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Best grass seed 2022: The best seed mixes for busy gardens and beautiful lawns

Jane Hoskyn
27 May 2021
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The best lawns start with the best grass seed. We reveal our favourite seed mixes for growing your own lush green carpet

If you want to create a fabulous lawn you've got two main options: buy turf (which is expensive) or sow grass seed (which is not). Grass seed is also widely available in more varieties, giving you the freedom to create the kind of lawn you want.

The best grass seed products are a mix of varieties, balanced to meet certain needs and thrive in particular conditions. For example, there are mixes tailored to growing quickly in the UK climate, and others formulated to create the greenest lawn in your street.

In a moment, we'll reveal the best grass seed mixes available. First, here's how to choose the right seeds for your garden, or football pitch, or croquet lawn, or for re-grassing those muddy patches you've been meaning to sort out for years.

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Best grass seed: At a glance


How to choose the perfect grass seed for you

How much will I need to spend?

Good grass seed costs between £10 and £15 per kilo, and covers an average of 30 square metres (or about 50sqm if you're reseeding an existing lawn). Coverage and price vary, so we've given details of both for each seed in our rundown.

Don't get carried away and buy 5kg when you're just planting a small front lawn. Too much seed causes overcrowding, which leads to bald patches.

Even the priciest grass seed costs significantly less than buying rolls of turf, but it does require more patience and work to create a lawn from seed than from turf.

What is grass seed made from?

That's not a silly question, honest. All the products in our line-up are seed mixes, made up of different grass varieties that each have their pros and cons.

To see which varieties each mix contains, check the 'Key specs' under each bite-sized review below. We've listed the main ingredient first, food label-style.

Three varieties turn up most often in grass seed mixes:

Ryegrass is the most common type of grass seed. It's coarse, versatile, hard-wearing and fast to grow. Technically speaking it's a 'bunch grass', which means it's a cool-season grass that thrives in most soil types and conditions.

Fescue is also hardy and versatile but a little finer than ryegrass, so it's softer beneath your feet and creates a thicker look. It's also good at growing in the shade, unlike most other grass varieties. Its main downside is that it needs warm soil to germinate, so it won't grow if sown in cooler months.

Bentgrass is a fine ornamental grass that can be mown very short for a beautiful velvety lawn. It's rather high-maintenance, so it's usually mixed with fescue to make the lawn harder-wearing and weed-resistant. Many all-purpose grass seed mixes include a dash of bentgrass to soften the overall look of your lawn.

What grass seed mix is best for me and my garden?

That mainly depends on how you use your lawn and the amount of work you want to put in.

Football pitch vs posh lawn: If your lawn needs to withstand endless close encounters with kids, pets and BBQ guests, then go for a predominantly ryegrass mix. But if you want a smooth ornamental lawn, avoid ryegrass completely and go for bentgrass, with some fescue in the mix to help it survive underfoot.

Sun vs shade: Most types of grass prefer full sun, but fescue is a shade specialist (and will also grow in sunny spots). A ryegrass/fescue mix is the most reliable choice if your garden has shady bits.

Mowing height: Fine ornamental grass can and should be mowed quite close – as low as 1cm. Coarse ryegrass performs better if you let it grow a little more – up to 4cm. That said, any type of newly-sown grass should be left to grow up to around 7cm before you cut it for the first time.

Weeds: Coarse grass is good at competing with weeds, but fine grass isn't. So, if you have a soft bentgrass lawn you'll have to work harder to keep weeds at bay.

Soil type: Most UK soil is loam, sand and/or clay. Loam is best for grass because it drains better than clay but holds moisture better than sand. Fescue grasses fare OK in clay-heavy soil, while finer grasses can thrive in sandy soil. To check what type of soil you've got, do the jam jar trick.

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The best grass seed to buy

1. Sprogs & Dogs: The best hardwearing grass seed for busy lawns

Price: £15 for 1kg | Buy now from Amazon

This mix of dwarf ryegrass and creeping red fescue has been developed over a decade by Lawn UK to create a thick, "sports strength" turf for lawns that regularly double as football pitches, dog playgrounds and shortcuts to the garage.

The seeds are fairly quick to germinate, especially if you plant them in spring or autumn, with users reporting a "lush green lawn" eight weeks after planting. Long-term user reviews are ecstatic, reporting that the grass grows back well after snowy winters and summer heatwaves. It's low-maintenance and thrives between mowing.

For one of the cheapest seed mixes in our rundown, Sprogs & Dogs is a clear all-round winner. The only downside is that birds love it, so invest in some netting while your lawn takes root.

Key specs – Seed types: Dwarf ryegrass, creeping red fescue; When to sow: Spring or autumn; Mowing height: Up to 4cm; 1kg covers: Around 30m²


2. GBW Grass Seed: The best fast-growing grass seed

Price: £12 for 1kg | Buy now from Amazon

A perennial bestseller in Amazon's Garden & Outdoors category, this DEFRA-certified grass mixture is designed to grow fast in the UK climate.

