The Best Turf For Lawns and Gardens – And How to Choose

by Daniel Hunter

So you’re replacing your old lawn or creating a new one and you’ve decided that you’re going to turf it. Now you want to know, ‘Which is the best turf?

I’ve spent the best part of 18 years;

  • Laying sports surfaces like football pitches and golf courses, and more recently
  • Laying new lawns

So I’ve tested and used more types of turf than I can count.

Choose the wrong turf and you’ll never be happy with how your lawn looks or holds up to the wear your family puts on it. Also, if your significant other is anything like mine, you’ll never hear the end of it!

But choose the right product and your new lawn look epic as soon as you lay it. It’ll also last for years (with the right care, of course!)

So what type of turf should you buy and where should you get it from?

In this article, I’ll give you my top picks and explain how to buy the correct type of turf for your lawn.

I’ll also show you a secret squirrel way of saving yourself a few quid when ordering too!

rolawn medallion

Rolawn Medallion

Best For Most Family Lawns

Rolawn Medallion turf contains a mixture of fine grasses as well as hard-wearing species. This creates a lawn that not only looks mint but also stands up to wear and tear.

harrowden turf

Harrowden Turf

A Decent Budget Option

Not so bothered about absolute perfection? Harrowden Lawn Turf is a good choice for budget-conscious lawn owners. It’ll create a neat lawn that’ll grow pretty quick.

shadesman turf

Shadesman Turf

Excellent For Shaded Lawns

Produced specifically for lawns covered by shade. Shadesman turf won’t lose its colour or vigour in areas where low light is a concern. It’s very good. Enough said.

tillers greens turf

Tillers Greens Turf

Best For Ornamental Lawns

For those who want a putting green lawn. Tillers produce thier Greens Turf to USGA tournament standards. BEWARE: This turf takes a LOT of time and knowledge to look after.

meadowmat turf

Meadowmat Turf

For Creating Wildflower Lawns

Perfect for creating a wildflower lawn that’ll attract bees, insects and birds. MeadowMat is quick to root and looks better and better year after year.

How to Choose the Best Turf to Buy For You and Your Lawn

Choosing the correct turf for your garden isn’t complicated. Still, it is important if you want your new lawn to;

  1. Look good
  2. Last over the long term

There are 3 main things you need to consider;

1. How You’ll Use Your Lawn

  • Want a family lawn that’ll stand up to moderate wear AND look epic? Then it’s worth paying a little bit extra for Rolawn Medallion. It contains finer fescue grasses that tolerate close mowing for a more formal look. It also has harder-wearing ryegrasses that’ll stand up to the wear of your kids bouncing on it.
  • If all you want is a soft area for the kids to play on, then choose a budget product like Harrowden Lawn Turf. It contains hard-wearing rye grasses that’ll stand up to that kind of wear and tear.
  • For serious lawnsmiths who want to create a bowling green lawn. Tillers Greens Turf is the daddy of them all. It’s perfect for close mowing with a cylinder mower. Beware though, it isn’t cheap and takes a lot of looking after!
  • If you want to create a wildflower meadow in your garden, MeadowMat is fantastic. It has lots of native wildflowers that attract bees, insects and birds. It’s very low maintenance and looks better and better as time goes by.

2. The Environment Your Lawn Lives In

There are two main environmental factors to consider;

The Soil

Do you know what type of soil your garden sits on? Whether its loam, sand or clay-based?

What about the pH of the soil?

Soil can become very scientific very quickly and who can be arsed with that? (Unless you’re a nerd like me!)

If you’re not interested in learning then choose either;

All these have grasses that’ll grow well in most types of soil.

If you want an ornamental lawn using Tillers Greens Turf, the best soil will be sandy and a little acidic. You can lay it on loamy soil too but it won’t do well on clay.

For wildflower turf like MeadowMat, you need crappy, nutrient-deficient soil. Wildflowers often don’t do well in nutrient-rich soil. If you’re punting for wildflower turf, remove the top 10cm of soil and lay the turf on the subsoil.

