The problem is that there are hundreds of grass seed products on the market. With different companies supplying different mixes, choosing one can be pretty confusing.
So which grass seed is best?
Well, dear reader, the answer is, ‘it depends’.
The best seed for my lawn might not be the best for yours. A lot depends on;
- Soil type
- How much shade covers your lawn, and
- Whether you want an ornamental lawn, a soft surface for the kids to wrestle on, or the best of both worlds
The good news is that I’ve spent my whole career working with, testing and using grass seed. So that puts me in a unique position to help you choose.
So in this article, I’ll show you 8 grass seed products I use all the time. I’ll also help you choose the best seed for you and your lawn.
Best Lawn Seed: My 8 Top Picks
If all you want to know is what the best grass seed is, here are my top picks.
There are lots of brands and products out there. Some of which are brilliant. That said, you’ll notice that I keep referring to 3 main brands;
- The Grass People, and
- A1 Lawn
This because they provide quality products in pack sizes (and so, prices) for domestic application.
Best For Most Family Lawns
Rolawn Medallion contains a mixture of fine fescue grasses and harder-wearing ryegrass. It creates an epic looking lawn that’ll stand up to moderate wear.
A1 Lawn Premiership Pro
Very Quick to Germinate
Premiership Pro from A1 Lawn is quick to germinate and stands up to very hard wear. This is why many of the UK’s finest football clubs use it on their pitches.
GBW Grass Seed
A Very Popular Choice
GBW grass seed is very popular and well-reviewed by users. It’s not expensive either. It’s tailored for the UK climate and perfect for general purpose lawns.
Clay Master Lawn Seed
Perfect For Clay Soils
For lawns that grow in heavy clay soil, The Grass People’s Clay Master lawn seed is fantastic. It’s quick to germinate, grows well and looks fantastic when it’s established.
The Grass People Thrive
Best For Sandy Soils
Very sandy soils can also be a ball ache to grow grass in. The Grass Pople’s Thrive lawn seed mix is drought tolerant and able to stay healthy in low nutrient soils.
Rolawn Minster Pro
Best For Ornamental Lawns
For a formal lawn, Rolawn’s Minster Pro is brilliant. It uses two species of fescue grass which cope well with close mowing for a putting green finish.
A1 Lawn Am Pro 1
A Cheaper Formal Lawn Seed
Cheaper than Rolawn’s Minster Pro but still creates a pretty epic formal lawn. Contains slow-growing fescues and browntop bents that look awesome when cut short.
The Grass People Shady
Best For Shady Lawns
If shade covers your lawn for most of the day, then The Grass People Steadfast a the perfect choice. It copes well where direct sunlight is an issue but it still looks fantastic.
How to Choose the Best Grass Seed For Your Lawn
Choosing the right grass seed for your lawn ain’t rocket science. That said, to help you choose the best product for you, consider the following;
1. How You’ll Use Your Lawn
- If you want a lawn the family can use while still looking awesome, go for Rolawn Medallion. It tolerates closer mowing for a more formal finish but it’ll also stand up to wear. It also looks good if you like to keep your grass a little longer.
- If your kids use the lawn as a football pitch then A1 Lawn Premiership Pro is the boll!*cks! It’s super hard-wearing and thanks to advances in technology, it’s quick to germinate. It looks good too! GBW Grass Seed is also a good choice.
- For ornamental lawns, choose either Rolawn Minster Pro or A1 Lawn Am Pro-1. Both will get you awesome results. Minster Pro contain only two types of grass, which for some reason, affects the price. A1 Lawn’s offering is quite a bit cheaper but still looks pretty epic.
2. The Environment Your Lawn Lives In
There are two main environmental factors to consider;
I don’t want to get all technical on yo’ ass but do you know what type of soil your lawn grows on?
Is it loam, sand or clay-based?
What about the pH of the soil?
Sowing grass seed in clay-based soil can sometimes be tricky. It compacts and is prone to waterlogging, which is a pain in the ass. That said, The Grass People’s Impress Clay Master seed is brilliant.
The Amount of Shade
Most grass seed will cope well in partial shade as long as it gets a couple of hours of sunlight during the day.
But if your lawn sits in shade for most of the day, you’ll need a grass seed that’ll cope well in it. In which case, The Grass People’s Steadfast is fantastic. It creates a shade tolerant lawn that looks pretty phenomenal.
3. Your Budget
Although it’s not as expensive as turf, grass seed still isn’t cheap – especially when you have a large area to cover. Use my grass seed calculator to work out how much you need so you don’t buy too much or too little.
That said, it’s best not to sacrifice quality for price. Cheap grass seed often comes riddled with weed seeds. You’ll not even realise until you’ve sown it and all the weeds start germinating. Then you’ll be pretty pissed off!