We gave these seeds a try and found they worked best after being soaked overnight, then planted in holes in well-prepared ground rather than being chucked on top. We saw shoots within three days of planting in early September. Longer-term users report seeing a full lawn within a month and receiving excellent customer service.

Impressively, GBW emailed us sowing and growing instructions before our seed bag arrived, and we didn't have to avail ourselves of its promise of a full refund if we weren't happy.

Key specs – Seed types: Dwarf ryegrass, creeping red fescue, bentgrass; When to sow: Spring/autumn; Mowing height: 1.2cm; 1kg covers: 35m² (new lawn), 55m² (existing lawn)

3. Germinal A26 So Green: The best grass seed for a green lawn all year round

Price: £12 for 500g | Buy now from Germinal

Usually, you have to choose between a great-looking lawn and a hard-wearing one, but this unique blend is tough and striking.

The secret is in the colour. Germinal is so confident about the world-beating hue of its So Green grass, which uses specially-cultivated Abernile ryegrass, that it planted the stuff on the side of a house for its product photo (above). Yep, that sure is green. And it promises to stay green all year round.

According to long-term users it really does work, maintaining a dark green colour even during droughts. It's pricey (although still cheaper than buying turf), but it is a reliable grass that gardeners say is particularly good at resisting disease.

Key specs – Seed types: Abernile perennial ryegrass, fescue, bentgrass; When to sow: Spring/autumn; Mowing height: Optimum 2.5cm; 500g covers: 14m²

Buy now from Germinal


4. The Grass People Steadfast Ultra Shade: The best grass seed for shaded areas

Price: £46 for 2kg | Buy now from The Grass People

Steadfast Ultra Shade is one of The Grass People's more expensive mixes, at £23 per kilo, but it really does reach the parts other grass seeds can't.

It contains unusual grass varieties cultivated for areas that never get direct sun, such as under trees or below fences in built-up areas. Ingredients include smooth-stalked meadowgrass ('poa pratensis'), a deep-rooted grass that's great at surviving drought and cold, and a super-strong variety of bluegrass ('poa supina') that thrives in shade. If this stuff doesn't grow under your tree, nothing will.

The main downsides are that it's slow to establish, and the ryegrass-free mix requires warmer temperatures to germinate. Sow it in spring and you should see a healthy growth in early summer.

Key specs – Seed types: Smooth-stalked meadowgrass, chewings fescue, supina bluegrass; When to sow: May-September; Mowing height: Around 2cm; 1kg covers: 20m²

5. GroundMaster General Purpose: The best grass seed for overseeding and fixing patches

Price: £11 for 1kg | Buy now from Amazon

This ryegrass-fescue seed mix has been cultivated to germinate in difficult weather or terrain conditions, as long as you water it every night. You won't need to do much ground preparation: just sprinkle it on your lawn's patches and cover with netting (it’s very tasty, according to our local feathered friends).

Some users report slow germination ("don't panic, it took a good month") but this mix creates a lovely dark green grass if you're patient. The main drawback is the dark green may contrast with your existing lawn if you're patching.

Key specs – Seed types: Perennial ryegrass, creeping red fescue; When to sow: Year round but ideally during warm humid weather; Mowing height: Up to 4cm; 1kg covers: 30m²

6. The Grass People Superstar Back Lawn: Great low-maintenance grass for gardens

Price: £19 for 2kg | Buy now from The Grass People

This great value all-purpose seed mix is similar to Sprogs & Dogs but in our experience was a little slower to germinate. Plant the seeds in humid weather in April for best results.

With patience you'll get a lovely low-maintenance lawn that's happy to grow to 4cm or more before you need to get the mower out. And if you need proof that it's hard-wearing enough to withstand lots of heavy trampling, it's undergone extensive testing by third-party researchers including the Sports Turf Research Institute.

Key specs – Seed types: Perennial ryegrass; creeping red fescue; When to sow: Wet humid weather, ideally April; Mowing height: Up to 4cm; 1kg covers: 20m²


7. Lawnsmith Ornamental Grass Seed: The best grass seed for a perfect-looking lawn

Price: £25 for 2kg | Buy now from Lawnsmith

There's no ryegrass in this seed mix, just bentgrass and a couple of fescue varieties. The result is a beautifully fine, dense lawn that looks like a glorious green carpet, although it needs regular close mowing to look its best. And perhaps a 'Keep off the grass' sign or three.

The seeds germinate quickly, with initial shoots appearing in days, but growth rate is slow and you'll need to be very vigilant about weeds. As with most fine grasses, Lawnsmith's ornamental mix thrives best in sandy (free-draining) acidic soil.

Key specs – Contains grass types: Chewings fescue, red fescue, bentgrass; When to sow: Spring/autumn; Mowing height: 1-2cm; 1kg covers: 20m²

Buy now from Lawnsmith

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