No landscaping project can succeed without a brilliant and luxurious lawn at its very foundation. For the true lawn and garden enthusiast, nothing brings as much pride as a rich, green, well trimmed lawn. Those showcase lawns don't just happen, though. They are the product of a lot of loving care and diligent coaxing.
The real secret to a lawn that will spark the envy of all the neighbors isn't just in fertilizer and weed control. A beautiful lawn begins in the very grass that you select for it. If you put the same care into selecting your grass that you put into selecting your trees and ornamentals, then you can cultivate a high return, low demand lawn that will bring you pleasure for years to come. Conversely, choose hastily and you could find yourself fighting tooth and nail to hang onto every patch of struggling lawn.
The Right Grass for the Right Location
Not all grasses are created equal. Just like any other form of life, each species of grass flourishes best in climates that are most like its natural setting. Obviously, this means that using native grasses will give you the best lawn, requiring the least maintenance. However, you don't have to restrict yourself to just native grasses.
There are a wide variety of cool-season grasses that do well in the northern states. There is an equally wide range of warm-season grasses that do well in the southern and western states. The transitionally area between the north and south, which also includes a great deal of the eastern states require greater care, or a mixture of warm and cool season grasses to provide the greenest lawns year-round.
Warm-season grasses are best suited to the conditions found in the southern and western states. Some may prefer a greater degree of humidity and some may do well in arid regions, but all do well in the higher temperatures of the southern zones and are less resistant to cold than cool-season grasses. Bahia, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, centipede and buffalo grasses are well-known examples of the warm-season classification of grasses.
In the northern states, cool-season grasses are used to create thriving lawns. Cool-season grasses are well suited to the cooler climates and are hardier in their resistance to frost damage. There a number of well-known groups of grasses in the cool-season category such as fescues, bentgrasses, bluegrasses and ryegrasses.
Building the Perfect Lawn
Though selecting from grasses that are best suited to your location gives you the best chance of cultivating a stunning lawn, a wise landscaper will not restrict him or herself to just one type of grass. Every grass brings its own strengths and weaknesses into the lawn. By using multiple grasses you are better able to take advantage of multiple strengths that will make your lawn more resistant to weeds, the elements and other factors. Also keep in mind that some grasses are more suited to shade and others do better in full sun. Using the right grass in the right place is the first step in achieving the perfect lawn.