Beachfront living can be a pleasure, but it also takes a toll on your lawn. If your yard is looking a little down and out, you may want to consider reseeding or resodding with a turfgrass that can withstand the ravages of salt spray. Read on for a basic guide on choosing the best grass type for your beach home.
Lighter in color than some of its rivals, Bahia grass is incredibly tough. Both low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, this bright green turf holds up to heavy traffic and hot sun. Its real superpower is its resistance to disease and insect damage. That, coupled with its remarkably high salt tolerance, makes it a no-brainer for beachfront properties.
This hardy grass is popular for holding up to significant wear and tear. That’s why you often see it on athletic fields and golf courses. The dense emerald mat formed by Bermuda grass is low-maintenance and drought-resistant. But what makes this turfgrass a Florida superstar is a high tolerance to salt, making it a favorite of yards that receive an ocean spray.
For low-traffic yards that are exposed to full sun with little shade, buffalo grass is a great choice. It thrives in high temperatures and isn’t picky about the type of soil it grows in. Its delicate, bluish-green blades are slightly curled, giving it a unique, fine texture. Incredible drought tolerance and the ability to prosper without fertilizer make it a winner. In cooler climates, it goes brown and dormant during winter, but here in the sub-tropics, that’s not an issue. Its salt-tolerance is on the lower side, so it’s not the best if your beach house backs up to the ocean.
The slowest-growing of all the warm-season grasses, centipede grass is best for lawns that don’t see heavy traffic. It’s prized for its tolerance to heat and the fact that it has the lowest maintenance requirements of grasses for warm climates. More shade tolerant than Bermuda grass, it’s also less drought tolerant and slower to recover from damage. Its salt tolerance is also lower than Bermuda grass or St. Augustine, so it is not the best choice for a seaside property.
St. Augustine Grass
This warm-season grass is the most common variety found in Florida. Loved for its high shade tolerance and ability to outcompete weeds, there are some drawbacks. St. Augustine needs frequent mowing, requires fertilization, and can be a little bit of a water hog. If you don’t mind the high-maintenance, its high level of salt tolerance makes it a great choice for beachfront properties.
The deep green, hardy character of zoysia grass coupled with the sensation of its soft, fine blades under bare feet makes this an excellent selection for families with children. Zoysia has no problem withstanding high traffic and is drought-tolerant and dense enough to be a top pick for Florida golf courses. It doesn’t demand high levels of fertilizer or maintenance and is highly salt-tolerant.
Picking the right grass for your yard can make the difference between having a lush lawn and a scraggly one that struggles each summer. Take your time to understand your site before you choose which grass to plant. The right grass will hold up in every sea-sun.
Gail Lopez is a second-generation landscape designer whose family business designs yards with flair. Her things are beautiful plants, outdoor kitchens, and sprinklers powered by artificial intelligence.