It’s no secret that many of us are obsessed with having a beautiful lawn. If you long for thick green grass to surround your home, you’re certainly not alone. According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 78% of adults in the US reported having a home with a lawn or landscaping in 2016.

Getting a beautiful lawn, however, is a matter of patience and perseverance. You’ll need to learn practical skills to properly plant and grow grass seeds. On top of that, you’ll need to know what grass seed types are the best choice for your lawn based on climate and region.

    We’ve put together this guide on choosing the right grass seed for your lawn. You’ll learn how to plant grass seeds and grow a lawn from scratch. You’ll also find a breakdown of different types of grass seed and where they thrive.

    Planting grass seed, growing a lawn, and maintaining your grass take a lot of time and effort. If you’re thinking it’d be easier to hire a professional lawn maintenance company, we recommend TruGreen for all of your lawn service needs.

    Get your free quote from TruGreen by giving them a call at 1-866-817-2172 or providing your zip code online.

    How to plant and grow grass seed

    Growing the perfect lawn starts with the proper planning, planting, and monitoring of grass seed growth. Starting a lawn from scratch requires you to know a bit about your lawn’s climate, soil type, shady areas, and amount of foot traffic. These varying factors will help you determine everything from what type of grass seed to use to when you should plant your new lawn.

    Before we get into the gritty details of choosing a grass seed and growing a lawn, we want to give you an overview of growing grass. The basic steps to planting your new lawn are to prep the soil, plant the grass seed, maximize soil-to-seed contact, and water the lawn appropriately.

    We’ve broken down each step below:

    1. Prepare your soil

    Before you plant any grass seed, you’ll want to prep your soil to create the best grass-growing conditions. You’ll need to remove any large debris from the soil, such as rocks or sticks, as well as pull any existing plants such as weeds. Large clumps of soil should be broken up into smaller pieces, but some lumps are OK. Soil that’s too fine will make it difficult for your seeds to establish roots.

    You can test your soil to see if it is lacking any major nutrients or to determine its pH level. Use a soil testing kit to see what various nutrients you should add to the soil before you plant any grass seed. You can also add organic matter or fertilizers into the soil at this time. Lightly rake or till the area of your lawn so that it’s receptive to the grass seed.

    2. Plant the grass seed

    By hand or by using a spreader, evenly distribute grass seed onto the raked or tilled area of your lawn. For best results, try to plant about 16 seeds per square inch of soil. Too many seeds in one area can cause them to fight to establish roots and use resources. This can lead to bare spots or patchy, thin grass (understanding why your lawn is browning, has bare spots, or exhibits patchy, thin grass can help you take appropriate steps to revitalize it).

    Once you have the seeds planted, use a garden rake to gently cover them with approximately one-fourth inch of soil. Take care not to add pressure when you’re raking. You only want to cover the seeds lightly, not move them. It’s common to still see some seeds on the soil’s surface after raking.

    3. Use a lawn roller to protect newly planted seeds

    Press the soil over the newly planted grass seed using a lawn roller. Rollers help tamp down the soil and encourage seed-to-soil contact. This gives the grass seed a better chance to grow roots that will bind with the soil. Rolling your lawn after planting grass seed is also a great way to prevent soil erosion and protect your newly planted grass seed from birds looking for a tasty snack.

    4. Water your lawn

    Once you’re done planting your grass seed, you’ll want to establish a proper watering schedule. In all parts of the country, correct watering of newly planted grass seed can make or break a gorgeous lawn. The goal of watering new grass seed is to keep the roots moist without drowning the young plants. Make sure whatever method of watering you’re using (sprinkler, hose, etc.) is distributing water evenly. You can also use a small amount of mulch or straw over the seeded area to help retain moisture.

    Along with the basic steps to planting grass seed, you might be wondering about timing, types of grass seed, how to enhance grass growth, or how to fill in patches of an existing lawn. Below we’ve collected some of the most common questions pertaining to grass seed to get you the answers you need.

    Grass seed application methods

    Choosing the right tools for the job can help make planting a new lawn much easier. There are two main types of lawn spreaders. Below you’ll find a quick overview of the different types of lawn spreaders and which one is best for different lawn types.

    Spreader TypeDescriptionBest ForProsCons
    Broadcast spreaderDistributes grass seed in a fan-like manner across a wide area.Large lawn areasCover wide areas
    Make planting more efficient
    Seed distribution is less uniform
    Affected by wind
    Difficult to get uniform coverage
    Drop spreaderGrass seed is dropped straight down through the spreader in rows.Small lawns or edges that require precisionEasy to get uniform coverage
    Not generally impacted by normal winds
    Great for edges near driveways or sidewalks
    Cover less ground
    Takes longer to use
    Require more passes for distribution

    You can also sprinkle or drop grass seed by hand for exact precision in certain areas. Hand-seeding is generally not recommended for establishing large areas of a new lawn but can be a great way to fill in specific patches or tight spots around garden fences or sidewalks. Another method is hydroseeding, or using sprayable grass seed.

    Spreaders can also be used to distribute lawn fertilizer into your soil or onto your existing lawn. Be sure to choose the right fertilizer for your lawn’s needs. Read our article to discover how to choose the best fertilizer for your soil from the best lawn care fertilizer providers.

