Which type of grass, and when to act?

My family has a fairly large back yard, and I'm afraid that it's been badly neglected. In addition to scattered sections of sparse, unmatched grass, there are patches of bare soil, moss, ivy and all sorts of weeds.
We've decided that the best course of action is to kill everything and start over. (We obviously aren't gardeners, so we'll be hiring someone.) I'm seeking recommendations for an appropriate type of grass seed, and also the best time of year to go forward with the project.
We don't want to invest more than a minimal amount of effort into maintenance, (watering, mowing, etc.) as we literally never use this yard. We would, however, prefer that it look fairly presentable when we glance out the window.
The yard contains a combination of sunny and shady areas. We're located in central New Jersey. (Zone 6, according to this map: http://www.growit.com/bin/USDAZoneMaps.exe?MyState=NJ ) We experience both droughts and long periods of rain.
Thanks in advance!
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Anyone?
I wrote:

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Peter Reynolds said:

You are going to have to invest more than a minimum amount of maintainance to get a good stand of grass. Once it is well established you can ease up on it. However, unless you want to be right back in the same situation it would be best to do some watering during droughts and at least one fertilizing each year in the fall. And irregular mowing (letting the grass get very tall and then cutting it very short) will quickly destroy a lawn.
You'd probably do best with a blend of bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass.
Check out the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service bulletins on lawns. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them online.)
http://www.rce.rutgers.edu/pubs/subcategory.asp?cat=5&sub9

--
Pat in Plymouth MI

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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Pat Kiewicz wrote:

Yes, we're willing to pay special attention, in the beginning.

We will, to the extent that we're legally permitted. During droughts, it's common for the state/county to place major restrictions on non-essential water use. This typically includes strict limitations on the days (with even and odd numbered houses alternating), times, frequency and/or duration of lawn watering. Last year, it reached the point at which lawn watering was completely prohibited.
Regardless of weather conditions, I realize that it's best to water a lawn before dawn. We had an automatic sprinkler system in the front, but we recently had our front lawn replaced with stones. (Sorry!)

We certainly can handle that.

Guilty as charged. We'll try not to let that happen again, but we'd like to obtain the slowest-growing grass available. Someone mentioned in this newsgroup that he mows his lawn once every five days during the summer, and that simply isn't a feasible possibility for us.
We don't intend to be nearly as lax as before, but we'd like to have grass that has the highest likelihood of withstanding any less-than-ideal conditions.

Can you recommend any specific brands? Also, do you have an opinion of the "Rebel Jr." blend (and similar products) that I mentioned in my reply to Marvin & Sue?

I will. Thanks very much for your help! :)
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Marvin & Sue wrote:

Thanks for the reply! :)
I've just come across mentions of grass seed blends that purportedly grow well in both sun and shade. (with a different type of grass dominating in each) An example (and I'm sure that there are many others) is a tall fescue mixture called "Rebel Jr." from Lofts. It's claimed that this brand also grows more slowly than many, (necessitating less mowing) stands up relatively well to drought conditions and retains more of its green color during the colder months.
Is any of the above accurate, or is this an overpriced pig in a poke?
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If you're going to hire someone to kill the weeds and reseed, they will know what is best for your area and climate.
The best time to undertake this project is in the fall.

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Lynn F. Russell wrote:

I'd like to think so, but I've ended up hiring too many incompetent workers to take this for granted. :)

Thank you!
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