Grass seed for shade and moisture?

Asked April 2, 2018, 1:29 AM EDT

Hello, Master Gardner We have a lawn that is in shade. Also, the soil is clay and does not drain very well. We got in sod last year, but the grass died off during fall/winter when it rained a lot. In the rain, the lawn was constantly very wet. We wanted to re-seed our lawn now, and I was wondering what a good seed would be for our situation. Thank you!

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

This is one of those good-news-bad-news stories.

The good news is that you’ve chosen the correct time of year to seed a lawn here in the northwest. The bad news is that a lawn won’t -- can’t – survive in wet shade.

Your best option is a Plan B, perhaps a peaceful sitting area set on loosely placed pavers which allow drainage into the ground, where you and yours are surrounded by attractive plants (natives and more) that thrive with little to no care.

You might start with the publication “Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades” ( Then, proceed to additional resources such as Native Plant Gardening ( and Great Plant Picks for the northwest (

And here’s a list of native plant nurseries for your shopping pleasure:

Enjoy your garden!