The type of grass seed that will work best for the New England lawn depends on the size of your landscaping budget. As the old landscaper used to say, "the best grass seed is sod," and he was right. When the ground is prepared correctly and sod is installed by professionals it creates a result that's hard to beat.
Most of us, though, must make do with the DIY method of obtaining a suitable lawn. This means doing the prep work ourselves. Installing the grass seed is pretty cut-and-dry once you've decided on the kind of lawn you want. If you want that sod look, good luck. First you have to find the proper / blue stem mix. It's best to contact the nearest sod farm, ask what they use for seed mix, and then be prepared to wait at least 2 seasons for a good result. Then once established, you have to water, weed, feed and mow relentlessly to keep that 'golf course' ambiance. Oh, and check your neighbor's lawn. If he doesn't have sod or a golf course-like lawn, have fun keeping his clover out of your lawn.
It's more economical to go with the available conservation seed mixtures that can be found at the local hardware or feed stores. This mixture is called 'conservation' because it will grow a holding coat of annual grass very quickly, thereby reducing erosion of the prepared lawn area. The perennial grasses come along slower and fill in where the annual grass was during the next season .
This produces a stable, diversified lawn that will require less maintenance then a sod lawn would. Why would a diversified lawn be more attractive to have? Because it can more easily cope with the versatile hot/cold, wet/dry,weather conditions found in New England. A diversified lawn can be mowed at different heights to suit conditions without suffering from the common drawbacks of a sod installation.
Some are not pleased with the texture produced by clovers in diversified or mixed lawns, but clovers add nitrogen and reduce fertilizer use. So long as it is kept properly mowed it feels just as good underfoot as that golf course sod does. It's just a matter of aesthetics. Not everyone needs a golf course in their backyard. Some of us like to enjoy relaxing on our lawns instead of all that weeding, feeding, watering and upkeep.
Not only is it more economical to maintain, it's better for the environment. Pets and children need not worry about coming into contact with harsh chemicals, and lawns kept a bit longer and need less watering, a luxury that some of us are working very hard to find alternatives for.