How to Prepare your Lawn for Seeding


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.

Spring is coming is your lawn ready?

What's the best grass seed to get for Spring?

Best for repairing patches: Patch Repair | Buy Now

Best for renewing my lawn: Spring lawn pack | Buy now

Best for overseeding: Regular or Large | Buy now

Best for moss & weeds: Shake no Rake | Buy now

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.


British summers are rarely dry and hot for long but it does happen. If you want to sow your seeds in the summer be sure to follow these simple tips & be sure to keep your seedlings moist.


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. 

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?

cover your 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:

  • Remove and dead grass and weeds. You can do this by hand or with a rake. If using weed killer find one that doesn't leave residues - vinegar can be used but if it touches your grass it will die.
  • Use a fork or spade and dig the area you plan to re-seed. Compacted soil will make it incredibly tough for your new seedlings, break up any big lumps and add in compost or gardeners sand to clay soils.
  • Rake the area and try to make it as even as possible.

For brand new lawns:

  • Before you even think about seeding you should ensure the area you plan to use is weed free, use a weed killer or hand weed.
  • Loosen the soil so that it isn't compacted, you can either dig or rotavate, ideally you want 20cm or more of loosened soil.
  • Add in some rotted manure or compost and dig it in, this will help retain moisture, ideally this should be done at minimum a week in advance but preferably 3-4 weeks beforehand.
  • For the very best looking lawn you will want the area to be even. This may not always be possible but rake and do the best you can.


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.

  • Use a seed spreader, these can be expensive but ensure almost perfect distribution, there are many different types.
  • Mix your grass seed into the top soil in a wheelbarrow then spread the top soil over the area you wish to spread.
  • Do it by hand or shake directly from the container or packet. Easy enough to do over a small area, not ideal over large areas.


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!

  • 1
    Do not stand on the area you seeded, you will damage or kill the grass.
  • 2
    Cut it only once it reaches 4-6 inches, don't cut it too short!
  • 3
    Water & 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.

It will be 4-8 weeks before your grass seed is properly bedded in and fully grown.

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.

About the author 


Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my UK based weed control & lawn care tips with you all. If you have any queries please post in the comments below.

  • I’ve just ordered the goodgrow seed, but now having after received a follow up email from you, and read through the easy to grow advice, I note its always referring to “your Lawn” but I’m sowing it to create a flower area, in a stripe about 3m wide by 75m long. Down the side of our driveway, where I have brought in many tonnes of soil, to create this wild flower area in a country farming area.
    I hope this grass seed will be suitable as I do not intend cutting it too often, which would destroy the wild flowers.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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