Sustainable Lawns & Dog Tuff Grass

Dog Tuff Plug-Planted Grass LawnDog Tuff Plug-Planted Grass Lawn

by David Salman, Chief Horticulturist

Lawns are a permanent fixture in the US, with current estimates of nearly 50 million acres under grass! A lush green lawn looks beautiful and provides the perfect surface to walk through the garden, where kids can run, and pets can play. But the old methods of lawn care, what we think lawns should look like, and how they fit into our landscapes are changing to reflect the new paradigms of our times. We should be aware of how lawns positively and negatively affect the planet, and how our lawns can help.

On the positive side:

  • Lawns provide cooling to our urban and suburban areas to combat the effects of urban heat islands.
  • Lawns absorb and filter our water as it moves from the sky into the aquifers and waterways.
  • Lawns enhance the quality of our lives by providing by providing soft, cool areas to play sports, fly kites, run our dogs and have picnics.

On the negative side:

  • Lawns, when cared for using traditional methods, use huge amounts of environmentally damaging chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
  • Traditional lawn care is very energy intensive and makes lawns a carbon negative part of our landscapes (more carbon is generated than is absorbed by the grass).
  • Lawns can waste water when our water resources are being stretched and depleted.

With a sustainable lawn, you can enjoy all the benefits of soft green grass without compromising on your values for a sustainable landscape. High Country Gardens has pioneered waterwise gardening for over 25 years. We offer grass plugs and grass seeds that are drought tolerant, hardy, and low maintenance, as well as a range of alternative lawn solutions. When you choose a sustainable lawn, you'll conserve water, reduce mowing and maintenance, save time and money – all while enjoying your outdoor space more than ever.

High Country Gardens has pioneered the use of native grass varieties for low water lawns. These include:

Consider switching from high input, water-intensive grass varieties and ones that use less water and fertilizer, are deep rooted for resilience and drought tolerance, and  are low-growing or slower growing for less frequent mowing. To find out which sustainable grasses will be best for you, learn more in our helpful articles. 

Learn More About Buffalo Grass Plugs 

Learn More About Planting Native Grass Seed Mixes For Prairie And Meadow Restoration

The Scoop on Dog Tuff™

Dog Tuff™ Grass comes to us from Republic of South African at the tip of the African continent. It is a naturally sterile hybrid that was brought to the high, dry plains of southeastern Colorado many years ago by the daughter of a rancher returning from a trip to South Africa. The rancher planted the starts and has been growing a thick, lush lawn ever since. Sometime later samples of the grass were planted in Denver and forgotten. But, thanks to the efforts of Nurseryman Kelly Grummons, of Arvada, CO who called it to my attention, it’s now available. Grown vegetatively from stolons (it sets no viable seed), you create a Dog Tuff™ lawn by planting plugs on 6 to 12-inch centers. Here are Dog Tuff™'s attributes:

  • It’s an extremely durable and deep-rooted grass that creates a nearly weed-proof, dog resistant lawn once well established.
  • It’s a grass that thrives in heat and survives cold temperatures down to about -20° F (Zone 5).
  • It's low-water, needing only a couple of inches of water per month in the growing season.
  • It loves all types of soils, but especially clay.
  • It grows best in zones 5-8, areas that get about 30 to 35 inches or less of precipitation annually.

Plant it in from late spring (May) into mid-July so it can grow during the heat of the summer, its favorite weather. The soft, fine texture is a delight for bare feet and paws. A warm-season grower, it’s green from April into October and has a nice straw color over the winter.

Learn More: Customer Success Planting Dog Tuff Grass Plugs

Learn More: Lawn Replacement Instructions

Shop Sustainable Lawns

  1. Bouteloua gracilis Hachita Grass Plugs, Bouteloua gracilis Hachita, Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads,...

    Learn More
    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Bouteloua gracilis Hachita
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads, it can also be mowed once a month to create a soft, inviting lawn. Quite xeric, 'Hachita' Blue Grama thrives in both sandy soils and clay! You can also interplant plugs with wildflowers to grow a colorful, low-care short grass prairie. For a turf type lawn, plant plugs 6" apart. 4" tall (15" with seed heads).

    Learn More
  2. Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff Grass Plugs

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs a...

    Learn More
    Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs and is resistant to yellowing from dog urine. Once established, this warm-season grass is highly weed resistant, deep-rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet. It only grows 2 ½-4 inches high, so you need not mow it unless you prefer a manicured look. 2015 Green Thumb Award Winner. Questions? Download our Dog Tuff ™ Grass Planting Guide.

