Are you looking to spruce up your yard with grass-based landscaping? Laying out turf is the quickest way to put up the lawn of your dreams. But, not all turf is the same.
For a successful landscaping project, you should choose garden turf that will thrive in your area. We wrote this article to help you pick out the perfect turf.
How To Choose Garden Turf
1. Soil condition
Use a soil pH testing kit to check the pH of your soil. Most types of grass do not do well in acidic soil. If necessary, you might need to add lime to the soil to reduce the acidity levels. Speak to your local garden centre or soil expert about the right type and amount of lime to apply to your garden.
Armed with information about the condition of your soil and after making the necessary improvements, you can purchase sod suited for those conditions.
If reducing the acidity of your soil is not an option, look for grass that will thrive in this type of soil. Good options are the centipede grass, Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, and carpet grass.
2. Shade tolerance
Shade can be quite challenging when you are trying to grow a lawn. Turf requires plenty of sunlight to flourish so the grass can experience shock and dry out if it is transferred to a shady area that barely receives any sunlight.
Before buying turf, it is important to know the sunlight requirements of the grass. The best shade-tolerant grasses include Zoysia and St. Augustine grass, both of which are warm-season grass. Cool-season grass that will grow with minimal exposure to sunlight include tall fescue, fine fescue, and Ryegrass.
Consider laying out turfs of different types to get a good balance of grass that will thrive both under the shade and in direct sunlight.
How you plan to use your garden is one of the most important considerations when choosing turf. You will need hardwearing turf if you have an active garden where the kids play, pets roam about, and you host visitors or hangout most weekends.
Perennial ryegrass, fescue and Zoysia grass are all-round grass that can withstand heavy foot traffic and drought. You also want turf that will keep colour throughout the year and is resistant to weeds.
Ornamental grasses tend to be high-maintenance and are more suited for golf and bowling lawns or gardens that are specifically used for hosting events and parties. Most homeowners tend to go for general-purpose turfs than the ornamental type.
4. Maintenance requirements
Think about the amount of time and resources that will go into caring for your lawn. The first time you install your turf, it will only require watering. With time, the lawn will demand more care including watering, mowing, and edging. Others will require extra fertilization and aeration.
High maintenance gardens look attractive but you need to weigh the cost of tending to your garden vs the aesthetics. You can have a good-looking garden without breaking the bank simply by choosing turfs that are suited to your climate, soil and household needs.
Examples of low maintenance grasses you can look into include fescue, Bermuda grass, centipede grass, and Zoysia grass. Some such as the ryegrass and bluegrass will require extra sun, fertilization, and irrigation to thrive.
How much are you willing to pay for your turf? Grass types range from expensive to economy options. If your garden is a high activity area, you might consider a less expensive but still hardwearing turf that is easy to tend to.
6. Pile Height
Another factor you want to look at is the height of the grass blades. This is an important consideration because it will greatly affect the aesthetics of your lawn.
Turf with longer grass blades might seem ideal to start with. But as the grass grows, the once luxuriant blades might become too long and heavy and will begin to lie flat, giving your lawn a dull look.
We recommend that you opt for grass measuring about 30-37 mm. A short to average pile height will also be more comfortable for the kids and pets to play on, and for you to place furniture on as well.
7. Quality assurance
You should inspect the quality of your garden turf before installing it. Here are some things you need to look at:
- The grass: The grass itself should be bright green and about 2 inches high. Avoid turf that lacks uniformity or one that is flat out brown or yellow as these grasses will be unable to take root and will eventually die.
Pull the blades of grass to check how easily they pull away from the compact soil. If the grass pulls out easily, it means that the root system is not yet established. Choose garden turf with grass that is firmly attached to the soil.
- Thickness of the earth: The earth or compact soil upon which the grass has been planted should be about 1 inch thick to allow roots to establish in the ground. Opt for turf that has visible, thick roots that run along the earth part of the turf.
- Moisture: Touch the underside of the sod to check if the soil is moist. The best turf is one that has been watered regularly and is, therefore, able to establish its roots in your garden. Dry turf on the other hand will have a hard time adapting to the soil in your yard.
- Critters: Opt for clean turf that is free of insects, weeds, rocks and other contaminants. Keep in mind that weed, insects, and other pests can quickly spread in your garden. This can damage your turf and result in stunted growth, browning, and withering.
There you go! Keep these tips in mind when shopping around for turf for your dream garden.
Choosing and buying turf for your garden is just the first step. Your new grass will need some care and maintenance to flourish into a lush garden that your whole family can enjoy. We’ve rounded up a few tips for caring for your garden turf.
Water your turf deeply
You should water your new grass the same day that you install it. New turf is thirsty and will need deep watering the first 14 weeks of being installed. Water your garden two times a day, preferably early in the morning and late in the afternoon for up to 30 minutes per session. During the rainy season, be sure to reduce the watering frequency accordingly.
Minimize lawn stress
As eager as you may be to walk, play and hang out in your new garden, we strongly recommend that you give the turf some time to settle and establish its roots. Ideally, you should stay out of the lawn for 2-3 weeks after installing it to give the grass a good chance of thriving.
Provide the right nutrients
New grass not only requires plenty of water but also enough nutrients. Nutrients help the grass to develop a strong root system, resulting in a verdant garden all year round.
Apply the first layer of fertilizer one month after installing the turf. Slow-release granular nitrogen fertilizer is a good choice as the fertilize breaks down slowly over a specific period every time you water the turf. Find out from your garden centre the right type of fertilizer for your lawn.
Be smart about mowing
Don’t be too eager to mow your garden as soon as you kay the new grass. Ideally, new turf needs up to four weeks to establish its roots. Give the new grass an additional two to three weeks after the growth season to start mowing. Remember to use a sharp-bladed lawn mower that will let you mow only the tips of the grass so that the pile height is no more or no less than three to four inches
A lush garden is every homeowner’s dream and installing a turf can make that dream come true quite fast. That said, a lot goes into choosing garden turf that truly speaks to your needs and hopefully, this article has made that decision easier. Remember, buying turf is a significant instalment and you should definitely take your time before bringing that grass home.
Have you bought garden turf in the past? What was the process like? Please leave ] your questions and comments below—we’d love to hear from you!