Grass Seed Vs Turf? Which is right for you?

You’re probably reading this blog because you’re thinking about renovating your lawn. You might have moved into a new property, and the grass is a mess. Or maybe you’re fed up with battling your old turf and want a quick fix? Grass seed vs turf: which is the winner for a long-lasting, gorgeous lawn that you can show off to your family and friends?

Let’s face it: we all want the type of manicured lawn we see in shows like Downton Abbey. But getting to that point of perfection requires a fair amount of work.

Whether you’re looking for a total overhaul of your existing lawn or are looking to start from scratch, the big question is always:

“Do I seed” or “Do I turf”?

This article explores the pros and cons of seeding and turfing, helping you make an informed decision about which way
is best for you.

The benefits of sowing grass

Hands holding grass seed

Let’s get straight to the point here: sowing seed is MUCH more affordable than buying
and laying turf. In general, sowing seed is at least ten times cheaper than turfing.

As a rough guide, this table will help determine the costs of grass seed vs turf in the UK in 2021:

TYPE AVERAGE COSTS PER m²
Budget turf £3+
Mid-range turf £5+
Premium turf £7+
Typical turf-laying/preparation labour costs £150-200 a day

How to lay turf

Laying turf requires a lot of preparation. Some of the associated tasks are:

  • Removing old turf/decking/paving
  • Skip hire (at the cost of around £100 up to £300 depending on the amount of discarded sod)
  • Replacing the topsoil (could be up to £30 per m²)

Of course, you can turf your lawn yourself, which will save you a considerable amount of money. But it’s a time-consuming task (if you do it right!).

If you’re considering getting the experts to do the whole job for you, you’re looking at around £500 for a 20m² lawn for turf and labour costs.

So, let’s compare that with the costs of grass seed

A jar of coins

Of course, it’s essential to acknowledge that not all grass seed is the same. It’s possible to buy cheap grass seed and get good results.

But:

Cheap grass seed is cheap for a reason: the rate of germination is likely to be low.

So, for the best results, avoid the really cheap seed. This table should help you calculate how much it may cost to seed your new lawn.

TYPE AVERAGE COSTS PER m²
Cheap lawn seed 16p
Mid-range lawn seed 26p
Premium grass seed 35p

We stock an excellent range of grass seeds at MOOWY, suitable for everyone’s budget, from our Power Lawn Grass Seed at around 26p per m² to our Premium Lawn Seed at about 35p per m².

Of course, our mid-range seed is super-efficient with a much higher germination rate than your average cheap seed.
Our grass seeds are developed by the company that produces lawn seed for FIFA, so you’ll get excellent, hardwearing results.

And remember: for premium outcomes, you need a premium seed.

But – big drawback:

Grass seed takes a while to establish

Sowing grass is at least ten times cheaper than turf. So, from a cost perspective, sowing is the way to go.

But, of course, seed takes a while to establish. With turf, you get an instant lawn.

How long does it take for grass seed to germinate?

First and foremost, you need the right weather conditions to germinate grass seed. Grass plants go dormant during the winter after the temperature drops below 10ºC – so it stands to reason that they won’t germinate in those conditions.

For the best results, wait until the ambient temperature has reached a good, consistent 10ºC, so we’re talking roughly February until October.

However:

The soil temperature is more significant than the ambient temperature. Soil takes longer to warm up than the air, so it’s always wise to use a soil thermometer, even if we’ve had a mild January.

If your soil has reached 10ºC, then we’re go!

Once you’ve sown your grass seed (check this article for the lowdown on sowing), it should germinate within ten days. You’ll see the first signs of life at ten days – but don’t walk on it yet.

How soon can I walk on a newly seeded lawn?

Feet on grass

Grass shoots are vulnerable to damage at first, so avoid treading on your new grass for at least four weeks.

And it’s best to wait a little longer before you start using it regularly – until after its third cutting, at least. This gives your new grass plants time to establish strong roots.

Cutting your new grass helps build resistance, but don’t mow it too short at first. Let it grow reasonably tall before the first cutting (around 5 inches).

