Can I just throw down the grass seed?
No! Please don't do that. We're not saying it definitely won't work but it will be more than sub-optimal.
Yes you might get lucky and your sprinkle of the seeds may germinate but don't rely on luck...
Read on and find out how to prepare your lawn for seeding & success.
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Timing is important
The ideal time to start a new lawn or reseed a worn out one. If timed correctly you can enjoy lush, thick, green grass in time for summer. Late March is the best time to start.
Wet, warm and just like Spring - Autumn is perfect for seeding a new lawn or re-seeding an old one. Start mid September and reap the benefits next Spring but watch out for birds!
Not recommended but not impossible. If your impatient and it has to be planted in the winter then be sure to get a grass seed blend that can tolerate low temperatures.
Learn more about the best time to put down grass seeds by clicking here.
What you'll need
A suitable grass seed
There are hundreds maybe even thousands of mixtures of grass seed. If you have kids or dogs we recommend a hard wearing grass seed, if your lawn is constantly in the shade you may benefit from a shady mixture. Don't be fooled by expensive blends - get pure grass seed.
A watering applicator
Grass seeds need moisture to germinate and your seed bed should be kept moist at all times. During the summer months it may be necessary to water twice a day (morning and night). This can be done with a hose, watering can or sprinkler system, just be sure to use a fine spray so you don't displace the seedlings.
Topsoil, rake & fork
Topsoil is key, please do not use compost when planting grass seed. Most varieties are simply to nutrient dense and contain lumps. A rake is a great tool to loosen the top layer of soil and remove any dead grass. A garden fork to aerate the soil to ensure your seeds can put down good roots and ensure water reaches deep below.
Do you need to cover grass seed?
No and yes! This is purely a matter of personal preference and depends entirely on your own unique circumstances.
Covering the grass seed with netting will prevent birds and other garden animals from eating your seed.
You can also use clear, breathable fabric which will lock in humidity, increase soil temperatures both of which can speed up the growth.
What's the best compost or topsoil?
When reseeding and existing lawn or preparing a brand new lawn you should always use screened topsoil. Please do not use compost, I know it's often cheaper and much easier to get a hold of but do not use compost when sowing grass seed!
Compost is often filled with lumps and most varieties are too strong for your precious grass seedlings. This will result in patchy growth in the best case scenario and dead grass in the worst case.
Compost can be used underneath top soil to provide nourishment and retain moisture but please ensure you dig it in.
Topsoil can be purchased at any decent garden centre and you can even mix your grass seed directly into it before spreading.
4 easy steps
Step 1 - Prepare the Bed
Reseeding an existing lawn:
For brand new lawns:
Step 2 - Spread the seed
There are many ways this can be done, the key is to ensure you apply it evenly across the seed bed. It doesn't have to be perfect, you can always go back and add more seed to areas you missed.
Step 3 - Water and cover
Moisture and warmth are the two most important factors after preparation. Ensure your grass seeds are properly watered at all times. The seed bed should be moist all the time.
Covering your grass seed isn't necessary but if you have pigeons or other small birds in your area then it will certainly help. Pea nets are ideal and will stop birds from eating all your grass seeds.
Step 4 - Wait, be patient, then cut
Depending on the type of seed, how well you prepared and the time of year you should start to see some of the grass seed germinate within 7-10 days. After that it's a waiting game, be patient, it will grow!
- 1Do not stand on the area you seeded, you will damage or kill the grass.
- 2Cut it only once it reaches 4-6 inches, don't cut it too short!
- 3Water & wait, patience is key, good things come to those that wait!
How long will it take to grow?
Providing you have followed along and prepared your lawn correctly you should start to see your grass seed germinate within 7-10 days.
If you just threw your grass seed down, it's likely you may still see some results in the same amount of time but it won't be as good.
Now plant & wait... That's it
There you have it, you've prepared your lawn for seeding, you didn't just throw your grass seed down - just wait & enjoy. If you have any questions or queries about this article please leave a comment below and we'll help.