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What is the Best Grass Seed for Shade?

2022 Review for the UK Market

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best grass seed for shade.
We’ve compared effectiveness, ingredients, quality and cost
to give you our top recommendations.

What Are The UK's Best Grass Seeds for Shade?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Grows well in shade
  • Designed for poor soil
  • Great value for money
  • Hard wearing and long lasting
  • Grows in shade and sun
  • Results within 6 days
  • Designed for bad weather
  • Resilient grass
  • Germinates Feb - Oct
  • Results within 7 days
  • DEFRA approved
  • No marks from pet urine!

Read Our Shady Lawn Grass Seed Reviews

Gardeners Dream Shady Area Lawn Seed

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Grows well in shade
  • Designed for poor soil
  • Great value for money
OUR RATING
100
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Gardeners Dream Shady Area Lawn Seed Review

If you’ve previously struggled to persuade grass to grow on your shady lawn, the Gardeners Dream Shady Area Lawn Seed is a good option to consider.

Made up of a combination of 70% Strong Creeping Red Fescue and 30% Chewings Fescue, it’s capable of growing in areas with little to no sunlight. Whether you have a bare patch of garden under a shady tree, or a north-facing plot that’s often eclipsed during the day, this seed increases the chances of having a full blanket lawn.

It’s slow-growing grass, and often takes longer than the described ‘5 – 10 days’ to germinate. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere between 2 – 6 weeks to show signs of germination, and does require quite a lot of watering and care as it grows. The resulting grass has relatively thin individual blades, but offers good coverage. However, it’s not especially hardwearing.

If you have children or pets, the areas with this grass are likely to show wear quickly, though this is often the case for grass in shaded areas.

Another bonus of this grass seed is the amount that you get for the price paid, and it’s one of the best grass seeds for shade if you’re after value for money. Sold as a 5 kg bag, one bag can cover approximately 145 m² as long as it is measured carefully and sown using the instructed 35 g/m².

Pros

  • Grows under the shade of trees and in gardens that don't receive a lot of light
  • Good value for money as one bag can cover around 145 m²
  • Provides good, even coverage

Cons

  • Results are slow and it often takes between 2 - 6 weeks for germination
  • Quite a lot of maintenance required to make sure it is well watered
  • The grass that grows has relatively thin blades and isn't very hardwearing

The Grass People Hard Wearing Grass Seed

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Hard wearing and long lasting
  • Grows in shade and sun
  • Results within 6 days
OUR RATING
94
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

The Grass People Hard Wearing Grass Seed Review

If your lawn is predominantly in shade, or has a mixture of light and dark areas, The Grass People Hard Wearing Grass Seed can help create a thick, even lawn.

Made up of 80% Perennial Ryegrass and 20% Strong Creeping Red Fescue, it contains more of a hard-wearing combination than some entirely-Fescue based seed mixes. The resulting grass has thick blades and is suitable for pets and families; it won’t instantly wear thin.

Whereas some grass created for shade can become scorched if it receives too much sunlight, this Hard Wearing Grass Seed can be grown successfully across a range of shady, wet and dry areas. It will also grow in clay-based soil, and generally doesn’t require too much maintenance.

After sowing, signs of germination take approximately 6 days to appear and a 10 kg bag will cover approximately 200 m². Sewing in either Spring or Autumn is recommended, when the ground temperature is above 8°C.

Due to its ability to grow well, no matter if there is plenty of light or predominantly shade, this is one of the best grass seeds for shade or sun. If your garden has a combination of different light exposure, terrain or growing conditions, The Grass People Hard Wearing Grass Seed should be able to deliver some good results.

In very hot weather, the grass may need some extra attention so that it doesn’t dry out, but it tends to bounce back quickly once there’s enough water available.

Pros

  • Grows well regardless of light exposure - can survive in both sun and shade
  • Germinates quickly, often within 6 days of planting
  • Relatively low-maintenance seed that does not need a lot of care whilst growing
  • Produces thick, hardwearing grass that can withstand pets and children
  • Can also grow in clay-based soil

Cons

  • Grass can dry out in very hot whether, but tends to bounce back after watering

Moowy Shade & Sun Grass Seed

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Designed for bad weather
  • Resilient grass
  • Germinates Feb - Oct
OUR RATING
91
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Moowy Shade & Sun Grass Seed Review

For any football fans out there, the Moowy Shade & Sun Grass Seed is produced by the same company that delivered grass seeds to many of the 2018 World Cup stadiums. And even if you don’t love the game, it’s hard to deny that stadiums have got excellent grass!