Follow this table before walking on your new grass:

Grass seed sown. No visible sprouts. Avoid walking on the lawn.
First growth after 10 days. Avoid walking on the lawn.
Grass has grown to 3.5-5 inches. Mow to 3 inches weekly. Avoid walking on the lawn other than to mow.
Weekly mowing for at least 3 weeks (preferably 5) Regular foot traffic and everyday use.

So, we’re looking at around 5-6 weeks before your lawn is ready for regular use.

When can I first mow new grass seed?

Wait until the grass sprouts are at least 3.5 inches before the first mowing – 5 inches is better. If you mow too soon, your lawnmower could suck the seedlings out of the ground.

Set your cutter blades as high as possible for the first few cuttings. The general rule is:

Never cut more than ⅓ of the grass blade’s length.

Can I walk on turf straight away?

There’s certainly a bit of a waiting game with grass seed. So, how about for newly laid turf?

Surely you should be able to walk on turf straight away?

Well, no. Sorry to disappoint, but you shouldn’t walk on newly laid turf until it’s established – or you’ll end up killing the grass.

How long does it take for newly laid turf to establish?

The advantage of laying turf is that – aesthetically – you have an instant lawn.

But grass plants are only as strong as their roots.

So:

You shouldn’t walk on new turf for at least four weeks while the grass plants develop roots deep into your existing soil. This helps your grass plants strengthen and build resistance.

So, how long before I can walk on newly laid turf?

Wait at least four weeks before you submit your lawn to regular use.

Grass seed vs turf: which is the winner?

Winner's trophy

It depends on your needs, but – as you can see – it takes roughly the same amount of time to establish new grass seed as it does turf.

Grass seed is much cheaper, and your soil requires some preparation. It takes around 5-6 weeks and at least three mowings before it’s ready for regular use.

Turf, on the other hand, offers instant results. But you need to wait at least four weeks before the grass plants have developed roots.

Turf, of course, is much more expensive to buy and install.

Grass seed vs turf: which is better for smaller lawns?

Seed provides the most consistent look if you’re looking to repair your existing lawn (aka overseeding). If your lawn area is small, then seeding is probably the most cost-effective approach.

Bear in mind that there’s no instant fix either way- you have to wait at least a month before using a turfed lawn. So seed is the cheaper approach, and it doesn’t take that much longer until it’s ready for use.

Grass seed vs turf: which needs the most aftercare?

Both seed and turf require a degree of aftercare – mainly watering.
Never let the soil dry out because the grass will die.

Grass sprouts from seed are more vulnerable than turf: turf has already sprouted and established. But, either way, you’ll need to make sure that the soil gets enough water.

Check out this article for guidance on watering your lawn. Never let the soil dry out but make sure you don’t leave puddles on the surface.

Grass seed vs turf: the window for installation

Calendar diary

You can lay turf at any time of year, while you need to wait until February before you sow seed.

Turf is initially more robust in bad weather, while new grass seed can get washed away if there’s a heavy downpour before the seedlings have established. Seed can be disturbed by heavy wind, while strong wind shouldn’t affect your turf.

For these reasons, it’s better to wait for a period of decent weather before sowing from seed.

Grass seed vs turf: which is easier?

Both sowing grass seed and laying turf require preparation.

Laying turf is a lot more labour-intensive. The grass rolls are extremely heavy and usually delivered in a van or lorry.

Consider access to your back garden. No one wants to carry turf through the house to get to the lawn, after all.

Where access is poor, laying seed is – by far – the easier option.

Are you ready to get started yourself, or do you need more information?

We hope we’ve helped you decide which works best for you – grass seed
or turf? But if you have more questions, please get in touch.

We love to hear from you! Email us, and we’ll get back to you promptly.

 

The top 10 gifts for gardeners

As you know, we’re utterly potty about pottering in the gardening here at MOOWY (awful, compound pun intended). So we’ve put together a list of gifts for gardeners that we’d love to receive (heavy hint intended 🙂 ).

