7 Best Grass Seed Products to Restore a Patchy Lawn

The winner is the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

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Pennington One Step Complete Grass Seed

The Spruce / Laurey W. Glenn

Grass seed can grow a lawn from scratch, make existing turf thicker, or target unsightly bald patches and brown spots. We researched and tested grass seed from the top brands, evaluating ease of use, effectiveness, and formulation. 

Our top pick, the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix, is a versatile blend that stands up well to drought and disease and can seed up to 8,000 square feet of lawn—an eighth of a football field. 

Here is the best grass seed for sprucing up your yard.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

4.7
Turf Builder Sun & Shade Mix

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Thrives in sun and shade

  • Holds up in droughts and cold winters

  • Resists disease

What We Don't Like
  • Not suited for Southern lawns

Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix.

What do buyers say? 82% of 29,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix thrives in scorching sunlight or densely shaded conditions, making it our top choice. This fine-bladed grass mix can even hold up in droughts and cold winters. It begins to grow in five to ten days; you can mow it after blades reach three inches in height. For optimum growth, water your lawn twice daily for three weeks. 

Each individual seed, wrapped in a special WaterSmart Plus coating, absorbs twice the amount of water as its uncoated counterparts. The coating also protects your seedlings from various lawn diseases, and feeds them essential nutrients to jump-start growth. Although this mix tolerates extreme weather changes, Scott’s does not recommend using it in Southern states.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade to Full Sun | Climate: Drought, Cold Winters | Size: Up to 8,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Shade: Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

Grass Seed for Dense Shade

Courtesy of The Home Depot

What We Like
  • Formulated with mulch and fertilizer

  • Grows fast

  • Great for spot treatments or larger areas

  • Suited for Midwestern lawns

What We Don't Like
  • Not for warm-season lawns

Pennington One Step Complete blends the brand's Smart Seed with mulch and professional-grade fertilizer, allowing the lawn to thrive in densely shaded areas. This all-in-one grass seed sprouts seedlings in as little as two weeks, even in the tricky corners of your lawn that don't see more than two to four hours of direct sunlight a day. Whether you're growing a lawn from scratch or just looking to patch up sparse areas, this ultra-absorbent mixture is a quick and easy solution for achieving a lush, spot-free yard.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 125 square feet | Grass Texture: Medium

Best for Full Sun: JB Instant Lawn Signature Sunny Premium Lawn Seed

Sunny Lawn Seed

Courtesy of Lowe's

What We Like
  • Works with new and existing lawns

  • Comes in various sizes

  • Grows fast

What We Don't Like
  • Not suited for Midwestern lawns

JB Instant Lawn's Sunny Blend is formulated for direct sunlight. It loves clear skies and flourishes in non-shaded areas with daily sun exposure of six or more hours. The brand's signature perennial ryegrass seed produces thick, sod-quality lawns with fine blades and a deep green hue. You can plant it with your existing grass, or use to grow a lawn from scratch with a germination period of seven to ten days.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 1,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 600 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Cool Season: Barenbrug Winter Wonderlawn Super Over Seeding Grass Seed

Winter Wonderlawn Super Over Seeding

Courtesy of Tractor Supply

What We Like
  • Grows fast

  • Thrives in sun and partial shade

  • Stands up to heavy traffic

What We Don't Like
  • Not suited for Northern lawns

For the chillier season, keep a bag of Winter Wonderlawn on hand. Containing a blend of Italian and perennial ryegrass, the mixture is ideal for overseeding your lawn during the coldest months.

This grass seed establishes quickly and germinates within four days, even in fall and winter. After a few weeks, expect a dense growth of fine-bladed grass, with a deep green color.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Southern | Size: 2,500 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Warm Season: Water Saver Lawn Seed Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue and RFT

Lawn Seed Mixture

Courtesy of The Home Depot

What We Like
  • Resists disease

  • Grows fast

  • Thrives in sun and shade

  • Tolerates drought conditions

What We Don't Like
  • Not suited for Southern lawns

Water Saver contains a mixture of turf-quality tall fescue and RFT (rhizomatous tall fescue) seeds. The blend has a gorgeous color, a nice texture, and stands up to various diseases.

This lawn seed establishes quickly, roots deeply, and retains water, allowing it to tolerate high temps and drought conditions. It thrives in the sun or shade, and thanks to its deep roots, you can mow it shorter than other varieties.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Hot and Dry | Size: 1,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Best Fast-Growing: Vigoro Fast Grass Seed Mix

Fast Grass Seed Mix

Courtesy of The Home Depot

What We Like
  • Grows fast

  • Great for spot treatments

  • Thrives in sun and shade

What We Don't Like
  • Only for existing lawns

Anytime you need speedy ground cover, erosion control, or want to repair patches in your yard, this is your best bet. Vigoro Fast Grass Mix germinates impressively quickly, and sprouts in as little as three days.

The seed works in sunny and shady areas, and produces lush, green grass with semi-fine blades and virtually no weeds. It's ideal for temporarily filling in bare spots and, depending on when and where you plant it, you might see continued growth.

