Which Lawns have the best durability?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 19 September 2022 

People need lawns to be durable for many reasons. Maybe there are dogs (or many dogs), perhaps the area is used a lot for sport, or maybe there is a lot of foot traffic. One thing is for sure – some lawns are more durable than others.

When helping folks decide what sort of lawn to buy, we’ll always ask, “what do you want to do with it, or what’s its purpose?” As you would expect, durability is high on most people’s list of must-haves and for good reason when they consider their reasons for wanting a lawn. There will be other factors that will influence your decision such as what you want it to look like and where you intend to plant it (sun or shade), however, durability is one factor you should carefully think through. 

Durability is what you would describe as a lawn’s capacity to withstand heavy use. It also includes how hardy it is and how well it copes with our hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. How fast it repairs itself after damage and how much wear and tear it takes to damage it in the first place also come into the equation.

What makes a lawn durable?

There are three main types of lawns available in South Australia, those being couch, kikuyu and buffalo. There are many brands and sub-varieties amongst these types (such as Kings Pride buffalo, Sir Walter buffalo, Kenda Kikuyu, Windsor Green couch, Tiftuf couch, Santa Ana couch and so on); however, I’d like to focus on what separates these types by way of durability before talking about brands so that this blog doesn’t sound like a sales pitch!

Some of the main factors that influence durability in a lawn include its suitability to our climate (in this case, Adelaide’s temperate climate), its vigour, and its physical characteristics.


Planting the right lawn in its preferred climate will have a significant effect on how durable it is. Lawns are often promoted to grow equally well across all of Australia, and this is often not the case. A lawn may thrive in one climate and not do as well in another, for example, they may prefer tropical climates over cool temperate climates. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll focus on the lawns that thrive in our mild temperate climate


Some lawns are more vigorous than others. While this is affected by climate, it is also a product of the nature of the lawn. The more vigorous a lawn is, the faster it grows. The faster it grows, the faster it can repair after damage. Of course, this leads to more maintenance, which understandably no one wants but nevertheless, it’s an interesting point to ponder. Depending on the amount of traffic you’re anticipating, you’d probably want a lawn with more vigour if you’re looking for durability. Yes, it will mean more maintenance, but it will also mean more durability.

Physical characteristics:

The physical characteristic of a lawn that most affects durability is the type(s) of runners it has. There are two types of runners, those being stolons, which spread on the surface, and rhizomes, which spread underground. Rhizomes are the types of runners that are considered invasive. Because they spread underground, they can invade areas such as garden beds. There is no doubt that this is undesirable, and it’s a factor that causes many people to steer away from lawns that have them. What I can say here is that lawns that have rhizomes are unquestionably more durable than lawns that don’t. While they are invasive and, therefore, have higher maintenance, invasive may be just what you need. For example, a lawn with rhizomes is almost essential if you have pet traffic. It’s the rhizomes that give the lawn the capacity to recover quickly while being pounded by your favourite furry friend. People often ask for a lawn that is durable and non-invasive at the same time. Unfortunately, such a lawn doesn’t exist for Adelaide’s climate. Non-invasive lawns can be durable, just nowhere near the level that lawns with runners are. 

What are the most durable lawns?

Of the three lawn types we have considered today, the most durable is Kikuyu, followed by couch (Bermuda), then buffalo. Let me explain:


Including Kenda, Fine leaf, Eureka, dwarf and sterile

  • It is very well suited to temperate climates
  • Has an extremely high level of vigour
  • Has both rhizomes and stolons
  • Grows in full sun

There is no doubt that kikuyu is an invasive, vigorous and high-maintenance lawn. It’s not for everyone but for those wanting the ultimate in durability; this is it. On the upside, it’s a beautiful grass that will stay green all year round. It’s incredibly drought tolerant, will stand up to just about any amount of traffic, and when it does get damaged, it repairs quickly.  


Including Santa Ana, Windsor Green and Tiftuf

  • It is very well suited to temperate climates
  • Has a high level of vigour
  • Has both rhizomes and stolons
  • Grows in full sun

In terms of durability, couch still has bags of it, albeit not quite as much as kikuyu. It’s not as vigorous as kikuyu and has a much finer look. It’s still great for dogs and traffic and is known to be even more drought tolerant than kikuyu


Including Kings Pride, Sapphire and Sir Walter

  • Not as suited to temperate climates.
  • Has a moderate level of vigour
  • Only has stolons
  • Grows in full sun or part shade.

Buffalo is the least aggressive of the three types here, but also the least durable. Don’t get me wrong, buffalo is still durable, just not as much as couch and kikuyu. This is mostly because of the absence of rhizomes and because it doesn’t have them, it can wear out faster and take longer to repair when damaged. On the upside, buffalo is shade tolerant where the others are not and requires the least amount of maintenance (by a long shot).

Choosing the right type of lawn for your circumstances is an essential step in any landscaping project and that's what we're here to help you do. People often ask, "what's your best lawn?" The answer of course is that all lawns are good for their own unique reasons. The best lawn is the one that fits your requirements.  If you'd like any help choosing a lawn or have any lawn questions at all, send us an email to info@paulmunnsinstantlawn.com.au or give us a call on 08 8298 0555



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