Answer: Unfortunately, there isn't a grass type that really thrives in the shade in the low desert. St. Augustine will take some shade, but needs about 30% filtered sunlight. Zoysia will take some shade. Neither of these are "foolproof" for shady conditions, though.
Bermudagrass is the most commonly planted here for the warm season, and then it is either overseeded with ryegrass for the winter or allowed to go dormant. Both of those take full sun (at least 6-8 hours per day).
"Desert Landscaping for Beginners," 0-9651987-3-1, Arizona Master Gardener Press, has an excellent chapter on turf care for the low desert.
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