We love nothing better than being out in the open air and getting our hands dirty. And because we have such enthusiasm for gardening, we’ve tried literally every gardening gadget that’s ever been invented.

Which is handy, because this blog is all about our favourite gardening gadgets. So, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for that extra special gift, look no further.

We’re going to explore a range of affordable gift ideas that any gardening fanatic will love and use (rather than bung it in the bottom of the drawer).

Ready? Let’s go

1. A Mushroom Knife

A mushroom knife

You might be astonished to learn that fungi can actually be beneficial for your lawn. Letting fungi grow and live on in your garden is an excellent idea because mother nature uses these complex organisms to help decompose organic matter.

And decomposed organic matter makes excellent compost. Fungi is the only type of microbe that can decompose wood, so sticks and branches from fallen trees rely on our mushroomy friends to feed the soil.

However, you’re not alone if you’d rather have a mushroom-free lawn.

If you’re looking to eradicate the fungi from your lawn, you need a mushroom knife. This type of tool is ideal for both edible and inedible fungi, with a crafted blade that cuts the mushroom clean from the stalk and a brush for cleaning soil from the mushroom itself.

Of course, you have to know what you’re doing if you’re looking for edible mushrooms. Never eat a mushroom unless you are 100% sure you know it’s edible. Always forage for mushrooms with an expert – otherwise, you could be in for an odd, psychedelic experience or worse.

2. Engraved garden tools

Personalised Garden Gift Set

Personalised gifts are memorable and will remind the individual of your thoughtfulness each time they use their tools in the garden!

There are some tools that no avid gardener can do without:

  • Gardening gloves to protect your hands from thorns
  • Measuring trowels for transplanting and digging small sections of soil
  • Plant mister for keeping plant leaves moist when the temperature is hot, and the air is dry
  • Decent soap for cleaning all the muck off your hands after a full-on gardening session

Luckily, all of these items are packaged together in a beautiful hessian sack with this kit – each item is personalised with a beautiful engraving of your choice.

So, if you’re looking for a great set of personalised gardening tools, look no further.

How cool are these?

3. A Robust Garden apron

Khaki and brown gardening apron

As we all know, gardening can be a dirty business. Whether you’re digging, re-potting, planting seeds, or just maintaining your plants, there’s plenty of opportunities to ruin your clothes.

Therefore, a garden apron is an essential accessory for anyone who loves nothing more than getting down and dirty in the garden.

This beautiful khaki garden apron is crafted from waterproof canvas, with a large central compartmentalised pocket to hold your trowels and seed packets and, of course, your phone.

Functionality aside, we love this stylish unisex garden apron at MOOWY – in muted autumnal colours; this would make a lovely, thoughtful gift.

4. Personalised garden gloves

Personalised Gardening Gloves

Every gardener needs a robust pair of gardening gloves. It’s not so much about keeping your hands clean (although they do help, of course), but it’s more about protecting your hands while you prune and chop. And, come late autumn/early winter, summer bush growth will start dying back.

So, if you want optimal growth next year, it’s essential to prune your bushes and shrubs.
But it’s scratchy work.

These excellent personalised garden gloves are durable but breathable, with strong leather palms for maximum protection. The backs of the gloves are flexible nylon that helps your skin breathe – no more sweaty hands!

What a thoughtful gift!

5. A Golden watering can

Watering Can,Gold

Everyone loves a bit of bling!

Watering cans come in a range of sizes. Your large, multi-litre watering can is great for irrigating large areas, but the water flow from the rose spout can damage small plants and seedlings.

So, a houseplant watering can is perfect for greenhouse watering (and, of course, houseplant watering!). The spout is long and thin – perfect for reaching the soil rather than spraying the leaves.

The thin spout flow makes it easy to gauge how much water you’re providing for your plant – you can’t always tell when you water the leaves.

This funky gold-coloured watering can holds 1 litre of water and makes for a super-stylish gift for a green-fingered friend. They’ll be the envy of the neighbours in no time!

