How to dig up a lawn to replant grass seed

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are tired of tan, lifeless patches of grass in your garden or clumps of persistent crab grass, it may be time to renovate your lawn. There are several ways to go about that task, but sometimes the damage is too severe for a quick fix. For a complete renovation, uproot your entire garden -- grass and all -- and spread brand new grass seed over the lawn.

Determine whether you will plant a fresh batch of cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses. Cool-season grasses -- as their name suggests -- thrive in the colder months. Warm-season grasses thrive well in warmer weather. Your seed choice will determine when you should plant your new seeds. Start planting warm-season seeds in early spring, and plant cool-season seeds in early autumn.

Kill your old grass with herbicides. Spray the herbicides directly on the grass. Avoid spraying anything you don't want to die (e.g., trees, shrubs and flowers). Start the extermination of the old grass early because it may take a few weeks for the herbicides to fully work. Read the instructions on the herbicide containers carefully before you use them.

Upturn the top 15 cm (6 inches) of soil in your garden. Use a shovel for small areas. Larger areas of lawn may require a rototiller, which is a machine specifically designed to break up soil. Break up any clumps of soil larger than your fist.

Pour your grass seeds into a hand-pushed seed spreader. Move the seed spreader to the corner of the garden and start pushing it at a slow and steady pace. Walk in a zigzagging line through your garden, spreading the seeds evenly over the upturned soil.

Spread a thin layer of topsoil over the freshly planted seeds. This helps protect them from hungry birds and other animals that might try to eat your seeds. Water the lawn with a gentle spray of water.

Things You'll Need

  • Herbicides
  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Grass seeds
  • Seed spreader
  • Topsoil
bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.