Sun Tolerance: Sun and Shade | Climate: Any | Size: 750 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best Bermuda grass: Sta-Green Grass Seed Bermuda grass

Sta-Green 5-lb Bermuda Grass Seed

Courtesy of Lowe's

What We Like
  • Grows back annually

  • Resists disease

  • 99 percent weed-free

What We Don't Like
  • Longer germination period

Bermuda grass is a warm-weather perennial, meaning it flourishes in spring and summer, and grows back annually. This grass seed from Sta-Green contains a premium blend of 99 percent weed-free Bermuda grass.

The germination period is longer than other species (about two to three weeks). But thanks to a special QuickGrow2X coating, the mixture grows faster than other Bermuda grasses and resists disease. Soon enough, you can expect a beautiful lawn, with medium-textured grass that's dense, lush, and feels good between your toes.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Southern, Dry | Size: 5,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 2,500 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best for Heavy Traffic: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture

Heavy Traffic Grass Seed

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Stands up to heavy traffic

  • Resists weeds and insects

  • Comes in various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Not suited for densely shaded areas

If you have kids, pets, or an otherwise busy household, we recommend Jonathan Green Black Beauty. The brand's Heavy Traffic Premium Mixture contains a healthy blend of fescue and perennial ryegrass seeds. Fescue emits an amino acid that naturally acts as a herbicide, so it curbs emerging crabgrass and broadleaf weed seedlings. Not only that, but this reliable formula stands up to abrasion and naturally resists insects.

Sun Tolerance: Partial Sun | Climate: Hard Wear | Size: 1,200 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Final Verdict

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix is the best grass seed overall. The seeds' special coating makes them more absorbent, allowing your turf to thrive year-round in sun or shade. However, if you have pets or kids and want something that can grow with heavy foot traffic, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture might be a better choice.

What to Look For When Buying Grass Seed

Climate

One of the most important things to keep in mind when buying grass seed is the climate, as some blends do better in certain regions. For instance, Bermuda grass is native to the southern hemisphere, so it thrives in the South and the Southwestern United States.

That being said, some grass species (such as fescue and ryegrass) can grow in a variety of climates. Be sure to check the product description before purchasing grass seed to confirm it can grow where you live.

Sun Exposure

Another thing to consider is the level of sun exposure your seedlings get. Species such as Bermuda grass and some types of ryegrass need at least a few hours of sunlight a day to thrive, whereas fescue can grow in densely shaded areas.

Some mixes are formulated to grow in sun or shade, any time of year. Check the product information before buying grass seed to make sure it's suitable for the amount of sunlight your yard gets.

Maintenance

If you're in the market for low-maintenance grass seed, look for an option that contains fertilizer. That way, your seedlings have the nourishment they need to grow quickly and flourish. Some blends also contain mulch, which helps keep the soil healthy, retains water, and prevents weed growth.

Speaking of weed growth, you may consider grass seed that specifically indicates it's a weed-free (or 99 percent weed-free) formula. Additionally, some seeds are individually coated with a special substance that makes them more absorbent, meaning you don't need to water as often, and disease resistant.

FAQ
  • When is the best time to plant grass seed?

    The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of seed and the climate. However, since most mixtures germinate when temperatures aren't too hot or cold, planting in the fall for a cool-season grass and spring for a warm-season grass is typically ideal. Seedlings thrive in semi-warm soil, with moderate daytime temperatures and slightly cooler evenings.

  • How do you prepare the soil for grass seed?

    To prepare the soil for grass seed, start by removing any sticks, large rocks, and weeds from the surface. Then, break up the soil with a spade, hoe, garden fork, or core aerator, continuing to remove rocks and debris as you go. If your grass seed lacks fertilizer, add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting.

  • How often do you need to water grass seed?

    The goal is to keep the top layer of soil moist at all times, so water grass seed once or twice a day until it germinates. How much and how often depends on where you live and what the weather is like. When your seedlings reach about an inch tall, you can switch to watering every other day. After a few weeks, when the grass has established, weekly or bi-weekly watering should suffice.

Why Trust The Spruce?

The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer, with several years of experience covering home improvement. She's spent countless hours researching yard care and landscaping products, not only for the content she writes but also for personal use. You can see more of her home-related stories on MyDomaine.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Best Grass Seed for the Northeast of 2022. Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-grass-seed-for-northeast/

  2. "BERMUDAGRASS," Clemson University Cooperative Extension

  3. "Fescue, A Common Lawn Grass, Use Natural Herbicide To Controls Weeds" Science Daily

  4. Petrikovszki, Renáta et al. The Effect of Organic Mulching and Irrigation on the Weed Species Composition and the Soil Weed Seed Bank of Tomato. Plants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 66, 2020. doi:10.3390/plants9010066

  5. Rocha, Inês et al. Seed Coating: A Tool for Delivering Beneficial Microbes to Agricultural Crops. Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10. pp. 1357, 2019. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01357