If you long to let your feet breathe and stretch at the end of a long day, walking barefoot on the lawn is one of the best ways to unwind. What are the best grasses to walk on barefoot? We’ve got the dirt on which types work best for a nice, soft stroll.
- Cool-season vs. warm-season grasses
- Best cool-season grasses to walk on barefoot
- Best warm-season grasses to walk on barefoot
- A softer lawn no matter the grass
- Benefits of walking barefoot
Cool-season vs. warm-season grasses
Before we dive into the best barefoot grasses, let’s briefly discuss which grasses are best for your lawn. The first thing to know is what type of grass you have: cool-season or warm-season.
Cool-season grasses thrive in the upper half of the country where summers are shorter and winters are longer and more frigid. Warm-season grasses prefer a long, hot growing season and the mild winters that the southern states enjoy.
Best cool-season grasses to walk on barefoot
If you live in a cool-season area, here are a few grass types to enjoy barefoot-loose and fancy-free.
Cool-season homeowners are familiar with Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) lawns. A fine to medium texture and deep green grass color make this species an attractive home lawn option in cooler climates.
In addition to being easy on the eyes, KBG is easy on the feet as well. And if you have so much foot traffic that the grass starts to wear, its rhizomes come to the rescue to patch and self-repair the damaged turf.
Blending KBG with other grasses, such as perennial ryegrass, creates a stronger lawn overall.
Bonus: Since perennial ryegrass is also a super-soft grass, a KBG/perennial ryegrass mix will give your toes a doubly comfy barefoot experience.
No-mow fescue blends
For homeowners who want to throw out the lawn mower and create a meadow lawn look instead, no-mow fescue blends are an option to consider. Most cool-season no-mow blends consist of several species of fine fescues. Fine fescues, as the name suggests, have fine-bladed leaves and are among the softest and most lush grasses for bare feet.
These finely-bladed grasses are known for doing well in shady areas but aren’t great for a lawn with high traffic needs. Once established, no-mow fescue blends are very low-maintenance and environmentally friendly. These fine fescue blends require almost no supplemental water except during summer droughts, require infrequent or no mowing, and little or no fertilizer.
A properly installed no-mow lawn is dense as well, which makes it lovely for an occasional stroll. In sum, we love its soft, dense meadow look that aligns perfectly with how it feels on our feet.
Perennial ryegrass, as we’ve noted, is another cool-season softie. Perennial ryegrass is a popular cool-season turfgrass and is often used with other grasses due to its fast germination rate. But it also feels great underfoot.
Do your research if you want to plant this on its own. A blend of several perennial ryegrass cultivars will offer more disease resistance and a better quality lawn than a single species on its own.
Whether you choose to mix it with other cool-season grasses or use a blend of different perennial ryegrass varieties, this fine-bladed grass will feel great during the few warm months of the year.
Best warm-season grasses to walk on barefoot
These warm-season grasses offer plenty of summer warmth and enjoyment for your bare feet.
Improved common Bermudagrass
Most homeowners with Bermuda choose an improved common variety. These varieties produce a higher-quality lawn than common Bermuda but are less maintenance-heavy than a hybrid variety.
Bermudagrass is sun-loving grass that spreads aggressively, so border your flower beds deeply. If properly cared for, this grass can produce a dense lawn that’s great for sports fields and high-traffic home lawns.
Most Bermuda has a fine or medium texture. Choose one with a finer texture if you want an extra soft lawn.
Note: For the best results, we recommend using a reel mower on Bermudagrass, but rotary mowers are sufficient. Either way, keep the blades sharp for the highest-quality cut.
Buffalograss, a native, warm-season pasture grass, has a long history on the Great Plains. With the advent of new, turf-type varieties, buffalograss has made the leap from pastures to home lawns for many Great Plains homeowners.
Buffalograss has a fine leaf texture, which is a great feature for plains dwellers who enjoy going sans footwear during the warmer months. This grass prefers full sun (it is a plains grass, after all) and can be mowed less often for a more natural look.
In addition, some buffalograss varieties earn high marks for their water efficiency. Ask your sod supplier if their buffalograss qualifies for credits toward LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Zoysia is a popular lawn grass in the southern United States and Transition Zone. This grass is prized because it produces a dense lawn that’s excellent at crowding out weeds and has above-average traffic tolerance.
Note: Although Zoysia can handle a moderate level of traffic, it has a very slow growth habit, so it is slow to recover from wear.
Since Zoysia comes in fine and wide-bladed varieties, choose a finer blade if you’re looking to walk barefoot on your lawn. And do yourself a favor and establish this grass from sod. Zoysia is notoriously slow-growing, and seeding attempts often struggle or fail.
Cool-season lawns: Creeping bentgrass
Creeping bentgrass is a lovely, soft grass underfoot, but it’s not the best choice for a home lawn. It is most commonly used for putting greens and is a very high-maintenance grass.
However, if you’re a golf devotee and want a small putting green in your lawn, it may be worth the extra effort to enjoy a shoe-free putting experience.
Warm-season lawns: Hybrid Bermudagrass
Hybrid Bermuda lawns are great for hot summers and bare feet but not so great for home lawns. Why? They require too much maintenance for most homeowners.
Hybrid Bermudagrass loves full sun and performs best if you have a reel mower to cut it. You’ll find this grass most often on golf courses or in other commercial sports settings where it enjoys a full-time grounds staff to care for it.
Who thought a legume would be on a list of best barefoot grasses? Clover is not a grass, but it has become popular in recent years as a lawn alternative. And it’s on our list because it provides a soft place for your foot to land.
If you can’t imagine a full clover lawn, don’t worry. Interseeding clover into your existing lawn is a popular option and is sometimes called a bee lawn. Bee lawns employ flowering plants, such as clover, mixed in with turfgrasses so homeowners have the best of both worlds. These low-maintenance, environmentally friendly lawns retain their hardiness but provide a haven for pollinators (and bare feet) at the same time.
A softer lawn no matter the grass
What if you don’t have inherently soft, fine-bladed grass? (Looking at you, St. Augustinegrass.) Not to worry; there are things you can do to have a softer lawn.
The most important thing you can do to have a barefoot-worthy lawn is to have a healthy lawn. A dense, carpet-like lawn, whether you have soft grass or St. Augustine, requires an investment of time, skill, and resources. Even soft grass won’t feel good underfoot if it isn’t dense, healthy, and properly watered.
Become a master of proper fertilization, watering, and mowing, and you’re well on your way to a dense stand of grass to enjoy, barefoot or not.
Benefits of walking barefoot
There may be measurable benefits to unwinding barefoot at the end of a long day. Walking on the grass, sitting on the ground, or otherwise connecting yourself to the earth is a practice called earthing or grounding and has gained popularity in recent years with the release of a popular book and short film.
In addition to the subjective reports from people about improved overall health and well-being, research shows preliminary evidence that they may be on to something. Studies suggest that grounding may:
- Decrease chronic inflammation
- Improve sleep quality
- Decrease athletic recovery times
- Reduce blood viscosity
Whether you like to sit barefoot in your favorite lawn chair and enjoy a beer or go hiking sans shoes, walking barefoot holds a little something for everyone. And these grass types will make the experience even more enjoyable.
If your bare feet prefer to hang poolside instead of doing lawn chores, contact one of our lawn care pros today. They’ll mow, fertilize, and help you have the softest lawn possible, no matter your grass type.
Main photo Credit: SchilderSchool | Pixabay