6. Garden inspiration book

There has always been this idea that giving books as a present is a bit dull. At MOOWY we think giving a book makes a fantastic gift! Especially when this book is full of garden inspiration.

7. A Funky Firebasket

Funky fire basket with palm-leaf detail

Those of us lucky enough to have outdoor space have certainly made the most of it through the intermittent lockdowns of 2020/2021.

Homes with gardens are like hot cakes on the housing market these days, providing an escape from the isolation of the home. Indeed, the garden becomes another room of the house.

Of course, the optimal time for lounging in the garden is during the day when the sun is high in the sky. However, the garden makes an excellent venue for nighttime parties, even if the temperature drops.

This funky palm leaf cast iron fire basket would make a brilliant gift for garden lovers, allowing you to sit around a dancing, warming flame into the wee small hours.

Just make sure you don’t place this little firepit directly onto your lawn – put it on a raised platform to protect your grass!

8. Soil and Light tester

Soil acidity meter

All gardeners know that you need the correct type of soil or compost for plants to thrive. So, these affordable soil and light tester kits would make a great gift for a keen gardener.

These devices help control the soil’s pH level, testing for acidity or alkalinity to help the gardener create the most hospitable home for their plants.

Acidity is often localised – one part of the garden could have high acidity levels, making it great for acid-loving plants such as magnolias and Japanese anemones. Other areas might have more alkaline soil, making it perfect for geraniums, lavender, and dianthus.

Soil acidity can be affected by other plants. For example, pine needles that drop from pine trees make the soil acidic below the tree. You can add Lawn Lime to acid soil to neutralise it.

So, a soil and light tester gift helps your friend or family member identify where to plant their veg and bedding plants for the best chance of success.

9. Aerator sandals

Lawn Aerator sandals

Aerating your lawn is one of those essential garden tasks that lots of gardeners dread. If they have a large lawn, aerating can take forever. However, failure to regularly aerate the soil causes the earth to become compacted, making it difficult for deep grassroots to spread.

And strong roots make for healthier lawns.

These lawn aerator sandals might look a bit out of place on your average Paris catwalk, but they fit in nicely as part of your gardening arsenal. And any keen gardener will appreciate these in their Christmas stocking.

Lawn aerator sandals strap onto your shoes – the spikes on the bottom aerate the soil as you walk around your lawn.

They might look like torture weapons, but grass loves them!

10. A Bee hotel

Ceramic Bee Hotel

Our bees are facing an enormous crisis. Much of their natural habitat has been lost to urban buildings over the last 60 years, so our most essential pollinators are under serious threat.

Compounded by harsh pesticides, bees really are experiencing their nadir.

All gardeners love bees. They pollinate our crops and flowers and help the ecosystem of our gardens to flourish. So, this fabulous bee hotel would make a brilliant gift for your gardening chums – and, of course, the bees.

OK – it might not have a pool and room service, but bees just need a safe place to live and thrive. Because a healthy bee population keeps the human population intact, after all.

Get in touch

Hopefully, our list of fantastic garden gift ideas will make future birthdays and Christmases that little more straightforward. But if you know of a brilliant item that we’ve missed, please let us know, and we’ll include it in our list.

Get in touch with questions and suggestions at hello@moowy.co.uk. We love hearing from you!

Thanks for reading.

 

This is how to keep your lawn in shape this summer

Ahh, the British summer – that most unpredictable of nature’s gifts. T-shirt tans, knotted hankies, and beautiful, seemingly endless days of scorching heat; followed by monsoon-like downpours that flood our lawns and ruin summer get-togethers.

It’s true to say that your lawn sees a lot of weather during a typical British summer, so how DO you keep it looking green and luscious throughout this most tricksy of seasons?

Grass grows faster in the summer and needs some special attention. So, in this article, we’re going to explore how to keep your lawn in perfect shape with expert summer tips that result in fantastic results every time.

Ready? Let’s get to it.

Summertime watering – what time is best?

