Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil and Drought-Tolerant Lawns

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Having a beautiful lawn on sandy soils is one of the most challenging gardening things to do, even for professional gardeners. However, with the best grass seed for sandy soil and the right procedure, your grass will thrive in your sandy yard.

Chances are, using the right grass for your yard is what is standing in the way of your dream lawn. In this article, we have the five best grass seeds for sand soil lawns, and we also have tips that could help you establish a perfect lawn in sandy soils.

5 Best Grass Seeds for Sandy Soil

1. Tall Fescue Grass

Tall fescue grass is one of the most common cool-season grasses that are highly adaptable and are able to grow in a wide range of soils. They grow slowly, are relatively low maintenance, and will flourish in shade and sunlight with their best growing season during fall and spring.

Tall fescue grass has a deep-rooted structure which means it can retain water and is resistant to drought. For sandy soils, creeping red fescue and hard grass is the best grass for sandy soil because it easily fills up a patchy or empty lawn. Here is a great example;

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Tall Fescue Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Tall Fescue Mix, 7 lb. -...
  • Designed for full sun and partial shade; superior heat, drought,...
  • 4 in 1 water Smart Plus coating absorbs more water than uncoated...
  • Includes Scotts best seed, helps protect seedlings against...
  • Guaranteed to grow quicker, thicker, greener grass
  • Seeds up to 1, 750 sq. Ft.

The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Tall Fescue Mix is designed for partial shade and full sun, which means it can withstand drought, a lot of heat, diseases, and insects. It includes the Scotts best seed that protects the seedlings.

This 4 in 1 WaterSmart PLUS Coating will absorb more water, feed the soil with essential nutrients, and also protect seedlings from diseases. It also ensures that the seed remains moist two times longer than the uncoated seed.


  • Protects the seedlings from diseases
  • Guaranteed to grow faster
  • Thrives in harsh conditions
  • Keeps the seeds moist for longer
  • Easy to use


  • The seeds might not work for all environments

2. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda is a warm-season grass that flourishes in sandy soils because it requires well-drained soil with less water content. Unlike other warm-season grasses, the Bermuda grass grows very fast. Although the grass takes a bit of time to establish, it spreads quickly to create a dense turf.

However, the Bermuda grass will need a lot of sunlight to grow and might suffer if placed in a shady area. On the other hand, it is drought-resistant, might go dormant during the winter seasons, and come back to life in summer and spring. The two main types, Yukon and Riviera, have great drought and cold tolerance.

Outsidepride Arden 15 Hybrid Bermuda Grass Seed

Outsidepride Arden 15 Hybrid Bermuda Grass Seed - 2 LBS
  • Establishment Time: Under ideal conditions, full coverage may be...
  • Days to Germinate: After planting Arden 15 bermuda seed, with...
  • Where to Plant: In full sun on well drained soil. Proper drainage...
  • Time to Plant: Plant Bermuda Grass seed when soil temperatures...
  • Arden 15 Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate: 2 - 3 pounds of coated seed...

The Outsidepride Arden 15 Hybrid Bermuda Grass Seed is another warm-season grass that flourishes in full sun and well-drained soil. Under ideal conditions, this grass takes about four to six weeks to achieve full coverage.

The germination of Bermuda grass seeds takes about seven days. However, if the planting occurs late or early in the season, the grass might require more time to germinate well in sandy soil. This grass has a medium-fine leaf texture and a dark green color.


  • High quality
  • Dense
  • Beautiful dark green color
  • Spreads out faster and retain the moisture for better germination
  • Reduced establishment time
  • Easy to plant


  • It might become dormant during winter

3. Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is a low-maintenance type of grass since it won't require a lot of watering, which makes it ideal for sandy soil. It is also a warm-season grass that flourishes in the summer and spring seasons.

Centipede grass boasts excellent heat resistance properties. However, in comparison with other warm-season grasses, it has a shallow root system. Moreover, it spreads via above-ground stolons instead of underground rhizome, creating a thick carpet-like sod.

Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipede Grass

Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipede Grass, 20 lb....
  • Grass seed: Scotts best high performance grass seed; grows in...
  • Mulch: absorbs 6x its weight in water and expands to surround the...
  • Fertilizer: Exclusive controlled release technology feeds...
  • Tackifier: Helps keep seed from washing away
  • Protectant: Helps keep seedlings safe from harmful diseases that...

The Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipede Grass has an outstanding drought tolerance which means they can grow in scorching heat, partial and full sun. In addition, it features an exclusive controlled release technology that feeds the seedlings to jumpstart the growth.

The mulch absorbs water and expands six times its weight to offer the seed a moist protective layer. As a result, this type of grass has a unique combination of premium continuous release of lawn food, super-absorbent growing material, and a high-performance seed for guaranteed success even in the toughest weather conditions.


  • Has a tackifier to keep the seeds from being washed away
  • High performance
  • The protectant ensures the seedlings are safe from harmful diseases.
  • Easy to use
  • Great value for money


  • Requires specific steps to be taken to flourish

4. Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is categorized by USDA for use in plant hardiness zones six to nine. It is one of the great grass for sandy soil as it forms deep roots that help in absorbing water and nutrients. Zoysia grass is also well adapted to drought areas with very little water requirements.

However, Zoysia grass may develop slower than other grasses but will grow faster when well fed with a fertilizer that has nitrogen and phosphorus for proper root development. If you decide to use this type of grass on sandy soil, ensure that you're not using the Meyer variety or Z-52 because it is susceptible to nematode infestation.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch, 5 lb

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and...
  • Zoysia grass seed & mulch is designed for full sun and light...
  • Combines mulch and grass seed to grow a tough, durable,...
  • Extremely versatile seed mix that's 99.9% weed free
  • Thrives in heat, drought and partial shade
  • Seeds up to 2,000 sq. ft.

