What to look for in a turf supplier
There’s no doubt about it, natural turf is THE best surface for any garden. How many other landscape materials are as soft to sit on, simple to maintain, smell gorgeous, help to improve air quality and reduce the risk of flooding? But when you are researching turf suppliers, how do you know which one to buy from?
Which turf supplier offers best value for money?
There are a lot of turf suppliers in the UK. Most of them have websites – so they’re easy to find. Some even sell turf online – so you can compare prices. But is the cheapest turf necessarily the best?
Speaking as somebody who has worked in the turf industry for over 20 years, I would say that cheap turf (like cheap clothes or cheap food) has its drawbacks. There may be problems with roll strength and handling, it’s possible that the colour will be uneven and it could be that the service lacks that “je ne sais quoi” that makes you feel like a valued customer.
Unless you are on a very tight budget, it’s best to research products carefully, speak to the suppliers and get their advice on which turf is right for your project. Then buy from the Company who you find most helpful.
Best quality products
Be careful when buying turf. Very often it’s not possible to see the actual turf before you buy. Now we’re all used to ordering things online without seeing the physical product. But here’s the rub. If you don’t like the quality of that jacket, food mixer or toy – consumer law says you can send it back within 30 days and get a full refund. It’s not the same for perishable products like turf. Unless you spot an actual fault within a day or so of delivery you can’t send it back. So choose wisely.
Most turf suppliers are friendly folk. If you live within a reasonable distance of their turf farm, they’ll be happy for you to make an appointment to see the products. Or they’ll tell you where you can see recently laid lawns. That way you’ll be able to assess the quality for yourself.
Remember too, that turf is highly perishable. The less time there is between harvesting and laying, the better the establishment will be. The team at Wimborne Turf have been known to deliver turf within 2 hours of it being harvested. That’s pretty awesome.
Which turf supplier offers the best customer care?
When I’m handing a retailer a wedge of my money, I expect to be looked after. Buying a new lawn isn’t like picking up a chocolate bar from some anonymous shop. It’s a living product, it’s not cheap and I want it to last a long time. So I need somebody to be willing and able to answer my questions, to be patient, friendly and happy to help. Good customer care in my opinion is vital and in my experience, it’s the smaller, family businesses that truly value their customers.
Do you need your turf to be laid as well as supplied? If your turf grower offers a supply and lay service you know you’re getting the freshest turf laid by experts. Remember, the Company’s good reputation depends on the quality of the job they do – so you can be pretty sure they’ll do their utmost to make a good impression.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying cheap turf only to find a huge delivery cost added onto the price. Haulage is expensive. It’s a fact of life. The further something has to travel, the more it costs. Especially if it’s heavy, bulky and perishable – like turf.
Local suppliers tend to have smaller lorries with drivers who know the area. That saves on diesel costs and, with shorter journeys to make, there are fewer delays on the road. The turf will arrive on time, the driver can get his vehicle closer to your property.
For the most sensible haulage costs and the best service – buy your turf from the closest grower to you – provided of course you’re happy with the quality and the price of the turf.
Too few people think of the environment when making purchases these days. I’m as guilty as anyone at thinking of the short-term effects on my pocket rather than the long term effects on our planet. If, however, you are choosing real turf instead of artificial turf, you are probably somebody who wants to be better at reducing your carbon footprint.
Locally grown food is better for us because it’s fresher and hasn’t travelled as far. Ditto for locally grown turf. What more can I say?
Last but not least – what do your friends, colleagues and neighbours advise? Have any of the suppliers on your shortlist had bad reviews? What are people saying on social media? Be sure to get a good overview though. Every company gets the occasional angry customer who posts a complaint online without giving the supplier a chance to resolve a problem. So you need to read as many reviews as you can to get an accurate picture of a Company.
- Alex Mason