Lawn Turf Or Grass Seed: How To Make The Right Choice

  • Home
  • Turfing

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably dreaming of giving your lawn a fresh, new look. You might have recently moved into a new home and discovered a garden that’s seen better days. Or perhaps you’re just tired of playing tug-of-war with your unyielding old lawn and are seeking a fast solution.

The big question before you: grass seed or turf? Which should you choose to achieve a lush, beautiful lawn that will have your friends and family in awe?

In the gardening world, this question isn’t about choosing a winner outright. Instead, it’s about evaluating the unique strengths and weaknesses of both grass seed and turf, and determining which aligns with your garden’s specific requirements, your personal budget, and your vision for a verdant oasis.

Let’s explore both options, offering you valuable insights to guide your decision toward that ideal, picture-perfect lawn.

Common Misconceptions about Turf and Seed

Let’s first debunk some of the common misconceptions about turf and seed. These misunderstandings can steer you off course, leaving you feeling lost in your gardening journey. 

Myth 1: Turf is instantly perfect 

The popular belief is that turf gives you an instant, picture-perfect lawn. It’s true that turf can transform your garden quickly, but it isn’t without its challenges. Turf requires diligent watering and care, especially in the first few weeks after installation. Plus, it can take a few weeks to root properly, and walking on it too soon can damage your new lawn.

Myth 2: Seeds are always cheaper 

Many gardeners think that opting for grass seed over turf is always the cheaper route. In reality, the cost depends on various factors like the type of grass seed, the size of your lawn, and the care needed for establishment. Sometimes, when considering the time and effort spent nurturing a seed into a full lawn, the turf may offer better value.

Myth 3: Turf is only for professionals 

This misconception often stems from the sight of professionally installed turf at sports fields or public parks. While professional installation can ensure the best results, laying turf can be a do-it-yourself project too. With a little research and preparation, homeowners can achieve excellent results.

Myth 4: Seeding is too complicated 

People often assume that sowing a lawn from seed is a complex process reserved for experienced gardeners. But it’s not as daunting as it seems. With careful planning, the right grass seed, and consistent care, anyone can cultivate a stunning lawn from seed.

Understanding Turf

What is turf made of?

Turf, commonly known as sod, is essentially mature grass. It’s grown and harvested in patches that include the grass blades, roots, and a thin layer of soil. These patches can be rolled up and easily transported, ready to be laid out for an instant lawn.

Advantages of turf

Turf has several advantages. Firstly, it provides an instant lawn and quickly enhances the aesthetic appeal of your property. It also offers immediate soil erosion control, which is beneficial for sloped areas. Furthermore, turf is less prone to weeds since it’s mature and dense, making it hard for weeds to compete.

Disadvantages of Turf

On the flip side, turf requires a significant initial investment, making it costlier than seed. It also needs immediate care upon installation – watering, in particular, is crucial. The choice of grass types is also more limited with turf than with seed.

Common types of turf used in lawns

Several types of turf are popular among homeowners, including Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass, and Fescue.

These grass types vary in their tolerance to different climates, sunlight levels, and maintenance needs. Feel free to talk to professional turfing services in London for more information!


Understanding Turf

Understanding seed

What is seed made of?

Seeds are embryonic plants enclosed in a protective outer covering called the seed coat. They contain all the necessary materials to develop into a complex plant, in our case, grass. When sown and cared for, these seeds germinate, sprout, and grow into your desired lawn.

Advantages of seed

Seeds offer a cost-effective way to establish a lawn, making them a great option for large areas. They also offer a wider variety of grass types, allowing for customization of your lawn based on specific needs and preferences. Additionally, lawns grown from seeds tend to have deeper root systems, contributing to their long-term resilience.

Disadvantages of seed

The main disadvantage of seeds is the time they take to establish into a mature lawn. They also require careful watering and are more susceptible to environmental conditions, pests, and diseases. Additionally, the bare soil left after seeding is prone to erosion and weed invasion until the grass fully establishes.

Common types of seed used in lawns

There’s a vast array of grass seeds available, including Ryegrass, Bentgrass, and Bahiagrass. Each type has unique characteristics, with some being more drought-tolerant, some preferring shade, and others being more hard-wearing, thus suitable for high-traffic areas.

Related: The 11 Best Grass Seed of 2023


Understanding seed

Comparing turf and seed

Durability comparison

When it comes to durability, turf has the upper hand, at least initially. Thanks to its maturity, turf quickly establishes itself, leading to a strong, durable lawn within weeks. Grass grown from seeds, however, takes a while to establish but ultimately develops a deeper root system that can contribute to long-term resilience.

Cost comparison

In terms of cost, seeds are the clear winner. They are far cheaper to purchase than turf and can cover larger areas economically. Turf, while costlier upfront, offers the advantage of an instant lawn, which may outweigh the cost factor for some homeowners.

Maintenance comparison

Maintenance needs differ significantly. Turf requires immediate care – watering is crucial in the initial weeks. Seeds, however, require consistent watering until they germinate and establish. They may also need protection from birds and other pests.

Environmental impact comparison

Both turf and seed have environmental impacts. Turf prevents soil erosion immediately upon installation but requires significant water in the initial stages. Seeds, on the other hand, need less water but leave the ground exposed to erosion until the grass establishes.

Choosing the right option for your needs

When choosing between turf and seed, consider factors such as your budget, timeline, maintenance capacity, and the specific characteristics of your lawn, like size, soil type, and sunlight exposure. Each option has its advantages and may be better suited to different situations.

The choice between turf and seed isn’t one-size-fits-all. Understand the needs of your lawn and consider the local climate, the desired appearance of your lawn, and how the lawn will be used.

For instance, some grass types are better for high-traffic areas, while others thrive in specific climates. Consulting a local lawn care specialist or doing thorough research can help ensure you make the best choice for your specific needs.

Installation and maintenance of turf and seed

How to install turf

Installing turf can provide an instant lawn, but it requires preparation. First up, focus on choosing the right turf for you. The next step is to measure and clear your area. Remove any debris, level the soil, and add a layer of topsoil if needed.

Unroll the turf, staggering the joints like brickwork, and keep the edges snug. After installation, water it generously for the first couple of weeks.

How to sow seed

Sowing seed takes a bit more patience. Start with well-prepared, weed-free soil. Scatter the seeds evenly across the area, either by hand for smaller areas or with a spreader for larger ones. Cover lightly with soil, water gently but thoroughly, and keep the area consistently moist until the seedlings are well established.

How to maintain a turf lawn

Turf lawns, once established, need regular mowing, ideally with the mower set to a high setting. Water during dry periods, feed with lawn fertilizer in spring and autumn, and annually aerate and scarify. Don’t forget to address any weed or moss issues promptly. Read our blog to learn about the right time to lay the turf

How to maintain a seed lawn

A seed lawn requires similar care. Regular mowing encourages dense growth but wait until seedlings are about 5-7cm tall before the first cut. Watering during dry spells, seasonal feeding, and aeration remain critical. As seed lawns mature, they can rival the lushness and durability of turf lawns, so patient maintenance pays off!

Final thoughts 

the choice between turf and seed is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Both options have unique benefits and potential drawbacks, and the best choice for you depends on various factors, including your budget, timeframe, and personal preference for lawn appearance and maintenance.

If you’re after quick results and have a bit more to invest, the turf might be the way to go. But, if you’re budget-conscious, have the luxury of time, and enjoy the process of seeing your lawn grow, seeding could be your best bet.

Importantly, no matter which routes you choose, both require ongoing care and attention to maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn.

Remember, a lawn isn’t just a one-time investment; it’s a commitment to continuous nurturing and care. But the payoff – a lush, green space that enhances your home’s appeal and provides a tranquil retreat – is certainly worth it. 


So, take your time, weigh your options, and choose the route that best aligns with your goals and capabilities.