Starting a lawn from scratch using seed is the least expensive way to transform your home or garden. Here’s how to plant a lawn from seeds.
How to plant a lawn from seeds
As you may remember from this article I decided to grow my own lawn as in spite of the hard labor, I think it’s very rewarding as well as the least expensive method. Here I’ll share how to plant a lawn from seeds.
I was a little impatient and planted my lawn in the heat of the summer which is the worse time ever so if you have the choice don’t ever start a lawn in summer! It’s not only bad for the seeds and the grass but for yourself too as you’ll have to work at least twice as hard to grow your lawn and keep it healthy.
Determine what type of grass works best for your climate and soil and check the best season to plant the seeds, which might be in spring or fall. For cool-season grasses, the best time to plant is early fall or early spring which is the second bet time. Warm-season grasses are best planted in late spring. Grass seed is best sown from early to mid-autumn as there is less competition from weeds, and the soil is warm not hot and damp from rain, perfect for seeds to germinate.
After you prepared the soil, all you need is good quality grass seed and a little patience. Note: Please do not skip soil preparation, this is vital to get a great looking, inviting and healthy lawn!
How to plant a lawn from seeds
- Prepare the soil.
- Slightly water the soil the night before planting your seed. You need it damp but not saturated.
- Plant the seed using a seed spreader or your hands. The seed spreader will come in handy when spreading fertilizer later on. Make sure that you properly set your spreader rate for sowing seed if you use one. Scatter the first half of the seed in one direction and then the second half crisscross to the first direction to ensure even coverage. Don’t worry if it seems you’ve scattered too much, it’s not.
- If you’re seeds are not already mixed with a fertilizer as mine, use a starter fertilizer that is high in phosphorous which is essential to give your seedlings a head start.
- Lightly rake the area so the seeds and fertilizer mix up with some soil, trying not to disturb the seedbed too much. Don’t bury the seeds any deeper than 1/4″ as they need light to germinate quickly.
- Use a roller to gently push the seeds into soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. If you don’t have a roller use a plank and press it down with your feet.
- Optional – add a thin layer of mulch or hay to protect seeds from being picked by birds and help with moisture.
- Water abundantly for the first time (wet the soil down to at least 6″ to 8″), making sure you don’t wash the seed away then keep the grass seeds and seedlings constantly moist but not soggy. This is critical as if the seeds dry they’ll die but too much moisture will cause the seeds to rot. Water two to three times a day with a light spray to keep the seeds moist. If you plant your seeds in summer (not recommended), you will need to water up to 4 times a day. If puddles begin to appear on the soil surface stop watering. Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings begin to grow, gradually transition to watering less frequently but more heavily. On the first week after the grass started to grow water once a day, then once in two days, then as the grass becomes taller and more mature, limit to once or twice a week, depending on how dry the soil is ((typically after the first mowing). Watch the grass carefully. If the color starts to go from bright green to dull gray green, the grass needs water.
- It may take anywhere from 5 days to 4 weeks for the seeds to germinate and the lawn to become fully established. Avoid as much foot traffic as possible until the next season, when the grass is well established.
- If after 3-4 weeks, the grass has reached 1″ but there are still bare spots, reseed the areas. Keep repeating the above process until the lawn is thick and you’re satisfied with the results.
- Mow the new lawn when it reaches 3″ to 4″ high, but don’t cut more than 1/3 of its height. Adjust your mower to a high setting to keep the lawn nice and thick. If you cut it too short, the grass gets weak and weeds can sneak in not to mention the grass may dry out and die.
- Apply fertilizer again, 4 to 8 weeks after planting your seeds.
This series will continue with how to care for a fully established lawn and I’ll be covering various details needed to have a healthy, beautiful lawn all year round: how and when to mow your lawn for each season, how to sharpen your mower, how often to water, when to apply fertilizer, how to deal with weeds, how to prevent and cure lawn deseases, how and when to aerate and dethatch etc