This Shade & Sun Grass Seed is made up of three different grass varieties. It’s 50% Red Fescue, 40% Perennial Ryegrass, and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass. Overall, this produces grass that is thick and hardwearing, and relatively resilient when it comes to growing conditions; it can grow in shaded areas, and some customers even report success on ground with very little preparation.

If you’re struggling to maintain a bed of green grass under trees in the garden, or want to cover any area that’s shaded or proven difficult with other grass, Moowy is a tough seed that survives in sunless areas.

It also handles cold weather well and can be planted all the way through from February to October. Although germination will likely be slower in the colder months, it’s still one of the best grass seeds for shady areas if you hope to plant outside of the typical growing season.

For the most part, this seed germinates in approximately 5 days and one 880 g bag can cover an area of approximately 50 m² when overseeding. Comparing with other grass seed, such as the Gardener’s Dream seed, Moowy is relatively expensive per metre squared.

Pros

  • Not fussy about time of year when planted - can be sown from February to October
  • Designed for cold weather and UK climates so the weather doesn’t need to be perfect for the seeds to germinate
  • Can grow under shaded tree canopies
  • Can be used to cover bare patches of ground with limited preparation
  • In spring/autumn conditions, germinates quickly in around 5 days

Cons

  • If the weather is very dry, can take a lot of maintenance to encourage growth with frequent watering
  • Relative expensive per metre square coverage compared to a lot of other seeds

Speedy Seed Ultra Patch Grass Seed

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Results within 7 days
  • DEFRA approved
  • No marks from pet urine!
OUR RATING
89
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Speedy Seed Ultra Patch Grass Seed Review

If you’ve got some bald patches on your lawn that you’d like to fill in ASAP, the Speedy Seed Ultra Patch Grass Seed can start germinating in as little as 5 days.

In fact, depending on weather conditions and when the seed is planted, it could reach the same height as your other grass after just a couple of weeks.

Under less ideal conditions, this may take 4 – 6 weeks.

With a relatively small amount of seed supplied, enough to cover an area of 12 m², this is one of the best grass seeds for shady areas if you only need to cover a few noticeable patches.  Whether the dog has dug a hole under a tree that you’d like to cover up, or some areas of the lawn are struggling to stay green, this seed helps repair the gaps without requiring you buy a huge bag.

It’s also a useful option for fixing areas that have been scorched by pet urine, as the box of seed comprises of a mix of grass seed, urine neutraliser and fertiliser. As you can see, it’s therefore specifically aimed at patching small areas rather than larger spaces. Even if pets wee on the seed whilst it’s trying to germinate, it can still grow.

This is a particularly useful seed for gardeners who constantly find themselves trying to fix areas of the lawn, especially after the grass has been damaged by pets. It will sprout up quickly and hide the damage.

Be aware, if buying this seed that, as mentioned, it’s not just seed in the box. You’ll be receiving a combination of seed, urine neutraliser and fertiliser so there isn’t a lot of product for covering larger areas.

Pros

  • Results are fast - many people notice grass growing within about 5 days
  • Contains urine neutraliser and can grow in areas that are frequented by animals
  • Within a couple of weeks the grass can reach the same height as the surrounding lawn (in optimum growing conditions)
  • Great for filling bare patches on the grass created by pets or other causes

Cons

  • Not intended for covering large areas - only for patching up lawn (just 12 m² supplied)

How to Choose the Best Grass Seed for Shade

A lush green lawn is something many of us gardeners strive for, but unfortunately wear and tear can quickly make any pristine lawn look old and tired. 

The right grass seed is like a magic formula for your lawn, you just need to find the best one. 

This is especially true if your garden has a lot of shade. If you have a garden with shady spots, you’ll need to put a little more thought into choosing the right grass seed for your lawn. Not all grass seed will flourish in the shade, and you may end up with something pretty patchy.

