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The Best Grass Seed For the UK

A Look at the Best Grass Seed Mixes Created Specifically for the UK

By the team at DIY Gardening

Welcome to another entry in our popular Lawn Care Guide.

If you want to grow a healthy, green, hard-wearing lawn in the UK, then you’ll need to choose the best grass seed based on:

  • The condition of the soil in your garden.
  • How much sunlight your garden gets (often not much in the UK!).
  • How much wear and tear you expect it to receive.

Back in 2019, we set ourselves the task of growing a lawn from grass seed in a shady area of the garden, and the results exceeded our expectation.

But not all gardens are the same, and neither are grass seeds.

So whether you want a hard-wearing lawn or one that flourishes in the shade, check our guide to the best grass seed UK:

Before and After Photos

Here’s a couple of before and after photos of one part of our garden.

The soil was very compact, and the garden had drainage issues. There was also minimal amounts of sunlight reaching the garden. We still managed to achieve a good lawn by choosing the best grass seed:

Sept 2019:

Garden in shade

April 2020:

Lawn in shade

The Best Grass Seed For UK Gardens

While we’ve listed the best grass seeds (i.e. grass varieties) for UK gardens at the end of this article in the FAQs section, we recommend these products as they contain blends for specific gardens:

Best grass seed for the UK

1) Graminex Best Seed For shade:

  • Integrated seeder on box for easy spreading.
  • Forest Stewardship Council certificate.
  • Specifically for shaded areas of the garden.
  • Tested by DIY Gardening (mixed with A1 Lawn Seed)
A1 lawn seed for shaded UK gardens

2) A1 Lawn Seed For Shaded UK Gardens:

  • Our second choice for shaded gardens (we tested this along with Graminex)
  • Defra approved.
  • Large bags (5kg up to 25kg) but no spreader.
  • 7 different grass varieties are included
GroundMaster best grass seed

3) GroundMaster Hard Wearing:

  • Large bag quantities.
  • 3 grass varieties with 70% perennial grass.
  • Perfect for high traffic lawns – pets, children etc.
  • Well over 1000 reviews online.
Speedy Seed

4) Speedy Seed:

  • A selection of the fasted germinating grass seeds.
  • Specifically chosen seeds for the UK.
  • Overseed or lay a new lawn.
  • Expect growth within 7 days – perfect for situations where you need to tidy up the lawn quickly.
Plantworks Grass Seed

5) Rootgrow Grass Seed:

  • Endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Contains Mycorrhiza Fungi which encourages strong roots.
  • Stronger roots can pull up more nutrients leading to strong grass.
  • Only the best grass seed (UK)  and from the most recent season is included.

1) Graminex UK Grass Seeds For Shade: 

Graminex grass seed spreader

Overview

The golden rule for sowing grass seed is to not rely on just one product.

To improve the chances of successful germination, one should use two different products. 

In September 2019, we used a mix of 50% Graminex and 50% A1 Lawn Seed and the results exceeded our expectations. Within a few weeks, we had plenty of tender grass blades growing through the topsoil. The grass coped very well with the cold winter, and only a small patch under the window needed a light reseeding in April 2020.

Based on our experience, the team here at DIY Gardening is happy to recommend Graminex grass seeds for shaded UK Gardens.

Pros

  • Built-in spreader for accurate seed spacing.
  • Positive reviews online.
  • Germinated well when we sowed this brand (Sept 2020).
  • Ideal for shaded areas of the garden.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest grass seed we’ve seen.
  • Small box size makes this ideal for small gardens but impractical for large areas.

2) A1 Lawn Seeds For Shady Areas:

A1 Lawn Seed

Overview

Despite its bland and forgettable name, A1 Lawns’ grass seed caught our attention due to the number of good reviews online, the size of the bags and the number of different grass varieties in each package.

This grass seed is explicitly blended for shaded areas of the garden and comprises seven different types of grass, many of which have been recommended by the RHS:

  • 20% Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass
  • 35% Strong Creeping Red Fescue
  • 15% Slender Creeping Red Fescue
  • 15% Sheeps Fescue
  • 10% Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass
  • 3% Browntop Bent
  • 2% Wood Meadow Grass

With so many different varieties of grass, germination is guaranteed, and you’re far more likely to achieve a thick, lush lawn even if the growing conditions are less than ideal.

You can choose from 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg and 25kg bags, so whatever size garden you have, A1 Lawns have a solution for you.

We mixed A1 Lawns’ seeds with Graminex and achieved excellent results, you can see before and after photos on our guide to growing grass seed in shaded areas.

Pros

  • 7 different varieties of grass help to improve the lawn even in varying conditions.
  • Product sizes from 5kg up to 25kg.
  • Very good value on a per kg basis.
  • Great reviews online.
  • Worked for us and we used leftover seed for patch repairs through the summer.

Cons

  • No spreader so you have to either buy one or use your hands the old fashioned way.

3) GroundMaster Hard Wearing:

GroundMaster Pro UK grass seed

Overview

Containing over 70% perennial ryegrass, this blend of grass seed is explicitly formulated by experts for UK gardens.

Ryegrass copes well under foot traffic and resists winter damage easily; it’s the ultimate cool-weather grass seed.

Ryegrass can be sowed on its own but often used as a companion grass with other varieties.

GroundMaster has added 30% red creeping fescue to the ryegrass.

As the name suggests, this is a creeping variety which helps to cover bare patches with a dense, hard-wearing cover.

Perennial ryegrass is an excellent match for creeping red fescue, and they are often found together in the best UK grass seed mixes.