The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seeds can be used in partial shade and full sun, but they become dormant in winter. These grass seeds grow into a beautiful lawn in sandy soil that will require less mowing and watering.

They are extremely versatile with a mixture that is 99.9% weed-free, and they thrive in the heat. The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed combines the grass seed and mulch to provide a durable, tough, and low maintenance lawn.


  • Low maintenance
  • Extremely versatile
  • Free of weeds
  • Easy to use
  • Good value for money


  • Requires patience because it may take a long time to grow in some areas

5. Bahia Grass

Although bahia grass is not the first choice when it comes to the best grass seed for sandy soil, it is a great grass that does well in sandy soil. This is because of its deep root system and outstanding heat and drought tolerance.

As one of the best grass for sandy soil, bahia grass requires less water and does well in infertile and sandy land. However, if you're looking to get a thick and carpet-like lawn on sandy soil, the bahia grass might not be the best option.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola Bahia Grass

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola Bahiagrass, 5...
  • Pensacola Bahiagrass grass seed designed for full sun
  • Coated to absorb 2x more water than uncoated seed
  • Establishes deep roots and tolerates stress for lower maintenance
  • Excellent heat and drought resistance
  • Seeds up to 1,000 sq. ft.

The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola Bahia Grass-type is designed for full sun with heat and drought resistance properties. This pack can cover an area of up to 1000 square feet providing good value for money.

This grass grows easily and establishes deeps roots to absorb moisture and nutrients. Furthermore, it can tolerate stress ensuring little maintenance is required on your green lawn. It is also coated to absorb two times more water than uncoated seed.


  • Tolerates stress
  • Great heat and drought resistance
  • Has a coarse bladed texture for high drought tolerance
  • Deep roots for moisture absorption
  • 99.9% weed-free
  • Easy to use


  • It may take some time to grow

Why Do You Need the Best Grass for Sandy Soil?

If you live in places with sandy soils, you probably understand how challenging it is to plant grass or anything there. However, with the right soil modifications, the sandy soil garden can become a beautiful place full of green grass.

It is crucial to note that the structure of the sandy soil will differ depending on the texture, color, and water retention of the soil. To determine the content and quality of the soil, you can use a soil pH tester or feel it.

Generally, sandy soil is made up of eroded and broken rocks that consist of large particles that create large spaces between them. This makes the water retention poor, and it means that the water and nutrients will easily be washed away, making it hard to grow in sandy soils. This is why you need grass seed options that can thrive in sandy soils.

How Do You Grow Grass in Sandy Soil?

Grass growing in sandy soil is not very difficult with the right method. Here are a few tips on how you can prepare the land to ensure the type of grass you're growing flourishes;

  • Remove the weeds, big rocks, and debris from the soil
  • Dig about six inches deep using a rake, then add the organic material and spread it equally on the soil.
  • Instead, you can invest in fertilizers to improve the rate of plant growth. Coat the planting area with fertilizers and make sure that it won't be easily blown off.

Once all the preparations have been made, you can now plant the selected type of grass seed in the soil. Spread the seeds evenly and water the soil very lightly because too much water can wash away the grass seeds.

Make another round of sowing to ensure the bald spots left after water are covered. Lastly, you need to frequently check on it to remove the weeds that grow faster than the grass and cutting the grass only when it goes above three inches.

What Factors Do You Need to Consider Before Buying the Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil?

1. Root Structure

The ability of the grasses to thrive in sandy soils has a lot to do with how the roots grow. Most of these grass types have a long, deep root system to find and catch moisture and nutrients that slip through the sand.

Longer roots will be able to get below the sandy top layer to get the moisture, and with the increased surface area, more nutrients can be absorbed. They help keep the grass in place despite the unstable environment given by sandy soils.

On the other hand, horizontal growing stolons and rhizomes will increase the stability further by creating thick mats. These mats are similar to more traditional sod types.

2. Drought Tolerance

Sandy soil is very porous and doesn't retain water well, which means that even if the land receives a lot of rainfall, plants growing in sandy soil may still experience a lack of water. For this reason, you want to choose grasses that are drought tolerant.

Such grasses can survive in less water, and their roots won't be easily damaged with the large pockets of air found in sandy soils. Most of these grasses are also able to come back to life even after long periods of dormancy because of extended drought.

3. Hardiness

When it comes to sandy soils, lack of water isn't always the problem because as the water moves through the substrates, it also pulls the nutrients. However, it means that plants growing in sandy soils will have fewer nutrients than those in less porous soils.

Hardy grass seeds can withstand long dry periods and thrive in environments where phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients are quite scarce. Furthermore, they are less likely to be attacked by pests.

Additionally, choosing hardy grass will mean that you won't need pesticides to get rid of the nematodes and lawn-destroying bugs. This is because they can survive and keep your garden looking its best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Growing Grass in Sandy Soil Conditions

1. Will grass seed grow in sandy soil?

Definitely, with the best grass for sandy soil, lawns will thrive in porous and quick-draining conditions. However, following the right procedure is paramount to ensure the seeds will survive and the grass can grow the right way.

2. Can you put topsoil over the sand to grow grass?

For grass to thrive in sandy soil, you should avoid high organic matter soil mixes or heavy clay soil such as topsoil or garden soil mixes. This is because lawn grass won't reliably grow through more than two inches of fill. Moreover, a sandy fill, for example, pump sand or river sand, is preferred.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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