Few images speak of an idyllic afternoon than a perfectly manicured lawn. Velvety soft, vividly green, the quintessential lawn is a masterpiece of horticulture.
At least, that’s the case in the storybooks.
In real life, lawns have to be the kind of characters that can withstand a battering.
In the summer, they bake. In the winter, they freeze. On an average day, lawns are trampled by humans and stained by pets.
A lawn has to double up as a football pitch, is crushed by stilettoes, is burned by BBQs. A lawn has to do battle with moss and weeds, and is expected to thrive, even when massacred by a wonky lawn-mower. For help with those troublesome weeds, see our guide on the best weed killer.
It’s no surprise that every year, thousands of us flock to garden centres to purchase a fountain of youth for our lawns: lawn seed.
This review looks at some of the most popular products on the market, the best grass seed UK, and offers a brief buyer’s guide that will have you up-to-date on lawn horticulture in minutes.
The image of the perfect lawn may be one of very fine, neatly-trimmed grass, but the reality is that grass seed produces a variety of different lawn types.
In the UK, naturally occurring grass seeds tend to be very hardy. They have to be. Grass has to have strong enough roots and broad enough leaves to cope with the onslaught of winter. Most seed mixes therefore use a combination of Ryegrass and Red Fescue. These are hardy and native, and result in what many consider to be the best grass seed mix.
When working with Ryegrass and Red Fescue, don’t expect a picture-postcard lawn. The purpose of these seed mixes is to produce grass that you can seed and immediately forget about. The grass will be lush, hardy, and resilient.
If you’re after a Bowling Green level of finesse, two products are included in this list. Just be aware that there is a big difference between the hardiness of an everyday Ryegrass-Fescue lawn, and a sugary soft fine variety.
The best time to grow grass seed is either in the spring or early autumn. Grass seed typically takes two weeks to germinate, and during this time you don’t want it to be too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold. Therefore, the best time to plant grass seed is when you can guarantee a short stretch of predictable, easy weather.
Growing grass is easy, but takes a little care. The seeds need to be watered every morning and evening, and if the weather is particularly dry it’s a good idea to cover them with a layer of compost. This adds nutrients whilst keeping everything moist.
The good news about growing grass is that once the seeds have taken hold, the rest takes care of itself. British varieties have very dense root systems, and the result is that most lawns protect and feed themselves.
However, each sack of lawn seed offers a slightly different combination of perks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Or, as we’ve done here, have someone do your homework for you. Do you want to see the best rated grass seed of the year? Read on!
What’s the Best Grass Seed in the UK?
Some lawns take a lifetime to create. They emerge as perfectly manicured lawn, the type that should never be walked upon.
Then there are emergency lawns. These are found in the grasslands of public gardens, areas where children play, and where people are rapidly trying to get a patchy lawn into shape before the visitors arrive.
EverGreen Extreme Green has precisely the latter in mind. Using a special Headstart Gold coating, which prevents key nutrients from being washed away into the soil, this grass seed promises results in as few as three days. The grass quickly forms very strong ryegrass roots, meaning that once it has germinated it will remain steady no matter how much use it gets.
It also breaks with some of the golden rules. The best time to sow grass seed is usually spring and autumn, but these seeds can be used throughout the summer too.
Crucial to enabling these fast-growing rye grasses to work is to monitor the watering closely. Rye needs to remain constantly moist during the germination process, and the seeds themselves need to be fresh. Attempting to grow a lawn from expired seeds will not work, so make sure that you use the lawn seed promptly for best results. Once rye has got going, it’s one of the hardiest grasses around.Check Price Now
Following a popular trend amongst developers, this lawn seed mixes four different types of grass seed. The benefit of this approach is that different types of seed will favour different soil combinations, meaning that there is a higher chance of gaining good lawn coverage. The mix includes Dwarf Amenity Ryegrass, Creeping Red Fescue, Chewings Fescue, and Brown Top Bent. Each of these are hardy, and are specifically adapted to the UK climate.
Due to this hardiness, the GBW grass seed mix is a good seed for covering large areas, damaged lawns, or lawns with complex interplay of light and shadow. One bag of lawn seed can cover 380 square feet of new lawn, or 600 square feet of existing lawns, a fact that GBW is keen to show off. This gives it much greater cover than the average, and makes it ideal for completely reseeding large spaces.
The GBW seed won’t provide you with the very fine, delicate grass such as might be found on a bowling green. Instead, this turf seed is about achieving a thick, hardy, healthy lawn. Fast acting and resilient, this seed can turn a brown lawn green in as little as two weeks. The roots are deep and strong, perfectly bred to withstand even the harshest of winters. Easy to use, and with excellent results, GBW has earned itself the title of best grass seed uk.Check Price Now
Breaking with the mould of traditional lawn seed, Gro-Sure has developed special coating to protect the seeds and increase the rate of successful germination. Aqua Gel keeps the seed moist, taking on some of the responsibility for accurate water measurement. A blue coating discourages feeding by birds and other wildlife, whilst also making the seeds easily visible for gardeners. The increases the chances of sowing an even, neat lawn.