Clay-based soil can sometimes be tricky as it compacts and is prone to waterlogging. You can lay turf onto it but at the very least, you should try to rotavate in good quality sand-based soil or grit. This will help with drainage. Although, the best solution would be to remove the top 10cm – 15cm and replace it.

This can get expensive though!

The Amount of Shade

Most turf will cope well in partial shade as long as it gets a couple hours of sunlight during the day.

That said, if your lawn is always covered in shade cast by

  • Your house, garage or shed, or
  • Trees, hedges or bushes

Then a turf grown for shaded lawns like Shadesman Turf is your only option.

3. Your Budget

Turfing a new lawn can get expensive, especially when you have a large area to cover. Saving a single £1 per square metre of turf adds up when applied to a whole order.

Still, it’s best not to sacrifice quality for price. Crap turf can come riddled with weeds and weed grasses, it can be easy to tear and difficult to lay. It’ll be a pain in the ass to work with.

Just buy the best quality turf you can afford.

A Quick & Easy Way to Judge Good Quality Turf?

I spend my own money on the products in this article pretty often. So I’m happy to stick my neck out to recommend them.

That said, it’s worth knowing how to separate the good from the not-so-good.

Here’s what to look out for;

  • Sharp, straight edges – this makes it much easier to lay the turf and bond the edges together. Turf with rough edges is a sign of poor quality harvesting and is an arse ache to work with. So make sure all edges are straight.
  • Holes and tears – your turf should be free of tears and holes. If you’ve got a lot of turfs to lay then you might get the odd one with a tear in the edge and that’s nothing to worry about. If there’s a lot then again, it’s a sign of poor harvesting.
  • Equal sizes – the length, width and depth of each piece of turf should be the same. This makes it much easier to lay.
  • Free of weeds – there’s no excuse for turf that’s full of weeds. Sure, you might sometimes get the odd one or two in and that’s acceptable. But if it’s full of weeds. Don’t buy!

Turf Reviews: A More Detailed Look at My Recommendations

Like I’ve said, all the products I’ve recommended here are products I use when I turf a new lawn. So I’m happy to give them the thumbs up.

Have a mooch through them and see what you think…

Rolawn Medallion: The Best Turf For Most Family Lawns

rolawn review

For lawns that’ll cope with moderate wear and still look good, Rolawn Medallion is the bees knees. In fact, I have this turf in my front and back gardens.

Rolawn is one of the biggest names in the turf industry. In fact, they’re the official supplier of the Royal Horticultural Society. Their turf has also featured in many award-winning gardens.

Ordering is easy and their customer service is brilliant.

Their turf consists of;

  • 25% Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass – gives the turf its ability to cope well with wear
  • 45% Strong Creeping Red Fescue – tolerant to drought and resistant to pets and disease
  • 30% Slender Creeping Red Fescue – has a fine, luxurious appearance

It’s easy to lay too. The turves are straight and they’re a consistent thickness. You might get one or two with a torn or tatty edge but you could say the same about most turf.

When you prepare the ground well it pretty quick to establish and you’ll be able to use your new lawn within a few weeks.

Harrowden Turf: A Decent Budget Turf

harrowden turf review

Harrowden is another one of the UK’s big turf suppliers. If you’re on a budget then Harrowden Lawn Turf is a decent choice.

The company is easy to deal with and delivery is generally very quick. So make sure you’ve prepared the area before ordering.

It’s made of the following grasses;

  • 35% Perennial Ryegrass – is very hard-wearing and quick to grow and establish
  • 65% Slender Creeping Red Fescue – another hardy grass that has a fine appearance.

This is a budget turf so don’t expect your lawn to look like a football pitch or bowling green.

On the whole, the turfs are consistent in size and it’s easy to lay. In my experience though, it contains more Annual Meadow Grass (a weed grass) than other products. If this bothers you, choose another turf.

If all you want is a patch of grass in the garden this turf is perfect. But if you want a lawn to have that luxury look and feel, pay the extra and invest in Rolawn Medallion.

Shadesman Turf: Excellent For Heavily Shaded Lawns

shadesman turf review

If shade covers your lawn for most of the day then, in reality, Shadesman Lawn Turf is your only option.

