

Characteristics

  • Warm-season grass
  • Prefers full sun
  • Tolerant of some shade
  • Extreme heat and drought tolerant
  • Low water and nutrient requirements
  • Low foot traffic

Seashore Paspalum

Seashore-Paspalum

Seashore Paspalum is a warm-season grass that is salt tolerant and has attractive turfgrass properties.

This specialty grass withstands warm-season areas with high salt content in the soil or irrigation water.

It has superior heat and salt tolerance and the ability to endure some shade.

The seashore paspalum can withstand some traffic during the spring and summer and recover fast from moderate abrasion.

Characteristics

  • Exception salt processing
  • Quick root development
  • Excellent striping properties
  • Low light tolerance
  • Low water and nutrient requirements
  • Can handle heavy foot traffic tolerant
  • Is the 2022 World Cup Qatar choice of turf grass

Bentgrass

Many landscapes have this grass as the most prevalent grass, but it is not by choice. Bentgrass is typically an “invasive species.”

Bentgrass performs better at mowing heights below 1-1/2 inches and requires a weekly mow to remain green.

Creeping Bentgrass is a high-maintenance turf grass that requires expert turf management.

It usually is exclusively suggested for golf courses because of its ability to withstand a shallow cut and recover rapidly from high traffic and other traumas (e.g., divots)

Characteristics

  • Considered an invasive “weed.”
  • Some states have outlawed bentgrass
  • It is both a warm- and cool-season grass
  • High maintenance
  • Putting green usage in some states

Dichondra (Repens)

Dichondra-repens

Dichondra repens is a perennial that, in the right conditions, creates a low, dense mat.

Dichondra is native to the Coastal Plain States from Virginia to Texas, except in central and southern California. It has pale green kidney-shaped leaves.

It thrives on thick soil. The plant does not require a high level of fertility, but it does demand much water.

Characteristic

  • Grows well in shade
  • Is invasive
  • Requires much water

Cool Season Grasses

Cold winters, cool summers, and varying humidity create challenging conditions for lawn grasses.

These regions need grasses that prefer cool temperatures and can resist the prevalent diseases.

These areas also have low precipitation levels, and plants need to recover from drought seasons rapidly.

The following are the most common cool-season grasses to grow as your lawn.


Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is synonymous with the perfect lawn for many lawn owners in the United States.

When given the right growing circumstances and care, this grass grows into a dense, lush, and long-lasting lawn that lives up to its name.

This grass requires much maintenance to look its best, but the benefits can be well worth it.

It thrives in northern areas with somewhat warm summers and chilly winters.

Characteristics

  • Cool-season grass
  • Suitable for northern lawns from coast to coast
  • Excellent cold resistance
  • Some cultivars susceptible to heat and drought
  • Limited shade tolerance
  • Self-repair capability is exceptional
  • Some hybrids are sensitive to traffic stress

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial-Ryegrass

The use of perennial ryegrass across the United States varies by region.

This hardworking, fine-bladed grass’s excellent germination rate and quick establishment make it a favorite among gardeners.

It’s an essential component in both permanent northern lawns and temporary southern lawns in need of winter color.

Perennial ryegrass thrives where summers are temperate, and winters are chilly.

Characteristics

  • Cool-season grass
  • Fast germination and seedling growth
  • It’s suitable for both permanent and temporary lawns as a filler
  • Good cold tolerance
  • Heat and drought tolerance variety dependent
  • Light shade tolerant

Fine Fescue

Fine fescue refers to three fescue grass species: chewings fescue, creeping red fescue, and hard fescue.

All three can withstand chilly temperatures and blend nicely with other cool-season grasses.

Fine fescues do not survive wear and tear, but they have the remarkable ability to grow in dry shade.

Characteristics

  • Cool Season 
  • Excellent shade tolerance  
  • Minimal maintenance 
  • Not available as sod, only limited seed availability 
  • Mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass for sun/shade 
  • Spread seed at 3-5 pounds per square foot 
  • Standard mowing height: 1.5 to 2.5 inches

Tall Fescues

Tall-Fescues

Tall fescue is a bunch-type perennial grass that proliferates in the spring and fall.

Tall fescue is a desirable turf type for high-traffic home lawns and shaded regions.

It can withstand dryness better than bluegrass, but it does require extra watering in dry weather.

Tall Fescue thrives in both partial shade and full sun.

Characteristics

  • Cool-season
  • From fall until spring, you’ll be able to enjoy superb color and quality
  • Deep root system 
  • Start with seed or sod 
  • Average shade tolerance 
  • Best adapted cool-season variety
  • It needs a sharp mower blade for the healthiest maintenance 
  • A combination of 90% Tall Fescue and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass tends to both look great. Additionally, this mix resists disease well (this is the most common composition of sod) 
  • Standard mowing height: 2 to 3 inches

Conclusion

Lawns are a source of wellbeing and tranquility. Every effort you put into them will be amply rewarded.

According to research, more water and fertilizer are used on U.S. lawns than for growing corn.

It is part of who we are. We trust that this guide will help you decide on the most suitable, sustainable solution for your next amazing green lawn.

Check out our articles and each grass type for more detailed information.

References

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