Grass Seed Reviews: A Detailed Look at My Top Picks
Don’t whip your credit card out yet. Have a read through my reviews first.
As I’ve said, there are hundreds of lawn seed products on the market. Some of which are fantastic. So you don’t have to buy any of my recommendations. Shop around and see which products offer the best value for money.
1. Rolawn Medallion Lawn Seed Review: The Best For Most Family Lawns
If you want a lawn that’ll cope with moderate wear and still look epic, Rolawn Medallion is one of my favourites. In fact, my lawns are grown from this very seed!
Rolawn is one of the biggest names in the UK turf and lawn industry. They’re the official suppliers to the Royal Horticultural Society. They’re often featured on Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden on ITV. And they support BBC’s Gardeners World Live.
Their seed blend contains;
- 25% Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass
- 45% Strong Creeping Red Fescue
- 30% Slender Creeping Red Fescue
The ryegrass content is what gives your lawn its ability to cope with wear. The fescues create a smart, luxury look and feel.
It’s quick to germinate, grows well and tolerates close mowing if you like a more ornamental look. It also looks nice when you let it grow a little longer, which I recommend if your family uses your lawn often.
2. A1 Lawn Premiership Pro Review: Fast Germination & Very Hard Wearing
A1 Lawn provides very high-quality grass seed. One of which their Am Pro-24 Premiership Pro.
It’s ideal for busy lawns that get used as a football or have kids and pets running all over it (how very dare they!)
It contains the following grass species;
- 40% Tetraploid Dwarf Amenity Ryegrass (Double)
- 40% Dwarf Amenity Ryegrass (Troya)
- 20% Dwarf Amenity Ryegrass (Stravinsky)
The reason it’s so good is thanks to developments in selective breeding of grass types. Regular grasses grow a single root system whereas Tetraploid ryegrass grows four. This makes it super quick to geminate and enables it to cope with heavy wear.
In fact, many premier league football clubs use this type of grass seed on their pitches. That’s how good this stuff is.
And not only will it cope with a battering, but it also looks awesome when it’s looked after. I mean, you’ve seen how good football pitches look, right?
3. GBW Grass Seed Review: Popular and Very Well Reviewed
GBW grass seed is a very popular choice with buyers on Amazon. It’s very well-reviewed too.
It’s perfect if you have a small lawn or you’re on a budget. In fact, you can buy 3kg of this seed for around the same price you’d pay for 1kg of the Rolawn Medallion.
That doesn’t mean it’s crap though!
- 43% Dwarf Amenity Ryegrass
- 40% Creeping Red Fescue
- 12% Chewings Fescue
- 5% Brown Top Bent
This makes it ideal for our rather unpredictable climate and it copes well in partial shade.
It’s quick to establish and it creates a very good looking general-purpose lawn.
4. The Grass People Impress Clay Master Review: The Best For Clay Soils
Growing and maintaining a healthy lawn on heavy clay soil can be a ball ache. There’s no other way to put it.
It can waterlog in the wet and dry out and crack in the dry.
So what’s a clay lawn owner to do?
Well, The Grass People have developed a seed blend called Impress Clay Master. Which not only grows well in clay soil, but it also looks pretty damn nice too!
- 50% Perennial Ryegrass which is quick to germinate
- 45% Tall Fescue which develops deep, strong roots and has phenomenal drought tolerance
- 5% Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass which grows well in nutrient-deficient soils
If you struggle with clay soil, use this seed.
5. The Grass People Thrive Review: Best For Sandy Soils
Growing a lawn in sandy soil can be a pain in the grass.
Because sandy soils are so free-draining, they don’t hold on to water or nutrients. This means the suffer from drought conditions and lack of nutrients.
That said, The Grass People have stepped up yet again with their Thrive Sandy Soil grass seed.
It contains a blend of;
- 40% Chewings Fescue
- 35% Sheeps Fescue
- 25% Strong Creeping Red Fescue
These grass types all grow strong root systems, even in dry, nutrient-deficient soils. They’re slow to grow but once they get going, they’ll create a nice, lush lawn.
6. Rolawn Minster Pro Review: Best For Ornamental Lawns
For the dedicated who only a formal, bowling green lawn will do, Rolawn’s Minster Pro is the business!
It ain’t cheap though at almost thirty quid for a 1kg box but the end result is one of beauty.
It only contains fescue grasses which include;
- 50% Slender Creeping Red Fescue
- 50% Chewings Fescue
Both of these are fine, slow-growing grasses which tolerate close mowing.
Minster Pro also tolerate dry and shade conditions as well as salt which makes it good for coastal areas.
Because it’s slow to grow, germination can take longer than other products on this list. But trust me, the results are worth the wait!