It’s produced by Turf Online who are part of the Harrowden Turf Group that produces the budget turf above.

It’s made from;

  • 100% Supranova poa supine – started life as wild grass and spent most of its time under snow in alpine meadows. Today, domestic cultivars tolerate shady conditions very well. That said, in the deepest shade you might have to overseed your lawn every year to keep it looking its best.

Ordering is easy and delivery takes a couple of days. So get the area prepped before ordering.

Each turf is pretty much the same size and thickness so laying it is easy. That said, this is a slow-growing grass so expect it to take longer to establish and bed in than regular turf. Once it has established, you’ll have a beautiful looking lawn.

And the added benefit of slow growing grass is that you don’t need to cut it as often!

Tillers Greens Turf: Best For Ornamental or Formal Lawns

tillers turf review

Suppliers of ornamental turf are few and far between. So if you want a putting green type of lawn, it’s harder to find a supplier.

But no worries, I’ve come to the rescue with Tillers Greens Turf.

It’s grown to US Golf Association specifications. In fact, Tillers even supplied their turf for Donald Trumps Gold course in Scotland.

And if if good enough the big orange Donald, it’s good enough for us!

You can’t order online so you’ll have to call them. That said, their customer service is exceptional and the staff are very knowledgeable.

Delivery is pretty swift and the turf is easy to lay as it’s cut very straight and even. And I’ve never had a piece that was tatty, torn or had any sign of weeds or weed grasses. That’s because Tillers pick them out by hand.

That said, their are two big caveats;

  1. It’s expensive, and
  2. It takes a LOT of looking after

If the thought of;

  • Mowing every day
  • Scarifying on the regular
  • Aerating often
  • Feeding,
  • Weeding and
  • Verti-cutting

Makes you want to cut your own hands off, then you shouldn’t even think about buying this turf.

But if you’re a serious lawnsmith who has the knowledge the hours of time it’ll take to look after it, then go for it.

It won’t cope well with the kids playing football on it. Only lay it in formal gardens where the lawn has little use.

If you have a formal garden and you want a masterpiece of a lawn, there is no better turf.

MeadowMat: Creates Beautidul Wildflower Meadows

meadowmat wildflower turf review

If you’re designing your lawn to be a little wilder, then MeadowMat wildflower turf is a brilliant option.

Rather than typical lawn grasses, MeadowMat features 34 species of grasses and wildflowers. Together, these create the most colourful display during spring and summer.

It’ll attract bees, butterflies and insects which, in turn, attracts birds.

During autumn and winter, they turn into very pretty seed heads. After which, they fall to the ground and create the next year’s blooms. Every year, your wildflower area will get thicker and more colourful.

Beware though, Wildflower turf is expensive. Over 3 times more expensive than regular turf.

To illustrate, Rolawn Medallion turf costs around £120 for 20m2. MeadowMat costs around £400.

That said, it’s super low maintenance. All you need to do is strim it all back at the end of the season. Leave the debris there for a few days while the seeds fall into the ground and then go pick it up and dispose of it.

If it’s within your budget, MeadowMat will make a beautiful addition to your garden.

A Dirty, Sneaky Hack For Saving Money When Buying Turf


I’ve saved the best bit til’ last.

Want to know how to save yourself a few quid on the cost of turf?

I know, who doesn’t!

Well how about this for a sneaky trick…

Many turf suppliers offer discounts on larger orders. They have price breaks when you order a certain amount.

Take Rolawn for example;

rolawn price calculator

As you can see, when you buy between 20-29 rolls the cost is £6.48 1m² roll.

Let’s say you’ve measured your lawn using my handy-dandy turf calculator and you need 28m²;

28m² x £6.48 = £181.44

But if you bought 30 rolls, the cost per m² comes down to £4.92;

30m² x £4.92 = £147.60

Sure, you’ll have extra turf but it’s always a good idea to order more than you need anyway for wastage and cutting.

More important, you’ll have saved yourself £33.84.

That’s enough to pay for the hard-earned beer you’ll need when you’ve finished the job!

You’re welcome 🙂

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