Choosing the best lawn for your landscape project in Perth.
Does your lawn resemble a very large sand-pit – but not one you would let small children play in?
That is more common than you might think in Perth, due to its sandy soils and hot temperatures, but choosing the right lawn type for a new lawn install can transform your property into a lush green oasis anyone would be happy to play on!
So how do you go about choosing the right lawn type for your property?
Here are some things to consider…
• Your Area – is it shaded or hit by mostly direct sunlight? Certain types of grass, such as Buffalo, do well in shaded areas, while most are happy with plenty of sun. If your area is too heavily shaded it often won’t support a lawn, so you might have to consider paving, mulching or alternative ground covers – probably best to consult a landscaper first.
• Time Input – How often are you able to mow your lawn? Varieties like Kikuyu or Couch requires regular maintenance, while Zoysia or Palmetto need much less frequent mowing.
• Water Requirements – Is water-saving important to you? Many lawns can survive with 2 watering’s per week in summer, but lawns like Buffalo grass prefer much more water than zoysia, couch and kikuyu do.
• Water Availability – Do you run off a bore or scheme water? Perth watering laws allow bore systems 3 watering’s per week and only 2 for those on scheme water. If you have less water availability are you happy to pay for excess water and installing an irrigation system?
• Budget – Instant turf is more expensive but much less time and effort goes into the lawn install – with much less maintenance in the short term. If you want to grow your lawn from runners, it is dependent on the season and during the establishment period requires regular watering, weeding and a lot of monitoring. If you plan on being away or your schedule doesn’t allow you time for watering, an automated irrigation system is a must. The cheapest lawns are Kikuyu and some Couch varieties, while Buffalo and Zoysia are pricier – this is due to the speed of which the grass grow, obviously the faster they grow the cheaper they will be to produce.
• Aesthetics – The colour and feel of the lawn are important to consider, for example, if you will have children playing on your grass, the softer Buffalo or Zoysia would be a good option as well as Couch and Kikuyu; some older varieties of Buffalo grass can be irritating.
• Size – The larger the area the more you will have to take all the above points into consideration as it will affect everything from time, to budget and water use.
• Sustainability – Environmental factors such as water and fertiliser use might be important to consider if you want to keep your impact to a minimum. Palmetto lawns will need less maintenance and fertiliser then a Couch would, alternatively you could use groundcovers as an alternative.
The common lawn varieties you will find in Perth are:
Palmetto and Sir Walter Buffalo (Botanical name: Stenotaphrum secondatum)
PROS: These have a gorgeous green colour almost year-round and are good in lightly shaded areas. They also don’t have rhizomes or underground roots that can cause problem by invading your garden beds. Less expensive to maintain.
CONS: Use more water, more expensive and doesn’t recover as quickly once damaged as well as other types of grass.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Small to medium gardens with good water availability and budget, and for families with children.
‘Wintergreen’ Couch Cultivar (Botanical name: Cynodon dactylon)
PROS: Tolerates winter cold better then common Couch and has soft fine leaves. Cheaper to install.
CONS: Loses colour in winter if not maintained properly, tolerates broadleaf herbicide, and has invasive rhizomes so needs care taken so it doesn’t spread. Costs more to maintain then other varieties of lawn.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Suburban homes with low water use and a smaller budget.
Zoysia ‘Empire’ (Botanical name: Zoysia species)
PROS: Soft foliage, tolerant of drought conditions, low mowing requirements.
CONS: More expensive and slower to establish and recover from any damage.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Small to medium gardens, areas with light shade and families with children.
Kikuyu (Botanical name: Pennisetum clandestinum)
PROS: Cheap, drought resistant, very fast growth, quick damage recovery and soft foliage.
CONS: Needs lots of mowing and maintenance – sometimes weekly in summer, invasive rhizomes.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Large areas like farm gardens and sports areas.
Common lawn problems to be aware of:
• Soil wetting problem – when water cannot penetrate, usually in sandy soils (Hydrophobic soils)
• Weed problems – these develop when the lawn is unhealthy so be careful to maintain well with regular watering, mowing and fertilising
• Browning – this occurs during winter dormancy. Perth lawn varieties are mostly of tropical origin so grow slowly in our colder months of June – August. If kept in good condition, especially during autumn, they are in a better position to tolerate the cold.
• Reticulation faults – this is often a problem with a pop-up or incorrect setup of the controller. If it wasn’t installed by an expert there can even be uneven watering due to incorrect spacing of the sprinklers. Get one of our experts to come check it out for you.
If you are still struggling to decide on the right grass for your landscape project lawn install you might want to book in a consult with one of our expert landscapers – they will make sure you have the correct lawn and can even arrange to get it installed for you.