    Learn More
  3. Buchloe dactyloides Legacy Grass Plugs, Buchloe dactyloides Legacy, Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf gra...

    Learn More
    Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Legacy
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf grass with the lush look of traditional bluegrass or fescue lawns.

    Learn More
  4. Prestige Grass Plugs after 3 months

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United ...

    Learn More
    Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Prestige
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United States. Prestige Buffalo Grass has fine soft blades with a stunning green color. Prestige Buffalo Grass is considered drought tolerant, has extremely deep roots, and requires very little supplemental water once established. It grows to a height of 4-6 inches, so mowing is optional, and dependent on the look desired. It has exceptional disease and insect resistance and a very low pollen rating.

    Learn More

by David Salman

Dog Tuff Grass
A Dog Tuff Grass lawn in Colorado.

Lawns are a permanent fixture in the US with current estimates of nearly 50 million acres under grass! Lawns support entire industries of people involved in everything from seed production and landscape maintenance to push and rider mowers.

The Yin and Yang of Lawns

But the old methods of lawn care, what we think lawns should look like and how they fit into our landscapes need to change and reflect the new paradigms of our times. We should be aware of how lawns positively and negatively affect our lives and the health of the planet.

On the positive side:

  • Lawns provide cooling to our urban and suburban areas to combat the effects of urban heat islands.
  • Lawns absorb and filter our water as it moves from the sky into the aquifers and waterways.
  • Lawns enhance the quality of our lives by providing by providing soft, cool areas to play sports, fly kites, run our dogs and have picnics.

On the negative side

  • Lawns, when cared for using traditional methods, use huge amounts of environmentally damaging chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
  • Traditional lawn care is very energy intensive and makes lawns a carbon negative part of our landscapes (more carbon is generated than is absorbed by the grass).
  • Lawns can waste water when our water resources are being stretched and depleted.
Legacy buffalo grass lawn.
A A Legacy buffalo grass lawn in Idaho.

Considering What Type of Grass to Plant

So the first thing to examine when considering sustainable, resilient lawns is what type of grass is being used to grown them. We need to consider switching from high input grass varieties and blends to ones that:

  • Use less water and fertilizer.
  • Are deep rooted.
  • Are dwarf or slower growing and need less frequent mowing.

High Country Gardens has pioneered the use of native grass varieties for low water lawns. These include:

The Scoop on Dog Tuff™

Dog Tuff™ grass, comes to us from Republic of South African at the tip of the African continent. It is a naturally sterile hybrid that was brought to the high, dry plains of southeastern Colorado many years ago by the daughter of a rancher returning from a trip to South Africa. The rancher planted the starts and has been growing a thick, lush lawn ever since. Sometime later samples of the grass were planted in Denver and forgotten. But, thanks to the efforts of Nurseryman Kelly Grummons, of Arvada, CO who called it to my attention, it’s now available. Grown vegetatively from stolons (it sets no viable seed), you create a Dog Tuff™ lawn by planting plugs on 6 to 12-inch centers. Here are Dog Tuff™'s attributes:

  • It’s an extremely durable and deep-rooted grass that creates a nearly weed-proof, dog resistant lawn once well established.
  • It’s a grass that thrives in heat and survives cold temperatures down to about -20° F (Zone 5).
  • It's low-water, needing only a couple of inches of water per month in the growing season.
  • It loves all types of soils, but especially clay.
  • It grows best in zones 5-8, areas that get about 30 to 35 inches or less of precipitation annually.

Plant it in from late spring (May) into mid-July so it can grow during the heat of the summer, its favorite weather. The soft, fine texture is a delight for bare feet and paws. A warm-season grower, it’s green from April into October and has a nice straw color over the winter.

  1. Bouteloua gracilis Hachita Grass Plugs, Bouteloua gracilis Hachita, Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads,...

    Learn More
    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs Bouteloua gracilis Hachita
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Hachita Blue Grama Grass Plugs (Bouteloua gracilis) is the most vigorous selection of this beautiful native grass from the western Great Plains. Beloved for its "eyelash" seed heads, it can also be mowed once a month to create a soft, inviting lawn. Quite xeric, 'Hachita' Blue Grama thrives in both sandy soils and clay! You can also interplant plugs with wildflowers to grow a colorful, low-care short grass prairie. For a turf type lawn, plant plugs 6" apart. 4" tall (15" with seed heads).

    Learn More
  2. Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff Grass Plugs

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs a...