GroundMaster sell bags in 1kg and 5kg quantities with discounts for bulk purchases.

Pros

  • Competitive prices per kilo.
  • Created specifically to be hard-wearing and contains 70% of tough perennial ryegrass.
  • Over 1000 positive reviews online.
  • Perennial ryegrass performs well in winter and resists cold weather damage. 

Cons

  • Perennial ryegrass is a thirsty variety and requires more watering.
  • A fast grower, this type of grass needs more frequent cutting.
  • There’s no spreader, so you’ll need to buy one or use your hands to spread the seed.

4) Speedy Seed:

Speedy Seed fast growing UK grass seeds

Overview

Speedy Seed is a unique product in that 50% of the grass seed is annual. That means half the grass will die off within one year.

If you’re a little confused as to why anyone would want to grow a lawn for just one year, let me explain.

Annual grass germinates and grows incredibly quickly. In right weather conditions, you can expect an established lawn in a matter of weeks, not months. It’s the perfect grass for anyone who needs a lawn fast.

Speedy Seed has added 50% perennial grass which grows more slowly but doesn’t die off at the end of the year.

By combining the two, the gardener gets the best of both worlds; a lawn in a matter of weeks and enough perennial grass to keep the lawn going year after year.

If you need a lawn quickly, or you want to patch repair dead areas in a hurry, try Speedy Seed.

Given that 50% of the grass will only last a year, we suggest overseeding the lawn with a good sprinkling of regular perennial grass seed once it’s established. This will prevent the lawn from thinning out when the annual variety dies off.

Pros

  • Very fast germination, sometimes in a matter of days.
  • Established lawn within a few weeks, this grass grows incredibly quickly.
  • Comes with a spreader for accurate sowing.
  • Great for patch repairs and those who need a lawn quickly.

Cons

  • Small product sizes, not suitable for large areas.
  • Over half of the grass seed is annual ryegrass – it grows very fast but only lives for one year. You’ll need to top up the lawn with a perennial grass to fill out the lawn later in the year as the annual dies off.
  • Annual grasses are not the most hard-wearing variety and can look a little dull in colour.

5) RootGrow UK Grass Seed :

RootGrow UK grass seed

Overview

Mycorrhizal fungi can be added to the roots of almost all plants when dug into the garden or containers. This fungus extends the root system both deeper and broader.

A more vigorous root system has many benefits:

  • Less likely to suffer during dry periods of weather.
  • Better nutrient uptake.
  • It provides good resistance to diseases.

The Royal Horticultural Society has more information on mycorrhizal fungi.

Empathy has produced a grass seed mixture with added mycorrhizal fungi – a first in the UK.

If you’re having issues getting a lawn developed, try this product from Empathy which can be sowed for an entirely new lawn, overseeded or used as a patch repair.

Pros

  • Deep roots provide drought resistance.
  • Reduced watering.
  • Improved nutrient uptake and better disease resistance.
  • Approved by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Cons

  • Small packet sizes with 1kg the largest.
  • The cost per kilo is very high compared to most other grass seeds.

Below is a selction of our favourite lawncare products:

 Easy Seed Spreader:

Use this handheld spreader on small and medium-sized gardens to accurately spread the correct amount of seed or granular fertiliser onto the ground.

UK grass seed spreader

 Pre-Seed Fertiliser:

Deploy this fertiliser to the soil so your new grass seed will develop strong and deep roots after germination. Not too powerful but not weak either, 6-9-6 is just perfect.

Pre seed fertiliser

 Lawn Weed Killer:

If your existing lawn is covered in weeds and you want to sow grass seed, we recommend killing off the weeds and roots first to stop them growing into your new lawn.

Resolva lawn weed killer

 MO Bacter:

Got a mossy lawn? Treat it first before sowing grass seed. Our guide to removing lawn moss is a great start and MO Bacter is an organic chemical-free way to kill moss.

MO Bacter

FAQs

What is the best time of year to sow grass seed?

Here in the UK, he best time of year to grow grass seeds is in the autumn, after the scorching heat of summer but before the frosts. The grass will have time to harden over winter and will be strong enough for foot traffic by early summer. You can sow in springtime but be careful not to allow the soil to dry out during periods of warm weather. You may not be able to enjoy a spring-sown lawn until mid-summer as the foot traffic may damage the new grass.

Why can't grass seed be sown in the summer here in the UK?

You can sow grass seed in the summer but you’ll need to keep the ground moist to prevent the young and tender grass from drying out. Most people can’t water their lawns three times a day, which is what you’ll need to do if the UK summer is hot and dry. Also, lawns experience more wear and tear in the summer so this isn’t the ideal time to sow grass seeds.

What's the best UK grass seed for hard-wearing lawns?

Perennial ryegrass is a tough variety that copes well with wear and tear from humans and pets. Most hard-wearing grass UK blends contain at least some perennial ryegrass. Red fescue is often added to perennial ryegrass in hard-wearing blends.

What is the best UK grass seed for a luxury ornamental lawn?

A combination of slender creeping tall fescue, chewings fescue and browntop bentgrass can be cut close and will tolerate wear and tear. The mix will need good drainage and plenty of sunlight.

What UK grass seeds are best for shaded UK gardens?

The following varieties of grass are often found in products formulated specifically for shaded UK gardens: Strong Creeping Fescue, Chewing Fescue, Smooth Stalked Meadowgrass, Hard Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Poa Supina. We suggest you avoid products that contain only one variety, most good brands contain at least three different grass varieties, this increases the chances of success.

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This guide to the best UK grass seed was created by the team here at DIY Gardening

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