The cost of turf: How much does it cost to turf a yard?

SEAN CALLERY
Deputy Editor · 24 August 2021
BBQ venue, dog exercise area, DIY putting green or makeshift footy field for budding stars of the game –a lawn can be an in-demand and versatile space. It’s perhaps why some homeowners are happy to invest in theirs, be it in hours spent mowing, watering and lovingly curating it, or financially by getting new turf laid. We take a look at what’s involved and how much it might cost.

While it’s hard to put a dollar amount on the value of a good lawn to your quality of life, or indeed how it might affect the value of your property, it may be useful to understand some of the costs you might face when installing and maintaining it.

This article covers:

How much does a new lawn cost to install?

The cost of the job will depend on whether you need an entire new lawn or you just want to replace a portion of your existing one.

Cost of an entire new lawn

The cost of buying the turf for an entire new lawn can vary from around $320 up to around $1,500, based on a variety of sources Canstar has looked at. However, the overall costs involved will typically come down to the size of the lawn, the type of grass used and whether you have the lawn professionally installed or choose to DIY.

Specialist turf installer The Turf Farm, says that to have turf delivered and a contractor prepare your yard and lay the turf, estimates could typically range from:

  • 50-90 square metre yard: $350-$750
  • 100-400 square metres: $800 – $1,500.

These ranges are an estimate only, as quotes can vary widely according to the amount of work required to prepare your lawn, delivery fees, the type of lawn and other aspects (explored further, below).

Can DIY save on costs of a turfing an entire yard?

One way to save could be to do some of the work yourself. To give you an idea of the difference, specialist turf installer The Turf Farm says that turf without installation could cost around $7-$14 per square metre, whereas adding installation to the job could at least double the cost to between $27 and $34 per square metre. The size of the lawn area and how much preparation is required can influence the cost, as can delivery fees.

How much does turf cost when buying for an entire yard?

Looking at a smaller lawn size, The Turf Farm estimates that a 40m2 area could cost around $320 for basic Kikuya grass, while the pricier Sir Walter grass could set you back $480. However, it points out that better-quality grass can potentially be easier to maintain, and could therefore end up being cheaper in the long run.

According to Hipages.com.au, turf is often sold in 60m2 pallets. It breaks down the estimated costs per pallet of different grass types as follows:

  • KIkuyu: $390
  • Couch: $417
  • Sir Walter, Palmetto, Sapphire and Mathilda: $720
  • Empire Zoysia: $750

Again, these estimates may not include the costs of installation and other expenses, such as having an installer prepare the soil in advance.

Whatever grass you choose, Hipages suggests it could be worth ordering around 10% more turf than you think you will need, particularly if the lawn covers a curved area which may require some of the turf to be cut into shape.

Prices can vary significantly from one type of grass to the next, but also depending on which provider is quoting, so it could be an idea to ask around for several quotes from different installers and/or suppliers so you can compare your options. Be sure to also check whether the quotes you have received include installation and any other costs you will need to fork out for as part of the job.

Cost of turf per square metre

If you only need to turf part of your garden, it could help to understand your potential costs in square metres. Looking at different varieties of grass, Hipages estimates the cost per square metre (not including installation) as follows:

  • Kikuyu: $6.50/m2
  • Couch: $6.95/m2
  • Sir Walter: $12/m2
  • Palmetto, Sapphire and Mathilda: $12/m2
  • Empire Zoysia: $12.50/m2

What’s the best kind of turf for your yard?

There can be a pretty big difference in the cost for various grass varieties, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the most expensive one is always the best. The grass that’s best suited to your yard could come down to other factors, such as the climate in your area and whether or not your lawn will be in the shade.

For example, one of the cheaper varieties, Kikuyu, may be a good choice for some Australian lawns, as it is drought resistant and recovers well if damaged, according to Hipages. It explains that Couch is another drought-resistant grass variety and is a fairly low maintenance turf, with Nullarbor Couch in particular often used on playing fields due to its resilience to foot traffic. On the more expensive end of the scale, Empire Zoysia is another drought-tolerant variety and requires little maintenance, Hipages.com.au says. It adds that Mathilda, Palmetto and Sapphire – all Buffalo varieties – may be ideal for shaded lawns where some other turfs might not grow.

However, it could be a wise idea to visit your local nursery or turf supplier to discuss what type of turf could suit your needs.

How much does artificial turf cost?

If the smell of freshly-cut grass doesn’t do it for you and you’re looking for a solution for your lawn that’s lower-maintenance – theoretically at least – artificial turf is another option you could consider. But don’t be surprised if you end up paying a premium for the convenience of never having to wheel out the lawnmower again.

Again, how much it costs to install artificial grass depends on how big the area is, how much preparation is involved, the type and cost per square metre of artificial grass you buy, and if you are doing it yourself or contracting someone to do it for you.

Outsourcing platform Airtasker estimates that the average cost of jobs involving paying someone to supply and lay synthetic grass ranges from $2,500 to $6,500, depending on the size of the space and the grade of synthetic grass you purchase. When supplying the grass yourself, the cost to have someone install it can range anywhere between an average of $430-$580, depending on a number of factors and your location.

If you are purchasing synthetic grass by the square metre, costs can differ depending on length of the strip of grass, its colour, thickness, backing material, and a range of other factors. It’s a bit like buying carpet – there are different grades which have a different look and are more suited for certain situations, so it could be a wise idea to research what’s on offer in the market before deciding what to buy. Hipages estimates that the cost can range from $50 per square metre for a low-mid priced variety to be installed, up to $100 per square metre for a higher grade of synthetic turf. The complexity of the installation could also impact the price you pay.

How much does it cost to maintain a lawn?

If you opt for natural grass for your lawn, don’t forget to consider the ongoing costs of keeping it neat and healthy, like mowing. This could include the cost of buying a lawnmower and fuelling it, or arranging professional mowing services, which Airtasker estimates to cost $45-120 depending on the size of your lawn..

Also consider lawn fertiliser or weed killers you might need, as well as watering, bearing in mind that restrictions on when and how you can water your lawn could be in place depending on your location, either permanently or due to periods of drought. Aerating your lawn once or twice a year can also help promote growth of the grass, Lawn Solutions Australia says. However, on smaller lawns this may be done simply by prodding holes in the turf using a sturdy garden fork, so might not add to your maintenance costs.

Artificial grass typically requires less maintenance than a live lawn, but still needs attention. For example, artificial turf suppliers suggest it could be a good idea to regularly hose the grass to wash away dust and dirt, to remove tree litter such as leaves and sticks, and to use a stiff-brush broom to sweep in the opposite direction of the fibres to discourage flat patches.

Main image source: Borzywoj (Shutterstock.com)