    Learn More
    Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Dog Tuff Grass Plugs Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is an amazing, highly drought-resistant lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas. It has excellent durability in yards with dogs and is resistant to yellowing from dog urine. Once established, this warm-season grass is highly weed resistant, deep-rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet. It only grows 2 ½-4 inches high, so you need not mow it unless you prefer a manicured look. 2015 Green Thumb Award Winner. Questions? Download our Dog Tuff ™ Grass Planting Guide.

    Learn More
  3. Buchloe dactyloides Legacy Grass Plugs, Buchloe dactyloides Legacy, Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf gra...

    Learn More
    Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Legacy Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Legacy
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Legacy Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides Legacy) is a premium-quality native turf grass variety bred by University of Nebraska agronomists to be a drought tolerant, low care turf grass with the lush look of traditional bluegrass or fescue lawns.

    Learn More
  4. Prestige Grass Plugs after 3 months

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United ...

    Learn More
    Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Prestige Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides Prestige
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Prestige Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides Prestige) is moisture and humidity tolerant, and outperforms all other varieties of buffalo grass in the southern and southeastern United States. Prestige Buffalo Grass has fine soft blades with a stunning green color. Prestige Buffalo Grass is considered drought tolerant, has extremely deep roots, and requires very little supplemental water once established. It grows to a height of 4-6 inches, so mowing is optional, and dependent on the look desired. It has exceptional disease and insect resistance and a very low pollen rating.

    Learn More
  5. Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde Grass Plugs, Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde, UC Verde Buffalo Grass Plugs for Coastal CA and Desert SW

    UC Verde Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) produces a dense turf of soft, bright-green, very fine leaf blades. It is recommended for planting in the high heat conditions found in th...

    Learn More
    UC Verde Buffalo Grass Plugs UC Verde Buffalo Grass Plugs Buchloe dactyloides UC Verde
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    UC Verde Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) produces a dense turf of soft, bright-green, very fine leaf blades. It is recommended for planting in the high heat conditions found in the lower elevation of the desert Southwest and California. UC Verde Buffalograss It is drought resistant (xeric), requiring only 1/4 inch of water per week, and has a very low pollen rating. Growing 4-8 inches, it requires mowing only once per year.

    Learn More
  6. Blue Grass Bella Grass Plugs, Blue Grass Bella Plugs for shade and semi-shade!

    Bella™ Bluegrass Grass Plugs for shade and semi-shade are a truly revolutionary new dwarf turf bluegrass that requires 10-20% less water than traditional bluegrass. Bella Blueg...

    Learn More
    Bella™ Bluegrass Grass Plugs Bella™ Bluegrass Plugs
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $59.95 Sale $53.95
    Per Tray of 70 Plugs

    Bella™ Bluegrass Grass Plugs for shade and semi-shade are a truly revolutionary new dwarf turf bluegrass that requires 10-20% less water than traditional bluegrass. Bella Bluegrass has excellent shade tolerance (up to 80%) and doesn't require mowing as the grass blades only to grow to a height of 2 to 3 inches.

    Learn More
  7. Low Work and Water Dwarf Fescue Grass Seed close up

    Our 'Low Work and Water' Dwarf Fescue Lawn Seed Mix will create the ideal low water, low maintenance, low-growing turf grass for yards and play areas. Enjoy the beauty and benefits o...

    Learn More
    Low Work and Water Dwarf Fescue Grass Seed Low Work and Water Dwarf Fescue Grass Seed
    As low as $34.95 Sale $31.45
    Per 5 Pounds
    Our 'Low Work and Water' Dwarf Fescue Lawn Seed Mix will create the ideal low water, low maintenance, low-growing turf grass for yards and play areas. Enjoy the beauty and benefits of a turf grass lawn without all the work and water.
    Learn More
  8. No Mow Lawn Grass Seed

    Go 'green' with the 'No Mow Lawn Grass Seed mix. This ecologically sensible lawn will save you time, water, fuel and money while enjoying a deep green, thick carpet of low growing, f...

    Learn More
    No Mow Lawn Grass Seed No Mow Lawn Grass Seed
    As low as $49.95 Sale $44.95
    Per 5 Pounds
    Go 'green' with the 'No Mow Lawn Grass Seed mix. This ecologically sensible lawn will save you time, water, fuel and money while enjoying a deep green, thick carpet of low growing, fine textured turf. This specially blended mix of six different dwarf Fine Fescue grass varieties has been formulated to provide a very deep-rooted, dense turf that needs little additional irrigation (except during dry spells without summer rains). Left unmowed, the grass blades create a wonderfully soft, swirling pattern. For a more manicured look, it can be cut once every four to six weeks to a height of 3" to 4".
    Learn More
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