Properly planning and designing your garden is a crucial part of its overall success: your lawn should be a major consideration

How much lawn you have all depends a number of factors:


  • How much sunlight versus shade do you have in your garden?
  • What soil type do you have?
  • What are the typical climatic challenges in your region?


  • Do you have kids, pets or both?
  • How is your lawn typically used by you and your family?


  • What space do you have?

Once completed, a scale drawing makes life a lot easier when calculating areas, volumes and quantities for the various components, such as the turf


Putting together a scale drawing on some graph paper is an excellent way of getting you garden plan in order. Clearly mark all the main features, existing and proposed, house, paving, driveway, deck, shed, pool, garden beds and of course your lawn.

The idea of drawing something to scale is that measurements on the plan are in the same proportion as they are on the ground. This enables you to convert from one to the other accurately and quickly. Typical scale sizes for residential landscaping plans are 1:50 and 1:100. At a scale of 1:50, 1mm on the plan represents 50mm on the ground and at a scale of 1:100, 1mm on the plan represents 100mm on the ground.

A scale ruler is an essential tool for this sort of work, while doing the drawing and also to measure from the plan to get the on-ground dimensions.


Selecting the right lawn for your home is crucial. The right lawn should result in years of lawn happiness and success: the wrong lawn could result in a battle to try and keep it looking good through exhaustive and expensive maintenance.

Things to look for when choosing a new lawn;

  • Top of the list is environmental factors, such as ow much sun and shade you have in your garden; salt spray; frost; water and drought
    The intended use of the lawn, including how much wear and tear it will be getting
  • The type of look and feel you are after and maintenance requirements are an important consideration for very large areas.
  • Your budget – saving money on your initial purchase can be a false economy. investing in a quality shade tolerant variety up-front is a cheaper option in the long term


How much sun or shade your garden gets is the most important factor. If you have full sun all day then you can grow pretty much any lawn variety, in fact, full sun is an absolute must for certain varieties. Couch or Kikuyu, for example, when well-maintained look their best in full sun by can die off in shade. In newly planted young gardens, you may initially have plenty of sun, but as the plants grow, more shade is inevitable – especially around the edge of the garden beds. A shade tolerant lawn will work best for the long term.

Let’s face it, in the average garden you tend to get some sort of contamination of full sun and shade throughout the day and in winter when the sun is lower in the sky, you will always end up with more shade.

Consider also new additions to your house or your neighbour’s that may create more shade. For example, if the cheeky buggers next door decide to go up a level or plant a tall hedge this may mean a lot more shade in your garden. It’s important to also recognise that no lawn will grow in really heavy shade especially if subject to traffic.


If you’re lucky enough to live by the beach your lawn will cop a fair serve of salt spray and in some cases be completely under water at high tides, so a salt tolerant variety is a must.



Cars and heavy foot traffic will lead to family heavy wear and tear as long as it suits the light conditions a vigorous growing lawn that self-repairs quickly might be best for you. There’s not much point in laying a sun living couch or kikuyu in a lightly shaded area, you’ll be better off with a fairly hard wearing, shade tolerant, soft leaf buffalo. Heavy traffic will result in compaction, especially with clay based soils, causing stress and damage too any lawn.

Regular aeration should be a key component of your maintenance regime to counteract this and enable water and essential oxygen to penetrate your lawn.


Vigorous growing lawn varieties like couch and kikuyu are generally cheaper initially, because they grow back quickly at the turf farm leading to more sales per season for the farmers. The opposite applies for more versatile varieties, like soft leaf buffalo, which will save you money in the long-term.

For the average sized home lawn, it is best to be led by the environmental conditions and intended to use for the lawn. For larger properties with hug expanses of lawn, cost becomes a major issue and the chances are that you will have sufficient sunlight to grow a decent looking lawn anyway. The most time-consuming part of your maintenance is considered by many as almost enjoyable and satisfying past-time; moving the lawn.