woman relaxing on her lawn
PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS TRUTSCHEL/GETTY

6 Low-Maintenance Grasses

Suited to various regions, these can be mixed with clover or used alone.

August 6, 2015

Though we agree that it would be better to Get Off The Grass, sometimes you need to have a lawn, and while Organic Lawn Care is a great first step, it's better in the long run to plant something that's less resource-intensive, and easier to care for. With that in mind, we present our six favorite low-maintenance grasses: 

Fine Fescues
Region: North of the Mason-Dixon Line
Why we love them: Most of these grasses tolerate shade. Some, like sheep and hard fescue, require little mowing. All have good disease resistance and cold tolerance, though they can brown out before other grasses in severe heat.

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Tall Fescue
Region: North to Mid-South
Why we love it: This is a tough grass that withstands neglect and is extremely disease- and insect-resistant. A good choice for a weekend home, it thrives with little care.

Perennial Ryegrass
Region: North to Mid-South
Why we love it: Plant this if your lawn gets a lot of traffic—it's the species used on most athletic fields. New varieties have a finer texture and deeper color than old ones, so they look great anywhere. Another plus: It's easy to start from seed.

Blue Gramagrass
Region: West, Great Plains, and Midwest
Why we love it: This tough green will grow through drought, heat, cold, and regular mowing, though it doesn't like shade. If you live in the South or West, use it on a sun-baked spot. Its virtually maintenance-free.

Buffalograss
Region: South and Great Plains
Why we love it: An American native that's adapted to summer droughts on the Great Plains, buffalograss may turn brown in summer but will green up again in fall. It's also cold-tolerant. Mow it short, like a turf grass, or let it grow like a meadow.

Centipedegrass
Region: Southeast and Gulf states
Why we love it: Known as lazy man's grass, this aggressive grower becomes a thick lawn with very little work. Its coarse, light-green blades require minimal fertilizer and mowing but may need watering during a drought.