    Fertilizer Spreader

    Basic types of grass seed

    Grass seed is categorized into warm-season or cool-season.

    “However, within these two types of seed, there are many different seed varieties. Different grass seed types will have varying advantages and disadvantages, including traffic and shade tolerance. When it comes to shade tolerance, considering top grass options for shaded areas is essential.

    Our chart below shows some of the features of popular cool-season and warm-season varieties.

    NameCool or warmDefining featuresTraffic toleranceShade tolerance
    BermudaWarm-seasonDark green
    Fine to medium leaf texture
    Dense and low-growing
    Medium to dark green
    Low maintenance
    ZoysiaWarm-seasonLight to medium green
    Fine to medium leaf texture
    Easy to maintain
    Great for pastures or grazing
    Kentucky bluegrassCool-seasonDark green and dense
    Beautiful appearance with uniform leaves
    One of the most common lawn grasses
    MediumPoor to Moderate
    RyegrassCool-SeasonMedium-dark green
    Fine, smooth leaf texture
    Easy to maintain
    Tall fescueCool-SeasonMedium to dark green
    Extensive root systems
    Grows in bunches
    Colonial bentgrassCool-SeasonLight green
    Fine-tipped leaf texture

    Choosing the best type of grass seed for your region

    Although grass seeds are split into cool-season or warm-season varieties, different types within these varieties are the best grass types for different regions. There are generally five types of climates with different grass seed recommendations for each. Below we’ve listed which type of grass grows best in each climate.

    Climate RegionExample StatesBest Grass Seed
    New York
    Scotts Tall Fescue Grass Seed
    Inland California
    Scotts Perennial Ryegrass Seed
    Coastal Georgia
    Coastal Louisiana
    Pennington Bermudagrass Seed
    Warm/aridSouthern California
    Western Texas
    Scotts Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
    Transition zoneMissouri
    Southern Illinois
    West Virginia
    Pennington Kentucky Bluegrass
    Macro detail of grass seed background

    Planting grass seed: DIY or hire?

    While there’s something rewarding about growing your own lawn, grass seed can be incredibly picky. Not only does it require time and physical effort, but the planning and science that goes into picking the right grass seed (or a mix of grass seeds) for your climate and soil type are best left to professionals like TruGreen.


    • Planting grass seed yourself can be cheaper. You’ll likely save money on the seed and labor to plant the grass seed. However, if you don’t get everything exactly right, you may be buying more grass seed to replant and try again.
    • Your lawn may require the planting be done with large tools like lawn tractors or specialized grass seed spreaders. If you do invest in these implements, it’s unlikely that you’ll use them again.


    • You get the expert advice and experience of lawn care professionals.
    • A professional lawn service will have the tools and equipment to properly plant and maintain your lawn.
    • If something goes wrong, most companies will take responsibility to fix the problem. TruGreen, for example, offers their Healthy Lawn Guarantee®.

    Today’s Homeowner’s recommendation for all things grass seed: TruGreen

    Using a lawn service to plant and maintain your grass seed can greatly reduce the time you spend worrying about your lawn. Plus, once your lawn is established, professional services like TruGreen continue to maintain your grass, so you can keep enjoying a healthy, beautiful lawn.

    At Today’s Homeowner, we recommend TruGreen as your provider for establishing and maintaining a lush, green lawn. Some of the perks of TruGreen include:

    • Professionally trained service technicians—You’ll know your lawn receives expert care.
    • Healthy Lawn Guarantee®—TruGreen backs their services with an unmatched 100%-satisfaction guarantee.
    • Healthy Lawn Analysis®—A beautiful lawn starts from the roots up. During this lawn inspection, a specialist looks at your lawn’s overall health to determine what type of grass seed, fertilizer, or other applications might be right for your lawn.
    • Personalized lawn treatments—Each lawn care service from TruGreen provides applications that are tailored for your lawn specifically.

    TruGreen offers several lawn service packages. They also provide pest control services to keep annoying bugs like mosquitoes at bay. Their lawn service packages include:

    TruHealthSM Lawn PlanTruCompleteSM Lawn PlanTruSignatureSM Lawn Plan
    Pre-emergent & targeted weed control
    Healthy Lawn Guarantee
    Healthy Lawn Analysis
    Pre-emergent & targeted weed control
    Healthy Lawn Guarantee
    Healthy Lawn Analysis
    Pre-emergent & targeted weed control
    Healthy Lawn Guarantee
    Healthy Lawn Analysis
    Tree & Shrub plan

    If you’re not ready to take on the labor-intensive task of planning, planting, and monitoring grass seed for your new lawn, consider TruGreen a perfect solution. Get a free quote today by calling them at 1-866-817-2172 or filling out their online form.

    To learn more about plans and services, read our in-depth review of TruGreen.

    *America’s #1 lawn care company based on U.S. market share of professional lawn care companies. 2017 NorthStar Partners U.S. Share Tracker.✦Purchase of full lawn plan required for Healthy Lawn Analysis, which is performed at the first visit. ◆Guarantee applies to full plan customers only.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    photo of Lora Novak

    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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