7. A1 Lawn AM Pro-1 Review: A Cheaper, Yet Very Nice Alternative to Minster Pro
If you want a formal lawn but you don’t fancy forking out 30 quid a kilo for Rolawn’s seed, then A1 Lawn’s Am Pro-1 is awesome.
In fact, you get a 5-kilo bag of seed for not a lot more than you’d pay for 1 kilo of the Rolawn. So from a cost perspective, this is the product to choose, especially if you have large lawns.
Now you might think that because it almost 5 times cheaper, it’s not as good. But believe me, it contains the right grasses to create a stunner of a lawn;
- 80% Chewings Fescue
- 20% Brown Top Bent
Both grass types are perfect for close mowing which is why greenkeepers use them on golf courses.
Again, these grasses are slow to germinate and grow. Once they get going though, your lawn will be the envy of all your neighbours.
8. The Grass People Steadfast Review: The Best For Shady Lawns
If shade covers your lawn for most of the day, getting your lawn to be a thing of beauty can be an uphill battle.
But The Grass People strike again with their Steadfast Shady Lawn Seed. It contains a mix of grasses which when sewn together creates beautiful lawns. Even in the heaviest shade.
There’s quite a list too!
- 45% Strong Creeping Red Fescue
- 20% Perennial Ryegrass
- 15% Chewings Fescue
- 10% Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass
- 10% Sheeps Fescue
And not only do these grasses grow well in the shade, but they create some of the most stunning lawns I’ve ever seen.
You’ll want to mow a little higher, around 40mm-50mm. You might also have to overseed once or twice a year to keep your lawn looking mint. But trust me, your lawn will be a beauty!
A Word About ‘Quality’ Grass Seed
People often ask me, ‘Daniel, what’s the best quality grass seed?’
The answer is that there is no ‘best quality’ grass seed. A grass seed is a grass seed. It’ll germinate and grow like any other, given the right conditions.
When we talk about quality, we mean the purity of the seed blend.
So if a grass seed blend claims to contain;
- 25% Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass
- 45% Strong Creeping Red Fescue
- 30% Slender Creeping Red Fescue
Then it should only contain those grass species. Nothing else.
EU law states that grass seed mixes should be at least 70% – 80% pure. Which, is pretty awful as that leaves 20% – 30% of potential contamination. Either by other grasses, weeds and/or weed grasses.
Grass seed is sold by weight. This means a 10kg pack of seed could contain 2kg – 3kg of weed seeds and other contaminants.
The worst grass seed suppliers will only ever meet those standards. I would never use or recommend them.
Suppliers of the top quality grass seed meet the HVS (higher voluntary standards) of 96.5% purity.
This is a standard set by Seed Marketing Regulations Act 2011.
In this case, a 10kg pack of seed would only contain 350g of contaminants.
All the suppliers and products I recommended are;
- Registered with DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
- Meet the Higher Voluntary Standards and/or
- The Sports Turf Research Institute
So What About Negative Reviews on the Internet?
If the grass seed I recommend ar so good, why are there negative reviews on Amazon or Google?
Some say the seed didn’t germinate, others claim the grass seed is full of weed seeds.
So why is this?
I’d bet my left testicle the problems these people have experienced is down to the user.
Lets address each issue;
Failure to Germinate
The most common complaint about grass seed is that it doesn’t germinate.
In almost all cases, this happens for one or both of two reasons. The user either;
- Didn’t choose the right seed for the job: For example, using a seed that needs full sun on a shaded lawn. Or using a formal seed blend on clay soil. You need to choose the right seed for the environment and conditions.
- Sowed the seed at the wrong time: The dates on negative reviews often tell you all you need to know. You often see reviews left when the weather has been baking hot. Of course, grass seed won’t germinate. You can’t keep it damp or cool enough for long enough. People also sow seed when it’s cold and wet. Again, grass seed won’t germinate in these conditions either.
Full of Weeds
Another common complaint.
No grass seed is 100% weed-free. It’s impossible to guarantee that. The main reason people find their new lawns riddled with weeds is poor preparation.
When creating a new lawn, kill off the area with a glyphosate-based weedkiller first. This will kill weeds and their seeds. If you don’t, weeds seeds that have lay dormant in the soil will germinate once they’re close to the surface.
Also, if you add topsoil to the area, you need to make sure it’s sterile. If not, it could be full of weed seeds and you’ll never know. You’ll blame the grass seed instead.
To Sum Up
As I said at the start of this article, the best lawns start with the best grass seed.
And the best seed for your lawn is the one that works for;
- Your lifestyle, and
- The environment your lawn lives in
Use the right seed and your lawn will look fantastic and be easy to look after. Pick the wrong seed and getting it to even germinate could be a bast!*d!
I hope this article has helped you choose the best lawn seed for your garden.