Category Archives: grass

Choosing a grass variety for your lawn

If you haven’t ever done  much research on grass varieties, don’t worry: You’re  normal.

Do you want the short answer on what is the “best” variety of grass for your lawn:  Choose either bluegrass or perennial ryegrass. Keep in mind, this advice is for the upper midwest.  Other regions of the country will vary.

Do you want the long answer? Great!  then read on!

What makes a great lawn grass variety?  I’ve spent a lot of time researching this, and I have come to some simple answers:

  • It should look good.  Good is subjective, but for most of us that means it should have a uniform appearance with a deep green color.
  • It should feel good.  Soft grass feels nicer than ‘pokey’ grass.
  • It should be tough and as low maintenance as possible.

Let’s look at a few varieties of grass:

Kentucky Bluegrass:  You’ve all heard of it.  This is the primary grass that sod farms grow.  This grass has a fine texture and is very soft.  This is the Cadillac of cool season grasses. It is among the best looking grass for a lawn, but can also be somewhat high maintenance to keep it looking the best.  More water and fertilizer than some others.

Perennial Ryegrass:  Really good alternative to Kentucky Bluegrass.  Most “normal” people can’t tell the difference between them.  A great bet for most normal lawns.  Used on a lot of golf courses.

Improved Turf Type Tall Fescue:  A pretty good alternative to Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass.  Some benefits, some negatives.  A little wider blades (sometimes a LOT wider) make this grass less soft feeling than others.  Has some benefits for the high heat/low water summer months.  May have some dandelion resistance?

Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue:  Not a good grass for lawns (IMHO).  Too rough of a texture.  Doesn’t feel soft.  Main benefit: it’s cheap to buy the seed.

Fine Fescue:  Great for shade.  VERY fine texture.  Some of the softest grass you can find.  Slower growing than some others.

Clover: many people don’t like this in their lawn because it ruins the uniform “carpet” look, but it has many benefits.  Adds nitrogen to the soil.


Watching the grass grow

Want to learn how to go from bare dirt to a lush lawn in less than 1  year?  I’ll show you the steps I took to get these results!

Growing a lawn in one year from seed
Growing a lawn in one year from seed

Oh, the joys of building a new house – you get to establish the lawn.  Of course, we could always just pay to have it done, but being super frugal we’ve decided to plant it ourselves.  Here’s some pics to see the status.

October 11, 2015. 10 days after planting Tall Fescue. 4″ of topsoil brought in to the front yard, with irrigation system.

We used mostly Tall Fescue from TSC for this planting, although since we were so close to winter I decided to throw some winter rye in the mix just in case.  I didn’t get this grass planted until October 1 in Michigan, which is LATE!  2 months earlier would have been just fine with me. My other post lists different grass seed options and the pros and cons of them.

October 15 - starting to see some real green
October 15 – starting to see some real green
October 25 – Finally filling in!
October 25 – just starting to fill in. Thank God this was a warm fall!