Probably the most significant challenge during hot spells is the lack of rain. When your lawn needs water, it lets you know by turning an unattractive shade of yellowish-brown. Grass needs around 2.5cm of water each week during the summer so, if the skies aren’t providing, we need to get the hosepipe out and give the lawn a good drenching.

The best time of the day to water is the morning; well before the sun hits its hottest around 3 pm. This gives any water laying on the leaves time to evaporate to prevent scorching and plenty of time for the surface water to penetrate down into the roots.

Avoid watering in the evening because your lawn is likely to remain wet overnight, promoting fungi and disease.

Summertime watering – how often?

A sprinkler spraying water over a lawn

Never overwater your lawn because it makes the roots lazy and the plant less drought-resistant.

Decent intervals between watering forces the grass’s roots to burrow deeper into the soil to seek out water – this is good for the plant’s longevity.

Deeper roots strengthen the plant and will help keep the grass green even during periods of minor drought.

Water twice a week to a total of 2.5cm, including rainfall. We realise it’s difficult to know how much water that actually is in real terms – I mean, do you stand there with the hosepipe for ten minutes or an hour?

How to calculate 2.5cm of water

The easiest way to gauge the amount of water you need is to use a sprinkler. Leave a rain gauge (or a cup will do) on the lawn while you sprinkle and measure how long it takes to fill the gauge to a depth of 2.5cm. For the most accurate reading, use three cups placed at varying distances from the sprinkler, and measure the average.

If it takes half an hour to reach 2.5cm of water, then run your sprinkler twice a week for fifteen minutes each time.

What about totally scorchio days?

After sweltering days – where the mercury hits the 30s – provide a light sprinkling in the late afternoon (once the sun has started dropping) to help cool the lawn down. (but only if the grass is looking a little limp and tired).

Remember:

Watering a little every day makes your lawn’s roots lazy. Leave intervals between watering to encourage root depth and drought-resistance.

Mow the grass regularly but not too short!

Lawn mower and tools

Regular mowing is the key to a beautiful lawn because it forces the plant to produce more blades of grass from each crown (aka “tiller”). Mowing at least once each week in the summer ensures a thicker lawn as it grows back.

However:

Mowing Tip #1:

NEVER mow more than ⅓ of the leaf – this causes the plant to lose essential moisture and stored sugars. Cutting your grass too short results in yellow/brown patches and a generally unattractive lawn.

Most grasses don’t tolerate being cut too short. If you want that quintessential manicured lawn, like a golf putting green or the immaculate grounds of Downtown Abbey, you’ll need to choose the right type of grass seed, such as MOOWY’s Premium Lawn grass seed.

Mowing Tip #2:

Make sure your lawnmower blades are sharp.

Blunt blades tear the leaf, leaving a large wound on the grass blade. And hot weather causes that wound to dehydrate the grass blade quickly.

Keep your cutting blades sharp!

Mowing Tip #3:

Never mow during the hottest part of the day (3-4 pm). Mow in the morning or late afternoon.

Mowing Tip #4:

This isn’t really a mowing tip, but it is a tip on maintaining the moisture in your soil:

Keep your grass longer; that means leaving the cutting blade higher during the summer.

Longer grass:

  1. Slows the evaporation of soil moisture
  2. Keeps the earth cooler
  3. Absorbs more morning dew

Fertilising grass in the summer

Your summer lawn probably sees the most action: garden parties, sunbathing, ball games, mowing, heat, drought. In short, a summer lawn needs resilience.

All plants need feeding for optimal growth, appearance, and longevity, and your lawn is no different. Use a summer fertiliser, such as MOOWY’s Easy Mow fertiliser, to give your grass the nourishment it needs to see the summer through.

Our Easy Mow fertiliser contains 60% organic and slow-acting nitrogen, which helps maintain a deep, rich green colour while boosting the grass plant’s natural ability to photosynthesise for food.

But:

Be careful to avoid over-fertilising your grass because it stresses the lawn. Always read the instructions on the packet.