Gro-Sure Aqua Gel utilises a popular mixture of Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass and Red Fescue for a sturdy, reliable, winter-proof lawn. The Aqua Gel approach is new to the market, but early indications show that this product has the promise to earn a title of best lawn seed.Check Price Now
With many of the most popular seed mixes focusing upon hardly, resilient lawns, it’s time that a more traditional lawn made the best grass seed list. Enter Gro-Sure Finest Grade. This has been developed to achieve the quintessential ideal of a very fine, light, but dense lawn coverage. Think cricket pitches, bowling greens, and afternoon tea, and you’re picturing a Gro-Sure Finest Grain lawn.
Fine lawns are not necessarily weaker than their sturdier counterparts. Fine grasses do not particularly enjoy being trodden on, but they are primed to survive parched summers and bitter winters.
Like other Gro-Sure products, these seeds feature bird deterrents that increase the chances of successful germination. One 900g box will cover around 30 m2, and quick germination means that you should start to see results in 7-10 days.Check Price Now
A popular mix of Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass, Strong Creeping Red Fescue, and Chewings Fescue, this hard-wearing lawn seed has one agenda: to create a lush, lard-wearing lawn. The deep green of the Red Fescue injects this seed mix with an aura of health and longevity, meaning that results are sturdy, hardy, and vividly coloured.
The A1 mix is ideal for lawn areas that require hard-wearing grass. This seed will do well in places where people are likely to walk, or where children and pets often play, as the strong root systems and robust Dwarf Ryegrass leaves offer a good defence against breakage. With 35g covering a meter squared of barren soil, the A1 mix offers excellent spread per kg.Check Price Now
The aim of achieving a hardy lawn is a major selling point. Of the available seeds in 2020, the top of the charts are dominated by brands that claim to offer tough, reliable, resilient coverage.
Gardener’s Dream takes that agenda to an extra level. This seed mix comprises 70% Lolium Perrennial Rye Grass and 30% Strong Creeping Red Fescue. The rye is a formidable British native, the natural habitat of which is sweeping coastal grasslands. It’s also a fast grower that will hunt out nutrients in the soil and produce smooth, flat, glossy green leaves. The end result is a lawn that demands regular mowing, but which can easily withstand whatever the weather throws at it.
A special quality of this seed is that it thrives in dark, dank, unpopular areas of soil. With enough watering, it will thrive in the shadow of trees or in a dark garden corner, enabling even the most challenging of lawns to be converted into smooth green pasture.Check Price Now
Few adjectives sum up the perfect lawn like ‘velvety’. Barenbrug UK are unashamed in their claim. They are about creating traditional, ornamental, perfect, velvet lawns. They base this claim on over 100 years of experience. Drawing upon historic seeds and a philosophy that the key to a good lawn is the density of very fine leaves, this grass is smooth and silky.
A particular bonus with this seed is that whilst the grass looks ornamental, it is surprisingly tough. By adopting a density approach, Barenbrug has created a blend that is able to out-grow moss and weeds. The price for this is that during the early weeks the seeds demand regular watering. However, once established, this is a strong grain that represents the best lawn seed for achieving the iconic British lawn.Check Price Now
Sold in 5kg bulk that offers 200 square metre coverage, Decco Johnson’s Quick Lawn promises to tick several boxes. It aims for high wear tolerance, rich coverage, fine leaves, and rapid growth. Too good to be true? Not according to the brand’s devoted fans, who describe the product as “idiot proof”.
Decco Johnson credit their success to a use of high quality seeds combined with their unique Gromax dressing. This pumps the seed full of nutrients, allowing them to quickly flourish. The seeds themselves are Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass and Creeping Red Fescue, with the addition of an unusual blend of meadow grass. The result is a hardy, sturdy, resilient seed blend that combines the best seed to produce grass with exceptional wear tolerance.Check Price Now
It’s tempting to look at this list and try to pick an overall best lawn seed. The truth is that that’s not possible. The best grass seed depends upon your garden or community area, and your own needs and preferences. However, there are a few lessons that can be learned.
Firstly, for quick growing hardy lawns that are designed with toughness in mind, go for a Ryegrass and Creeping Red Fescue mix. This will give you good, reliable coverage and a vibrant green tone with minimal effort. Be prepared to wait up to two weeks to see results, but take confidence from the fact that these grasses love to grow, and will reward your effort with a resilient garden.
Secondly, if you want to be the envy of your neighbours and achieve the iconic croquet lawn, there are popular choices available. These products have stood the test of time, especially in the case of Barenburg, and can enable you to achieve a lawn to be proud of. However, be sure to follow the instructions and check the dates as these seeds don’t like to languish in a cupboard for too long before they are used.
A lawn can enhance any home, and can make the outdoors more enjoyable. The products in the growing season show that this is a market of sturdy, reliable choice. So if you have a bald patch or problem area in your garden, or if you simply want an overhaul, now is a great time to break out the grass seed.