Seeding a Lawn

It's not an instant lawn, but sowing grass seed is much less expensive than laying sod. Here's how to do it.
From: DK Books - How to Grow
Lawn and Ornamental Grasses

Lawn and Ornamental Grasses

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sowing lawn seed is much cheaper than laying sod, but you'll have to wait a few months before it's ready for use. The best time to seed a lawn is in early fall when the soil is warm and germination quick; sowing in early spring is an option, but the colder soil conditions may prolong germination.

When to Start: Early fall or early spring
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 3 hours or more for larger lawns

Materials Needed:

  • lawn seed
  • well-composted organic matter
  • all-purpose granular fertilizer
  • stakes or string
  • pen and plastic cup
  • bird-proof netting

Choose Your Seed

Unlike turf, where you have a choice of just two or three types, lawn seed is available in many forms, including seed for shady spots or dry areas and clover lawns. Prepare the soil as for sod. Mark out a square yard with stakes or string, and weigh the right quantity of seed for that area. Pour the seed into a plastic cup and mark the top level with a pen. You can then use it as a measuring cup.

sow seed in one square yard at a time

sow seed in one square yard at a time

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sow Systematically

Cover the soil evenly by scattering half the seed in the cup over the square yard in one direction, and then the other half at right angles. Set out the next square and fill the cup to the marked level; repeat the sowing process. Continue in this way until you have sown the whole area. If you have to walk over soil you have already seeded, stand on planks of wood to prevent your feet from creating hollows in your new lawn.

Scatter Seeds Systematically

Scatter Seeds Systematically

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Protect From Birds

Rake the seed into the soil to just cover it. Water with a can fitted with a rose, or spray lightly with a hose. Cover the seed with bird-proof netting, raised off the ground about 12 inches. The seedlings should appear in 14 days; continue to water regularly. When the grass reaches 2 inches, make the first cut with your mower on a high setting. For fall-sown lawns, maintain this height until spring, then lower the blades.

Rake Seed

Rake Seed

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Next Up

Seeding a Lawn

Fall is the right season to reinvigorate your existing lawn or plant a new one. Follow the steps below to help ensure successful results.

Sowing Seeds in Trays

Growing crops from seed is simple and economical, and sowing in trays is a good idea since trays are easy to clean and fit into propagators or on bright windowsills.

How to Seed a Lawn

The best time to seed a lawn is in early fall when the soil is warm and moist. 

How to Sow Seeds Indoors

Tender plants and half-hardy annuals and perennials are started indoors, since they need artificial warmth or frost-free conditions. The seeds of most hardy plants can be sown indoors too, if you want closer control of germination and early growth.

How to Sow Seed in Small Pots

Sowing in small pots works well for larger seeds and where fewer plants are required.

How to Grow Vegetable Seeds Indoors

Follow this step-by-step guide for growing tips. 

Sow Cool: Give Your Lawn a Head Start With Dormant Seeding

Dormant seeding is the practice of sowing grass in the winter months when grass seeds are inactive.

Plugging and Sprigging a Lawn

Learn how to start a brand-new warm-season lawn or patch an existing one using plugs or sprigs. 

How to Use Seed Starting Containers Found at Home

Get some recommendations on what to use as bargain seed-starting containers.

How-To: Seeding a Lawn

Use this step-by-step guide to sow seed in your yard in early fall –– the best time for warm, moist soil conditions. 

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