A few summertime fertiliser tips:

  • Never spread the fertiliser when it is warmer than 25 degrees – this can cause scorching.
  • Fertilise in the evening on warm days, but never during a heatwave.
  • Use a slow-release, slow-acting fertiliser, preventing leaf scorch. Slow-release fertilisers mean that you only need to fertilise every 4-6 weeks.
  • Mow the lawn before you fertilise so that the feed reaches the base of the plant more easily
  • Fertilise only when the lawn is dry. Otherwise, the fertiliser will stick to the leaf, causing it to burn.
  • Water your lawn immediately after fertilising
  • Respect the recommended amount to use. More fertiliser is not a greener lawn!
  • Fertilising only works on actively growing grass. If the grass is dormant (due to drought stress, for example), it won’t absorb the nutrients.

Strimming and trimming lawn edges

Person using a lawn edging tool

It’s all very well having a beautiful lush lawn (and if you follow our tips, that’s precisely what you’ll have!), but most grass varieties are creeping plants that spread quickly.

If you’re not careful, your grass will spread into your flower beds, so cut the edges with a strimmer or edging tool. Not only does it prevent spread, but it makes the edges look much neater – win-win.

Trim the edges of your lawn every eight weeks for best results.

Remove weeds

If you take good care of your lawn, you’re less likely to see weeds growing within the texture of the grass. A healthy, well-fertilised, regularly mown lawn doesn’t give weeds a chance.

However, some weeds do creep in every now and then. If you’ve let the lawn go a bit, then you’ll probably need to scarify.

But, if you have just a few weeds, you can remove them by digging them out of the earth with a knife. Make sure you remove the whole root system; otherwise, they’ll just return.

Fill in the holes in your lawn with a little compost or garden soil, and cover with MOOWY Quick Repair grass seed.

Keep the new seed moist, and after a week, fresh grass will appear.

Explore Our Help & Advice Page

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our expert tips; use them to keep your lawn in shape during the summer.

We have plenty more tips and information about achieving and maintaining the perfect lawn on our Help & Advice page.

Thanks for reading.

Is Your Grass Type Right for your Garden?

If you want the perfect lawn, you need to choose the grass type for your garden. But all grass looks the same, right?

Wrong.

This article will help you identify the predominant grass species you have in your existing lawn. And we’ll explore which species is more likely to thrive in your garden based on climate and soil type.

So, get comfy. We’re about to learn all about grass species.

 

Identifying your hardiness zone

Now, we’re suddenly going all American for a moment, because we don’t tend to consider the UK to have different climate zones like they do in the US. In the United States, they have three principal climate zones for grass (or Plant Hardiness Zones):

Warm Season grasses grow better in the south
Cool Season grasses grow better in the north
And across the middle of the mainland, there’s the Transition Zone (where you choose between Warm and Cool grasses depending on your proximity).

The US is MUCH bigger geographically than the UK, of course, and we don’t really have the same degree of climate variation across our island. However, the north of the UK is noticeably cooler than the south (in both temperature and edginess!).

For the most part, our climate is most similar to the US Cool Season grass zone.

 

USDA Plant Hardiness

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) define the Warm/Transition/Cool zones and, although this is a North American standard, it has been largely adopted worldwide to help gardeners understand the land they cultivate.

The hardiness zones are defined by the ten-year average in weather conditions, so – in a country as meteorologically diverse as the UK, there’s a little more to it than a horizontal slice between the north and south.

What are the USDA Zones in the UK?

Depending on which source you use, the UK’s hardiness zones are defined as between 6 and 9, although The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) defines the entire UK as Zone 7.

However, we must remember that we’re an island – and coastal weather is different from inland.

Map of the UK's USDA hardiness zones

Here, you’ll see the weather climate zones, from 7 to 9 (with a few 10s on the coast of the Republic of Ireland). Our climate is defined by cool (but not fierce) winters and warm (but bearable) summers, with a frost-free season between early spring and late autumn.

Essentially, the lower the zone number, the lower the average temperature. These zones are used to identify how well any plant will withstand the colder temperatures during the winter.

