The environmental impact of turf: Is it sustainable?


Turf has traditionally been viewed as an environmentally friendly choice for landscaping and groundskeeping.

Turf is known to reduce the amount of water needed to keep a lawn healthy and prevent soil erosion while providing habitats for wildlife – all admirable qualities when it comes to environmental sustainability.

Is lawn turf the best environmentally friendly option for your garden or landscaping project? Are there any other more environmentally friendly options for laying grass or wildflowers?

In this article, we’ll discuss the environmental pros and cons of turf for landscaping and explore some alternative solutions.

How is turf beneficial for the environment?

Helps to prevent soil erosion

Turf helps to prevent soil erosion by providing a layer of protection against wind and rain. This prevents valuable topsoil from being swept away, meaning less need for soil amending.

It provides a habitat for wildlife

Unlike plastic/artificial grass, natural turf provides an ideal habitat for many different types of small animals, such as butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. These species help to pollinate plants and improve soil fertility, while also adding colour and life to your garden.

How is turf bad for the environment?

Environmental impact of production

Before the turf reaches your local garden centre or grass supplier, that turf requires significant energy to produce and transport. The production process also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding to global warming.

Turf can trap heat in the summer

Turf can trap heat in the summer months, creating a microclimate that is more conducive to weed growth than native grasses would be. This is because the turf is usually cut much shorter than its wild counterparts, which opens it up to weed growth and also traps radiation from the sun.

The installation process can disrupt wildlife

Turf can sometimes disrupt existing wildlife habitats and the surrounding environment. This is because turf needs to be laid onto a prepared surface, which may involve removing existing vegetation or disturbing the soil structure.

Also, the initial installation process on larger landscapes can involve the use of heavy machinery, which can cause soil compaction and disruption of existing wildlife habitats.

Environmentally friendly alternatives to turf

Hydroseeding has become a popular eco-friendly alternative to turf. It is a process of combining mulch, grass seed and fertiliser together with water to form a slurry.

This slurry is then sprayed over the soil or existing vegetation which helps to increase germination rates and reduce the amount of water needed for maintenance.

How does hydroseeding compare to turf?

Hydroseeding requires less watering than turf

Unlike turf, hydroseeding requires less water for maintenance. This is because the mixture of seed and mulch is a protective layer that helps to hold in moisture.

It doesn’t require any heavy machinery

Hydroseeding also has the added benefit of not requiring any heavy machinery or removal of existing vegetation during production. This means that existing wildlife habitats are not disturbed in any way.

There’s a reduced carbon footprint before hydroseeding

Unlike turf production, there’s no production of the grass before it reaches you. That means reduced transport costs.

Diversification of your landscape

You can use hydroseeding for a multitude of seeds, including wildflowers. This means you can diversify the landscape and help to encourage more wildlife.


In conclusion, rolls of turf can be beneficial for the environment in some ways, such as reducing water usage and providing habitats for wildlife. It does have some drawbacks, such as production emissions and potential disruption of local ecosystems during production.

Hydroseeding offers a great alternative to turf as it requires less water, no heavy machinery to produce, and a more diversified landscape. Therefore hydroseeding is a more environmentally friendly option for your garden.

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Better Than Turf Hydroseeding Ltd
Withy Holt
Heath House,
Somerset BS28 4UJ

Limited Company Number 14165697