How to Choose Between Seed and Turf

Not sure whether seed or turf is the way to go when growing your lawn? Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each and decide which groundcover option will work best for your outdoor space.
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Buy Large Amounts of Grass Seed to Cover Lawn Area

Buy Large Amounts of Grass Seed to Cover Lawn Area

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover ©2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover , 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Seed is the cheapest method of establishing a lawn and is best sown in early fall or midspring — it will require copious watering if sown in summer. You may need to deter birds by using netting. There are many seed mixes available, including those for shady and damp areas and others that are particularly hard-wearing, so you will easily be able to find a mix to suit your site. Keep in mind that seed can become stale and unusable over time if stored.

Advantages of Seed

  • The cheapest method of creating a lawn
  • There is good selection of different seed mixes available for difficult sites
  • Seed sowing is not as heavy work as lifting turf

Disadvantages of Seed

  • Grass seed can take a long time to establish
  • Some weeds germinate more quickly in the ground than grass seed and will compete with the seedlings for nutrients and light
Sod is Popular Choice for Creating Lawn

Sod is Popular Choice for Creating Lawn

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover ©2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover , 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Turf is a popular choice since it provides you with an "instant" lawn and can be laid most of the year, although extreme periods of cold or hot weather should be avoided. Ideally, turf should be laid almost immediately after it has been delivered, but if this isn't feasible, unroll the pieces and keep them regularly watered and out of direct sunlight. The soil will need less preparation than for seed sowing. It doesn't have to be reduced to as fine a tilth.

Advantages of Turf

  • It creates an attractive instant lawn effect
  • It can be walked on about a month after laying
  • It can be laid in winter when there are fewer gardening jobs to do

Disadvantages of Turf

  • Turf is a more expensive option than grass seed
  • There is less choice in the selection of varieties
  • Laying turf can be hard physical work — not advisable for people with bad backs

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