So, take note of your zone as you read on. (If this all sounds a bit over-complicated, don’t worry: MOOWY offer seed mixes that proliferate throughout the UK, regardless of the zone. More about that later).

OK, all the geeky weather stuff out of the way; onto your existing lawn!

 

What type of grass do I have in my garden?

Most of us inherit a lawn. That’s not to say it gets left in someone’s will, of course – we just mean that you inherit a lawn when you move into a property. So, most of us don’t have a great deal of control over the TYPE of grass we currently have.

But this article is all about finding the correct type of grass for your garden, so if you’re dissatisfied with the quality of your grass, there’s a high chance that’s it’s not thriving because it doesn’t suit the conditions.

A rule of thumb for the best quality lawn: seed mixes are best because they have the most significant level of resistance and robustness.

Perennial Ryegrass

Most lawns in the UK are mainly perennial ryegrass, a hard-wearing species that can tolerate warm sun and minor drought conditions. It germinates quickly and handles the frosty snap of British winters.

However:

Ryegrass alone might become clumpy and patchy if you don’t look after it. And – after a while – these lawns begin to thin out and develop bald spots.

The principal features of perennial ryegrass are:

  • Perfect for cool-season regions – that’s mild winters (as in the UK) and warmish Summers.
  • Fast germination (so good for overseeding)
  • Withstands minor shady spots
  • Minimal maintenance (other than fertilising)
  • Tolerant to heavy use

Perennial ryegrass has poor disease resistance and is a slow spreader. Once damaged, it’s reluctant to bounce back, so a seed mix (like one of MOOWY’s mixes) will help to boost your lawn’s resistance.

What does it look like?

Perennial ryegrass, long and unmown

Perennial ryegrass thrives in USDA zones 2 to 8 and has medium- to dark leaves, with a fine-leafed texture. It grows densely and tends to maintain its good looks after heavy use.

To maintain the health of perennial ryegrass, it’s important to fertilise your soil regularly.

Red Fescue

Red fescue thrives in USDA zones 8-10, so it works well in warmer parts of the UK. With a deep root system, red fescue is particularly resistant to heavy use and drought conditions (once established).

Red fescue struggles with intense heat, but – unfortunately – we don’t get a lot of that in the UK. It goes brown and dormant in high temperatures or heavy humidity, but it will rebound once the conditions are more suitable.

Red fescue grows quickly and spreads well, and is remarkably tolerant of sandy soil.

The principal features of red fescue are:

  • Very deep roots, making it resistant to drought
  • Particularly pest-resistant
  • Copes well in moderate heat – perfect for warmer parts of the UK, particularly zones 8 onward

What does red fescue look like?

Red fescue with a single red poppy

Red fescue is characterised by its very fine blades and a deep, attractive emerald green colour. This species spreads quickly via rhizomes (underground stems) which helps the grass recover from damage.

Red fescue can be cut shorter than perennial ryegrass, so it is particularly recommended for ornamental lawns but is commonly found on golf courses and recreation fields.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Much like red fescue is not red, Kentucky Bluegrass is not blue. And despite its name, Kentucky Bluegrass is native to Europe and North Africa.

So, that’s confusing, isn’t it?

Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) has what is described as a broad, “boat-shaped” leaf and has a rich, deep, dark green colour. It’s tolerant of heavy use and goes dormant during periods of drought. It turns dry and brown in the summer unless you water it.

This is your cooler climate grass type and does well in USDA zone 7, so it grows most vigorously during the spring and autumn. Because it favours moderate heat and can withstand British winters, KBG is particularly recommended for northerly UK climes.

Kentucky Bluegrass needs quite a high level of maintenance to keeps its healthy look.

What does it look like?

Well mown Kentucky Bluegrass lawn

The leaf is described as “boat-shaped” – however, think canoe rather than cross-channel ferry. It just means that the species is broad-leafed.

Kentucky Bluegrass is winter-hardy, but it’s not a fan of drought, so it will require watering during the summer to maintain its beautiful dark green colour.

So, what type of grass should I choose?

