When choosing a grass variety for your lawn, it can be hard to know which is the best option. No grass type is perfect – they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Whilst no grass type is perfect all round, there will be a perfect choice for you and your circumstances.
There are a wide range of soil types and climates in Australia, so what’s great for a Darwin backyard isn’t going to be the same for a Hobart backyard. Then there’s personality differences. If you’re the kind of person who will gladly spend hours trimming their pristine front lawn with nail scissors just to make the neighbours jealous you might be able to maintain a more temperamental lawn than the time-poor family who need a place for their kids to play.
Here are the main grass varieties for lawn and who should choose them.
Couch is a fine leaf grass which has been a popular choice for Australian yards for a while now. It’s a nice and soft lawn which makes for a great play surface for kids or living surface for dogs.
Caring for your couch grass lawn isn’t rocket science, but it does take time. You get out what you put in with your couch grass lawn, and if you dethatch, mow, and fertilise you’ll have a spectacular lawn. If not, it may become patchy and straggly and invade areas where you don’t want it to be.
Opt for couch grass if: You’re looking for a functional family lawn and have the time and willingness to put in some effort to keep it in great condition.
You may have childhood memories of the ever-present buffalo grass lawn. It’s wide, scratchy leaves were on many a school ground and family yard. The scratchiness and irritative nature has thankfully been bred out of new, soft varieties of buffalo.
Buffalo loves the warm weather and is suited to hotter areas of Australia, it will withstand heavy traffic and doesn’t mind a bit of shade.
Opt for buffalo grass if: You’re in a warmer area of Australia, are looking for something low maintenance, and there’s going to be a lot of people or animals walking over your lawn.
Zoysia is criminally underrated as a lawn variety. It is one of the most low maintenance grasses available – it’ll grow in just about any soil, doesn’t mind the heat, and rarely needs to be fertilised or mowed. It’ll tolerate a reasonable amount of traffic, but if it gets damaged it does take a longer time to recover than other grasses.
For residents of northern Australia and particularly hot areas, zoysia is a godsend. Many other varieties won’t tolerate the climate of the tropics and subtropics but zoysia loves it. Tasmanians need not bother with this grass though.
Opt for zoysia grass if: you live in a sub-tropical, tropical, or very hot part of Australia or salty soil is often a problem for your yard.
Now for a grass for the southern regions of Australia! Tall fescue is a cool season grass which is excellent when it comes to shade, cold, and frost resistance.
Often used for pastures as well as lawns, tall fescue is a great budget option for lawn seed. If you’re trying to cover a big area or don’t have much cash to splash, tall fescue is a lovely option.
Opt for tall fescue grass if: you’re a budget conscious resident of Tasmania or Victoria.
The hard wearing nature of the lovely kikuyu grass has made it a staple grass variety of parks and sporting ovals for decades. This makes it a favourite option for families with big dogs and lively kids. It can grow in poor soil, loves the heat, and likes to be in full sun, but won’t tolerate frost.
Its quick growing nature means it springs back from any wear and tear, but it also makes it super invasive. If you don’t keep on top of your kikuyu lawn you might find that you have kikuyu all through the rest of your garden.
Opt for kikuyu grass if: Your lawn will be used frequently, frost isn’t an issue for your area, and you don’t mind getting the mower out each weekend.