Lawn Seed or Instant Turf?
Author: Stefan Palm Date Posted: 11 August 2021
With Spring fast approaching, and after a long, wet winter, many people will have landscape projects that are ready to go. One of the questions you may be asking is whether you should sow seed or roll out turf?
25 years ago, for every ten customers, nine would buy lawn seed and one would buy roll-out turf. Today, more than 95% of our customers choose turf as opposed to seed. While this shift has largely occurred off the back of convenience, it's interesting to consider the pros and cons of each.
Lawn seed always has and always will be a viable option for establishing a lawn. There is no reason why you can't get the same result as you would with turf, and for a lot less money.
Let’s talk some more about money because it's one of the core reasons people choose seed over turf. Seed will cost you on average 10% of the cost of turf and that’s significant in anyone’s language. To cover an area of 50 m2 in turf, it will cost you around $500-$600. The same area in seed will cost less than $50 so it makes sense to consider seed if money is tight.
In addition to the cost savings, seed is easy to buy and easy to sow, the only effort being to broadcast it over your prepared soil and rake in. Beyond that though, you will need to set aside some extra time to get it to germinate and establish. Seed needs more frequent watering initially and you’ll need to tackle the inevitable weeds that will compete with the lawn for the beautiful, fresh soil bed you prepared for it. Birds will eat their share and some won’t germinate so you’ll most likely need to over sow at the 6-week mark. From the time you sow till you get maturity is generally around the 10-12 week mark.
Seed in a nutshell:
- Saves money
- Is easier to sow seed than roll out turf
- Will get you the same result as turf but will take longer
- Requires more frequent watering during establishment
- Will need to be re-applied (over sown)
- Is best done between September and April
If time isn’t a problem and you don’t mind putting in some extra effort, give seeds a go. You might be surprised by how effective it is. If you want some tips on how to go about it, click here to watch our DIY seed sowing video.
If you’ve rolled out turf before, you’ll know it will transform your landscape project into a green oasis in a matter of hours and that’s the main attraction with turf. Done properly, it will look awesome straight away and will look like it’s been there for years within a few weeks. While it will need frequent watering while it establishes, it's nowhere near as sensitive as seed. While it's best to roll out turf during the warmer months, you can actually do it any time of year, unlike seed which is best sown in Spring and Autumn. It’s also worth mentioning that there are far more types of turf than there are varieties of seed. Most of the newer varieties of lawn are hybrid types meaning they are sterile and can’t be sown from seed. These include new generation varieties of couch, kikuyu and buffalo.
Turf in a nutshell:
- Higher cost
- More varieties available
- Instant results
- Suppresses weeds
- Can be rolled out any time of year
- Fast establishment when rolled out in the warm seasons
For more information on how to roll out instant turf, watch our DIY turf installation video.
If you want my opinion, I think turf has it hands down for convenience, instant results and more improved varieties to choose from. Having said that, I totally understand why you’d choose seed. It makes a lot of sense if you’re not in a hurry and would rather spend your hard-earned somewhere else!