The Weather

Think about your weather first. Perhaps what characterises the British climate more than anything is its unpredictability.

But:

We could consider some cliches as rules of thumb:

  • The warmest part of the country is the South Coast.
  • The wettest part of the country is NOT Manchester, contrary to popular belief. Swansea and Plymouth are the wettest cities in the UK; Manchester is the 17th!
  • Coastal towns are windier than inland towns and cities.

Check your weather conditions here.

Your soil type

Soil types are different all around the country. In fact, soil conditions can change from street to street.

When you consider your soil, think about its density. Heavy clay holds onto water and doesn’t drain quickly. Sandy soils dry out very easily (regardless of the amount of local rain you experience).

Choose a grass type that tolerates drought well if you have sandy soil. If you have a heavy clay soil, think about giving it a hand with drainage. Find out how here.

Consider a grass seed mix

Ultimately, like a pedigree dog, mixing species offers greater resistance to disease (and drought). But never allow a dog to experience drought!

Seed mixes offer the best of all worlds, but getting the mix right for yourself can be tricky.

Luckily, you don’t really need to worry because you can get premium seed mixes from MOOWY. We’ve expertly blended grass species that accommodate the entire UK climate.

 

Power Lawn

MOOWY’s Power Lawn mix has a high percentage of perennial ryegrass (80%), mixed with red fescue to improve resistance. This seed mix is suitable for all UK climate zones and produces a Premier-League quality turf.

As the name suggests, Power Lawn grass seed proliferates and keeps going regardless of the pounding you might give it throughout the year. The 20% mix of red fescue provides hardiness to heavy use.

Premium Lawn

Our Premium Lawn grass seed is a high percentage mix of red fescue (75%), which tolerates shorter mowing. So, if it’s that classic, manicured look you’re hoping for, Premium Lawn is your mix of choice. The other 25% is a mix of perennial ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass, making this mix hardy and perfect for all UK climates and soil types.

Remember, red fescue does best in moderate heat, so if you’re in the hottest parts of the UK, it might get scorched. However, the mix with perennial ryegrass and KBG gives it more resistance, and it should cope in even the warmest regions.

Quick Repair

As the name suggests, MOOWY’s Quick Repair grass seed is especially recommended for overseeding and replenishing the bald spots that appear in high-percentage perennial ryegrass.

With an 80% mix of perennial ryegrass, Quick Repair germinates and establishes quickly. But it’s the 20% mix of red fescue that offers greater structure, density, and resistance to drought and disease.

Designed for overseeding, this seed mix does well in all UK climate zones. It’s also recommended for starting new lawns from scratch.

Shade & Sun

One of the big problems with many British gardens is the lack of sun we experience – or (perhaps, more precisely) the inconsistency of sunlight.

Even if your lawn is south-facing and open, sunshine often struggles to penetrate rain clouds, even during the summer.

So, Shade & Sun grass seed has been developed to thrive in both full sun and shaded areas.

The high percentage of red fescue gives this seed mix its shade tolerance, while the perennial ryegrass (40%) offers speedy growth and Kentucky Bluegrass (10%) provides structure and strength.

Again, this seed mix is perfect for all UK zones but does particularly well in cooler, northern climes.

Sport & Fun

Our Sport & Fun grass seed is a mix of perennial ryegrass (60%), red fescue (35%), and Kentucky Bluegrass (5%).

This is our most robust seed mix, offering the best all-round results regardless of soil type, climate, and region.

If your lawn experiences high levels of use, then consider Sport & Fun the perfectly balanced mix of grasses to maintain beauty, colour, and texture, regardless of the service it provides.

All Grasses Require Feeding

If you want a beautiful lawn, it doesn’t matter what type of seed you choose unless you commit to a regular feeding routine.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to sowing grass seed for the best results.

Keep a lookout for our expert’s guide to fertilising your lawn. Coming soon!

Get in touch

Hopefully, you feel better informed about your grass type, but if you have more questions, we’d be very happy to help.

If you have any questions, email us at hello@moowy.co.uk. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading.