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How to lay a new lawn from seed

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating a lawn from scratch can be expensive, especially if you decide to do so with turf. Laying a new lawn from seed is less expensive, although it does take more time. The results, however, will please you for many years to come.

Prepare the soil. This is a must because without the proper soil, the grass seed will not grow. Depending on the soil, you may need to add up to 15 cm (6 inches) of rich topsoil.

Buy grass seed. For the best results, get seed that will grow successfully in your part of the country. Check with a local garden centre for advice.

If you have a large lawn, divide your lawn into 20 squares of 30 cm (1 foot) in size using string and stakes. This will help you thoroughly seed each section, thus ensuring your lawn's success. If your lawn is small, you can ignore this step.

Till each section (or the entire lawn if it is on the smaller size) with a garden tiller. Till down to a depth of about 15 cm (6 inches). Roll the surface with a heavy roller, then rake up 5 cm (2 inches) with a rake. Make sure the surface of the soil is smooth before continuing.

Load the grass seed into a seed spreader and spread the seed in each section, or the entire area, as evenly as you can manage. Spread the seed thickly in two passes. On the first pass, run the spreader from left to right. On the second pass, run the spreader from top to bottom. In this fashion, you can help ensure the evenness of the application. If needs be, add more seed in any areas that look like they need it.

Load a wheelbarrow with rich soil and spread it evenly over the seed. Add at least 7.5 cm (3 inches) to help keep the birds at bay, or they might eat all of your seed before it has a chance to sprout. Run the roller on top of the soil, then sprinkle the entire area with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Topsoil (optional)
  • Grass seed
  • String and stakes
  • Tiller
  • Roller
  • Rake
  • Seed spreader
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Soil
  • Hose
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About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.