Can you grow a lawn in shade? Yes, so long as you follow these expert tips...

That's right: a north-facing garden doesn't mean your dreams of a green lawn are over!

nglish country garden in summer, white cotton hammock, wrought iron and wood garden furniture, white vintage style parasol, floor cushions, large wicker basket full of apples.
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Can you grow a lawn in shade? It's a question that has plagued many a homeowner with dreams of bright green grass – especially if they have a north-facing garden or tall trees dotted around their outdoor space. Thankfully, though, the answer is a resounding 'yes'... so long as you aren't afraid to put the work in.

That's right: while it can be tricky to wrap your head around the dos and don'ts of caring for a lawn in shade, there are more than a few lawn care tips out there that will help you to make all of your favourite lawn ideas a reality – even if your garden is on the darker side.

'Shady lawns are tricky, but not impossible,' promises Richard Pike, expert greenkeeper and director of R Pike Sports Ground Management in Surrey. 

Can you grow a lawn in shade?

Every gardener worth their salt knows that most varieties of grass thrive best in sunny conditions – indeed, most species require four to six hours of full sun each day to grow well. 

That being said, though, you can still grow a lawn in shade, so long as you take your time to 'consider the species of grass you choose to sow, as well as tend to it with the correct maintenance and treatments,' says Richard.

A country house with a green lawn

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adam Carter)

The most important first step, then, is selecting a good shade-tolerant grass mix.

'You'll want to choose a seed blend that contains a large amount of fescue grass,' says Richard, who notes that this variety is 'better at dealing with shade' than most others.

While many of the seed mixes above are best tailored to dry shady lawns, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) points out that you will need to think on your feet if your outdoor space is on the damper side of things.

'In damp shade, opt for a mix with more bent grasses (species of Agrostis),' they advise.

Richard, meanwhile, points out that you will need to brush up on how to get rid of moss in a lawn, as the stuff tends to be rampant in shadier spots.

'You will find that the shaded areas of your lawn will be more susceptible to moss,' he says. 

rake on a mossy lawn

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thankfully, Richard says that 'regular scarifying will help keep moss at bay,' especially if it's followed by some 'light overseeding to help fill the gaps where the moss has been removed'.

Of course, if you want to grow a lawn in shade and do it well, there are a few other things you can do. Indeed, the RHS insists that you must do them for the best possible results...

  • Mow your lawn less frequently and raise the cutting height to at least 6cm
  • Always remove grass clippings
  • Unless you're working with damp shade, be sure to adapt your watering schedule to ensure you are dousing your grass heavily (yet infrequently) over the hotter months, ideally with grey water. Be sure to aerate regularly, too
  • Feed your lawn in autumn (ideally just before the trees lose their leaves) using a fertiliser that's rich in potassium, such as EverGreen Autumn Lawn Care, Lawn Food & Moss Control from Amazon


What is the best grass to grow in shade?

As mentioned already, the best grass to grow in shade will feature plenty of fescues and Poa Supina, so be sure to choose a seed mix that features these varieties in abundance.

Can you lay turf in the shade?

As a rule, turf grass doesn't tend to do well in shade – although you can, again, look for some that contains those shade tolerant grass species which naturally grow in lower light conditions.

How do you treat grass in the shade?

If you want to grow a lawn in shade, you will need to do more than choose shade-tolerant seeds: you will also need to adapt your mowing and watering schedules, not to mention give your grass a good feed each autumn, too. 

You might also consider thinning out the branches of dense trees, to help get some light on your grass wherever possible.

So, can you grow a lawn in shade? Absolutely – although, with all that being said, it's well worth considering some low maintenance lawn options, as the RHS notes that 'grass will always struggle [in darker spots], even shade-tolerant species'.

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.