Laying a New Lawn: Turf or Seed?

If your lawn has been abused by years of heavy use and neglect it may be worth re-laying the lawn to bring your garden back to life. A quality well-kept lawn can make time spent in the garden during the summer months more enjoyable and at the same time add value to your home. It takes time to create a new lawn, but if done properly a new lawn will last a life time.


There are two options available when looking to create a lawn; lay pre-grown turf or grow your lawn from seed. There are pros and cons to both methods but whatever option you decide upon, the advance preparation needs to be done thoroughly.




Turf is the quickest method and should be laid from autumn to spring, except when the ground is frozen or muddy. Laying turf in late spring or summer is risky business as it may not ‘take’ properly in hot weather and will need a lot of water just to keep it alive. The best option is to lay in autumn as the lawn won’t be used during the winter months, giving it time to ‘settle’ in.


The downside to turfing is that it can be expensive as decent turf costs roughly as much as carpet. Depending on the size of your lawn it can also be very time consuming.


If you decide to buy pre-grown turf than the best type we recommend to use is cultivated turf. Meadow turf is cheaper but is often full of weeds and a job lot may contain a few turves that cannot be used because they have bare patches or are of uneven thickness. The most important thing to remember when buying turf is to consider the intended purpose of your lawn. If your lawn is to be used as a playground for the kids or if you have a dog; buying expensive turf would not be advised.




When you think of growing grass from seed you will probably think that it takes too long, as you have to stay off it for months while it grows. This is true, but if you sow in the autumn, you will have a perfectly usable lawn come the spring. This is definitely a good option to consider especially as you probably wont be using your lawn much during the winter anyway.


Sowing during the spring time is also possible but it will take around 3 months before you have a usable lawn; just at the time of the year when you want to use it most. If a spring start is your only option then buying turf would be the way to go.


Choosing seed over turf gives you a greater freedom to choose the type of lawn that best suits your needs as you can select a variety of seed that’s perfect for your situation. You can get grass seed that suits dry of shady positions, or which jas wildflower seeds already mixed into it. For family use, choose a hard-wearing mixture containing one of the modern ornamental ryegrasses like ‘Hunter’. They look good and don’t send up spikey seed-heads.


Turf v Seed Comparison Chart


Cheap,Good turf is expensive
Extensive range of seed mixes,Very limited choice
Easy to handle,Can be muddy and heavy
Takes approx 3 months from sowing to a finished lawn,Turf looks good instantly and is useable within 3-4 weeks
Weeds may outgrow the grass,Turf smothers weeds as it establishes
Dependent on good growing conditions,Only requires watering
Needs protection from birds/cats,No protection required
Seed can be stored for when the time is right to sow,Turf has to be used within 2 day of delivery[/table]



SE Landscape Construction Ltd are a landscaping and driveway contractor based in Essex. Our experienced team of landscapers regularly install turfing to clients throughout the Essex area. Our turfing installation service will transform your tired looking lawn and dramatically improve the look of your garden. For a free consultation call our friendly team today on 01245 80 71 80.



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Will Crozier, Managing Director

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