If you’re not sure what to look out for, the following information will help you find the best grass seed for your shady garden. 

The Importance of a Good Grass Mix

Grass seed is rarely made up of just one species of grass. Instead, grass seed is made up of several variations in order to improve the properties of your lawn.

Ryegrass is a good species to look out for. It can help toughen up your lawn and increase durability. Ryegrass is a coarse grass, as opposed to soft. It’s hard wearing and vibrantly green.  

For shaded areas, one of the best seeds to look out for is Fescue grass. This should be planted in late summer or early autumn, and it’s usually found in high proportions in grass seed. One of the main advantages of Fescue is that it can grow in cooler conditions – perfect for shaded areas. It’s tolerant of heat, drought and shade making it useful in gardens with a combination of light exposures.

Other common grass seed, frequently added to mixes, are finer varieties like Browntop Bent. These help make your lawn softer and add some finer grass to your lawn so that it’s not all thick or coarse. It’s not particularly hardwearing, and for this reason there are generally only small amounts included in each grass seed mix. 

Coverage Area

The coverage area is important both when it comes to value for money and ease of use. If you have a large lawn, you’ll need to make sure you have enough grass seed to cover it. 

Smaller containers of grass seed are best for smaller lawns. They are also a good option if you have just a small shaded area in your garden. While you may not need grass seed to cover the entire area, a small amount of seed specifically designed for shady areas can help fill patches and give your grass a new life. 

The grass seeds I’ve recommended have a range of coverage areas, but for a medium size lawn I recommend looking for a coverage of around 200m². 

It’s important to consider the quality as well as the coverage area. Purchasing a lot of low quality seed will be a waste of money. 

Suitability for Shady Areas

Lawns have very different requirements. Some lawns have a tendency to get very dry, while others retain too much moisture. Likewise, lawns with lots of shaded areas are generally harder to maintain. 

For shady spots on your lawn, such as underneath trees, Ryegrass and Fescue grasses are the best option. A grass seed which contains these varieties can fill patchy areas and encourage the shaded spots of your lawn to thrive. 

However, it’s also important to take into consideration other factors which can affect the health of your lawn. Tall Fescue is a good option for wet weather and gardens that get waterlogged easily. It’s generally quite an all-round resilient grass species, and also grows well in clay soil.

Meadowgrass copes well in very dry soil.

To find the right grass seed for your lawn, you need to take into account all the factors that can affect your lawn’s health, and purchase accordingly. 

Grass Seed for Shade FAQs

How can I help grass grow in shaded areas? 

While the right grass seed can be very effective, you may still need to give the shaded areas in your garden a helping hand.

First of all, ensure you choose a durable and shade-tolerant seed such as Fescue.

For shaded areas, such as underneath a tree, I recommend fertilising more regularly. Water more frequently than you would in sunnier spots, but avoid watering in the evening.

I recommend mowing a little higher than you would in brighter areas. This will help retain the moisture in shaded areas.

Finally, if possible, give the grass as much sunlight as you can. This may mean you need to prune the tree to allow more sunlight through.

When should I plant my grass seed? 

The best time to plant grass seed is in late summer to early autumn. This gives it the best chance of withstanding weeds, and the soil is still fairly warm. It should also get plenty of water at this time of year, unlike in the height of summer. 

Can I plant grass seed by throwing it on the ground? 

While grass seed will often sprout if it’s simply thrown on the ground, you’re unlikely to get the most from your seed. Use a spreader for best results. This will slightly aerate the soil, so the seeds can penetrate into it slightly as opposed to resting on the top. 

Ideally, the seeds should be planted at a depth of between 30mm and 75mm. 

How do you plant grass seed? 

If creating a new lawn, there are several steps you can take to really get the best results:

  1. Ideally, plant in late summer / early autumn
  2. Loosen and aerate the soil by turning it over
  3. Remove any weeds
  4. Rake your soil and create a level surface.
  5. Sow the seeds based on the manufacturer’s instructions: there may be some variation on how many g/m² is recommended. You should be able to see seeds on the surface of the soil after planting. If not, you have planted them too deep. 
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