One garden, four turf types!

For many people choosing the right turf type is a big decision. A professional garden designer can help you make your way through this ‘green maze’. In short all turf types have a use in the right place. Here, in an architecturally designed house in Fairfield, came a site that used all four types. Turf types are presented in order of cost from cheapest to most expensive (Nullarbor Couch, Sir Walter, Tiff Tuff and finally Sir Grange). To get a sense of what type to use and where please read along. Remember no turf type is perfect, they will all require some care…and that this article is just a personal opinion!

The first turf type used was Nullarbor Couch for the verge (in the immediate foreground, with a strip of darker green Sir Grange for comparison, used against the garden edging). This is hard-wearing turf (and to many the softest turf type) and was used for the verge due to its cost effectiveness. Its disadvantages are that it requires full sun, may let in weed seed (the ‘thatch’ formed may not be solid enough to block out other grasses and weeds), and needs regular mowing and watering in summer. But for the cost it was the best option for the verge. It looks good and given it’s full sun location will grow and wear well.
Second selection was the Bermuda grass Sir Walter. This was used for the central courtyard lawn and was selected for it’s showiness being bright green and luscious to look at. Sir Walter can grow well in full sun or part shade (but not heavy shade). It’s main advantages are it’s appearance and ability to grow thickly, therefore cutting out any competition from erratic weeds and other rouge grasses. It’s con’s are that as a thick leaved runner type grass it runs into garden beds and takes a fair amount of water/mowing/edging in summer. It is quite susceptible to lawn grubs (as are many turf types including couch), and may not wear as well as other grass types. It also feels a bit rough so if you like sitting on your lawn this may not be the one for you.
Tiff Tuff sports turf is the third selection. This fine leaved Bermuda grass is used primarily as a sports turf but actually works great in a home situation. In this case it’s been deployed for steps and has experienced a lot of traffic (the Sir Walter lawn can be seen at the top of the stairs for comparison). It’s advantages are it’s hard-wearing (even in shade) and forms a very solid thatch that doesn’t let many other grasses in. It creeps along rather than running so it is very well behaved and doesn’t require regular mowing. It’s main disadvantage is probably the cost being the second most expensive and it can feel prickly for a few days after mowing.
Our final lawn type is Sir Grange, a zoysia grass and the most expensive selection. Regardless of the expense it definitely has a place in a good garden! Sir Grange grows thick and slow, requires little maintenance and looks amazing. In this case it was selected for the feature lawn at the front of the house. Visiting the house 6 months after installing, the client had never mown the lawn and instead had only brush cut the edges. Unlike a runner grass such as Sir Walter and Nullarbor Couch the cut basalt pavers in the lawn have not been invaded by grass. It is definitely the best grass for showing off, but also great for sitting on and wears well.

If there is one thing I could say about choosing a turf type it’s to consider that the lawn, regardless of type chosen which can vary from $7-$22 m2 will cost around the same to install (add an extra $4-6m2). While a big fan of couch for it’s softness and cheapness, you may want to look at more expensive turf types particularly in terms of mowing frequencies and water requirements. When it comes to turf you really get what you paid for.

If you are interested in a professional landscape design tailored to your place, designs are available from $440 (limited to Moorooka and surrounding suburbs).

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