Turf Australia – Grow Green

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Updated: November 6, 2019

Make your clients healthy, wealthy and wise with a natural turf garden design.

In Australia, there are many things we go crazy for. Each year the Melbourne Cup brings the nation to a standstill, we love to rave about democracy sausages at election time and we will passionately advocate that we have the best coffee in the world. But there’s one thing that consistently dominates the media, as well as the typical barbecue conversation. One topic that holds a special place in the hearts and minds of most Australian households. Our one true national obsession – talking about house prices.

Homeowners are obsessed with talking about the value of their home, so it’s important that landscapers are talking to them about turf. According to Hort Innovation, a grower-owned, not-for-profit horticulture research and development corporation, having a natural turf lawn can boost property value by over $100,000. That finding is based on a survey of Raine & Horne agents, with respondents saying a nicely presented natural lawn could increase the value of a home by up to 20 per cent.

Based on a median house price of $519,000, this equates to an extra $100,000 in value.

But if there’s one thing that your clients are typically more passionate about than the value of their house, it’s the health and comfort of their families and their pets.

Working with thermal imaging consultants, SkyMonkey, Turf Australia recently looked at the differences in surface temperature between natural grass and other surfaces. On a study conducted on a comfortable 28°C day, natural turf showed readings of between 28°C and 33°C. At the same point in time, synthetic turf was reading 54°C. With most Australian cities experiencing temperatures significantly hotter than 28°C in summer, it’s crucial the consequences of installing any alternatives to natural turf are considered. Extreme surface temperatures have the potential to be harmful to children and pets.

Feet and paws aside, homes surrounded by concrete, tiles or artificial turf will find their home heating up significantly more in the summertime, while those with a moat of turf will have a cooler, more comfortable home, as well as spending less on cooling, whether that be fans or air-conditioning.

Households are becoming ever aware of their environmental footprint and the removal of single-use plastic bags from major retailers is a good start. However, we are already seeing the detrimental effect of synthetic turf use, with large volumes of old material turning up in landfill across the country. Natural turf is favoured by most Australians for the mere fact that it is natural, chemical free and self-cleaning.

There’s also the simple fact that natural turf provides a unique aesthetic that is hard to replicate or compete with. The experts agree, a look at the 2018 Australian Urban Design Award winners shows us that three of the winning designs put a strong emphasis of the role that natural turf played in creating excellent and functional community spaces. The winners were Bendigo Hospital Project, South Sydney Hospital Site – Stage 1 and Railway Square, Midland, Western Australia. Each of these projects clearly use turf as a foundation for their design, not just an afterthought.

The Australian turfgrass industry has come a long way since its beginnings in the early 20th century.

The industry has invested in cultivating new breeds of turf that are optimised for the Australian climate. Grasses are available that need significantly less water and can withstand harsh Australian summers and prolonged droughts. In fact, the volume of water needed for grasses of all types is often overstated. Once established, turf does not require a particularly large amount of water.

Of course, Australia is a land of extremes and our winters can be harsh too but that hasn’t stopped the development of turf that can withstand winter frosts.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to turf. Get to know your local turf grower and understand what grasses are best for specific environments and conditions. So when your client asks for your recommendation on a garden design that will boost the value of their home and the health of their loved ones, choosing natural turf becomes the obvious choice.

Visit the Turf Australia website http://www.turfaustralia.com.au for more information and to connect with your local grower.