One of the best memories I have as a kid is practicing cartwheels and playing tag with my friends and siblings on the lawn. I never did learn how to turn a cartwheel (I nailed somersaults, though), but the fact that we had a nice, soft, thick lawn meant that I could run and play to my heart’s content.
If you’ve got a backyard area that needs to stand up to kids playing and pets roughhousing, the type of grass you choose will be make-it-or-break-it. The last thing you want is a nasty-looking lawn with bare patches because it didn’t stand up to high traffic. And although grass that receives high traffic will typically need some extra love and attention to keep looking great, starting with the right type of grass is half the battle. One of these tough turfs is sure to be the right choice for you.
Kentucky bluegrass: One of the most cold hardy of the cool-season lawn grasses, Kentucky bluegrass has excellent winter-hardiness and impressive durability. It’s a self-spreading sod-type grass that offers a lush and dense appearance. While it prefers full sun, it will tolerate some light shade, and it will go dormant during high heat or extended drought. Establish it from seed in the fall, give it deep and thorough watering, and mow at 2 – 2 1/2 “ high.
Perennial Ryegrass: Perennial Ryegrass is another cool-season grass, thriving where winters are cool and summers are warm. Seed it in the fall and prepare to be impressed with how quickly it sprouts and grows — although once established, it spreads slower than Kentucky bluegrass. It prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade, and requires relatively high amounts of water and fertilizer to look and perform its best. Keep it mowed at a 1 ½ – 2 1/2 “ height.
Bermudagrass: This warm-season grass has exceptional heat and drought tolerance, and takes heavy use in relative stride (making it idea for athletic fields and golf courses). Bermudagrass has an extensive root system which allows it to be quite durable and resistant to stress, but also makes it a bit of a pest in garden areas where you don’t want grass. Give it full sun and good drainage — and because of its aggressive growth, regular fertilization, once to twice a week mowing at 1 – 2 ½” high, and regular irrigation.
Zoysia: Zoysia grass is another warm-season grass that takes tons of abuse like heat, drought, and heavy foot traffic. And while it prefers full sun, it will tolerate light shade much better than Bermudagrass will. It forms a thick, dense lawn with light-to-medium green blades. Plant it in spring by either seed or by sod pieces, give it deep and infrequent watering, and keep it mowed at 1 -1 1/2 “ height.