Having a healthy lawn can be achieved with the right techniques and tools. Growing grass seed is the most economical way to grow a lawn. A large part of the process involves getting the ground ready for planting grass and making sure that the quality of the soil is optimum for the germination of your seeds. Determining which seed is best for your yard is often dependent on the climate you are living in and the type of soil on the ground. The grass is categorized into two main groups: cool season and warm season – named after the ideal temperature for the grass.

What You Will Need:

In addition to the tools needed for sod lawn installation, there are

  • Grass Seed
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Chalk or Landscrapers Paint
  • Rake
how to plant grass seed

Planting Grass Seed – Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1 – Measure your yard

Once you have all the materials, you will need to measure your yard. Knowing how big your yard is will help you determine how much seed you need to buy. The quantity you will need also depends on the type of grass you will be planting. Before planting the seed, you’ll need to prep the ground by watering it a few days prior to planting the seed and make sure that the water sinks to a depth of between 6 to 8 inches. However, the actual seed planting should be done after the soil dries.

seeding a new lawn
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Step 2 – Prepping the Lawn

Before seeding a new lawn, you need to first get rid of any grass that is on the lawn. You also need to rake the area to remove debris, grade the yard and make sure that you do a final grading just before planting.

Step 3 – Outline the Area on The Lawn

The type of seeds you are planting will determine how much seed should be planted on the ground. This is usually measured per 1000 ft.². This means that you will need to outline 1000 ft.² on the ground. A great tip is to use flour, chalk, or landscaper paint to mark the area.

growing grass
planting grass

Step 4 – Measure the Seed

To get an accurate measurement, weigh the entire bag of seed. Then divide that number by the amount of seed you will need for the 1000 ft.². Then divide the amount of seed needed by two to determine how much seed you need to put in the drop spreader.

Step 5 – Plant Grass Seed

Choose a low setting on the spreader and walk across the lawn. Continue to do this back-and-forth, remembering to turn off the hopper when you get to the end of each row. Then begin seeding again when you have turned and started a new row. Continue to do this until the seed in the spreader has run out.

lawn seeding
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Step 6 – Make a Second Pass

Once the spreader is empty, add half the amount of seed you need for the entire patch and make a second pass going in a perpendicular direction to the first time around.

Step 7 – Rake the Seed

Using a rake, go over the soil to ensure that the seeds are covered by about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. The goal is not to cover the seeds too much, but you should still be able to see about 10 percent of the seeds.

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growing grass seed

Step 8 – Roll Lightly

Ideally, seeds need to be well embedded into the soil for them to germinate and grow. Using a roller to lightly go over the seeds does this nicely without compacting the soil too much. Use the roller typically used with water, however, do not put any water into the roller.

Step 9 – Apply Mulch

Mulch is a key factor in germination because it allows the soil to retain moisture and also prevents erosion. Traditionally, wheat is used as mulch but it can also introduce weeds to the lawn. Check to see what available options there are for mulch in a garden center near you.

Planting new grass
watering  lawn

Step 10 – Water Your Lawn 2 to 4 Times a Day

Your seeds will need a lot of water initially. If you do not water them adequately, they will dry up and die. You need to water them 2 to 4 times a day with enough water to moisten 1 to 2 inches of the soil. As the seeds begin to grow and take root, reduce the frequency of your watering.

Step 11 – Mow the Lawn to Thicken It

Cutting your grass regularly promotes growth and helps the lawn fill in nicely. You should begin to do this once the grass has reached the mowing height for that type of grass. Remember not to cut off more than 1/3 of the grass at a time.

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seeding grass

Step 12 – Fertilize

When your grass is about 4-6 weeks old, you should fertilize it with a slow-release fertilizer that contains 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 ft.². Once the grass is 8 to 10 weeks old, give it a second application of the fertilizer.


Can I Just Throw Down Grass Seed?

For best results, lawn seeding should be done strategically. Simply tossing the grass seed onto soil will result in poor germination. A layer of topsoil is needed to prevent the seeds from drying out or getting washed away by water or rain, so taking the time to prepare your lawn will yield the best results.

What Month Is Best to Put Grass Seed Down?

The type of grass you are planting will determine the optimal time for planting. For example, planting warm-season grass should be done in late spring or early summer, or when temperatures are roughly around 80°. Cool-season grass seed should be planted in late summer or early fall when temperatures during the day drop to about 60 to 75°. Generally, the month of September is best for planting this type of grass.

Will Grass Seed Grow on Top of Grass?

Overseeding is when you plant a new seed on top of an existing lawn. People often do this to fill in a thinning lawn. This can be done, however, for best results, you will need to adequately prepare your lawn prior to planting the new seed. This will improve the chances of seed germination.
If you choose to plant new seed on an old lawn, there are three things that you should do:
1. Dethatch your lawn with a mechanical dethatcher or rake. There is a layer of organic matter that sits on top of the soil and can get in the way of root formation.
2. Mowing your lawn regularly will help sunlight and water permeate through the blades of grass and reach the seeds.
3. Aerate your soil with a core aerator which helps to break up the soil and let air and water penetrate easily.

Will Heavy Rain Ruin Grass Seed?

If your seeds receive too much water, it will be bad for the seed. Heavy rain can result in soil erosion and wash away your grass seed. As far as possible, use organic mulch to keep your seeds in place.

For more information on growing and maintaining a healthy lawn, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you. ISR Gardening has years of experience in lawn care and maintenance, our professional team will help you make your dream lawn a reality.