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How to: Choose the Right Turf for Your Project

If you are considering laying a new lawn, you will usually fall in 1 of two categories. You’ve recently built a new home or fully renovated your landscape and need to finish it off with turf. Or you’re replacing an existing lawn that has seen better days, whether it’s full of weeds, resembles a patchwork quilt or gone to the pests. In either situation, it is important to pick the right lawn for your home to prevent ripping it back up in the years to come.

Not all grass is created equal, some thrive in shade, others in full sun. Some recover quick but need lots of water. The species of lawn you end up installing should dependant on your general geographic location, the aspect of your home, your budget, and intended use. Make the wrong decision, and you could end up with an expensive wasteland.

Living in the shadows?

The availability of sunlight will have a huge bearing on the viability of your lawn in the long term. Does your garden get full sun throughout the day or is it shaded by neighbouring trees, buildings, and fences? If you’re blessed with full sun, you can choose just about any grass variety you please. But remember, the sun tracks differently throughout the year, so where the sun falls mid-summer will be completely different to mid-winter. If you’re planting up against a house, fence, retaining wall or around the base of trees, assume shade will play a bigger role through the winter months and err on the side of caution. Couch grass such as Nullarbor Couch, Blue Couch and Legend may thrive through the summer in full sun and limp through winter shaded from the low sun in the sky. In these situations, usually turf will cope for a few seasons and after 3-5 years will begin to thin. Throw in some pests such as lawn grub, and that will be the end of it. There’s no coming back from that without dedication and persistence.

Soil is the foundation of life

Check your soil before you begin. Just because you have had grass in the same position previously, it does not guarantee results. It’s best to lay new grass on a 100mm thick friable layer of quality soil. In areas of heavy clay, consider adding gypsum and sand to allow deeper root penetration. If in doubt, the best bet is enriching or replace. Fully composted organics, poultry manure, organic fertilisers and river sands can be added to improve your soil structure.

You’re so vein

How does it look? Walk around your neighbourhood and take a look at the different grass varieties in action. Alternatively, drop into our yard at 26 Sumners Road, Darra to see 5 different varieties growing together in our mini turf farm. It’s not just about how it looks, but how it feels underfoot.  How will the Kookaburra ball bounce off it on December 26th?

Fit for purpose

Everyone uses the lawn differently. It might simply be a green space to look at between the house and the road. Kid’s playground or the dog’s toilet. Whether you’re a lawn enthusiast or just keeping up with the Jones’s, the important thing is to plan ahead and choose a grass variety that’s robust enough to cope with anything you can throw at it, both now and in the future.  Maintaining a showpiece couch lawn takes hours of dedication. Weekly cylinder mowing, fertilising regimes, pest maintenance, irrigation systems, the list goes on. It might be easy now, but add in a change of circumstance and it might become a whole lot harder. The last thing you’ll want to be doing is re-turfing to cope with some new permanent house guests that hang around for 21-years!

A little hero called H20

Drought is a huge concern plaguing most of Australia and the world. Consider your local government water restriction policies, past, current, and future. Water costs money, and lawns need a whole lot of it. Water tanks are a godsend, and correctly irrigated lawns are far more efficient in delivering water to the turf with less evaporation and overspray.  When it comes to drought tolerance and water requirements, most lawns are competing on a level playing field. The reality is, although some varieties report better tolerance, such as Sir Walter and Zoysia, they all ultimately need water.

Let’s talk price

Generally speaking, the faster a turf grows on the farm the cheaper it is. Varieties such as Nullarbor Couch can be ready to re-harvest in less than 6-months allowing farm owners to sell more, faster. Other species take longer to replenish, or have higher demand, which causes higher prices.

The total cost of your new lawn is more than just the initial investment. You need to consider the cost of an ongoing maintenance program, fertiliser, pest treatments, weed treatments, water, and of course your time. Premium varieties such as Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo and Platinum Zoysia may have a higher initial investment, but in the long run might prove cheaper in your situation.

 Sir Walter BuffaloPlatinum ZoysiaNullarbor CouchLegend CouchAussie Blue Couch
Botanical NameStenotaphrum secundatumZoysia japonicaCynodon dactylonCynodon dactylonDigitaria didactyla
DescriptionWide leaf (6-8mm) with purple stolons, low lateral growth.Wide leaf (4-5mm), slow dense growth.Fine leaf (1-1.5mm), upright growth habit.Fine leaf (1-1.5mm), upright growth habit.Medium lead (2-3mm), very soft underfoot.
Shade Tollerance
Weed Resistance
Pest Resistance
Drought Tollerance
Recovery Rating
Wear Resistance
Price Rating$$$$$$$$$$
Overall Rating

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