The least expensive way to start a lawn is by seed. And as long as the area is relatively flat, starting a lawn with seed is a snap.
Choose your grass seed carefully. Different types of grass perform better in some parts of the country than others. See our buying guide about grass seed for more details.
This guide will teach you the best way to seed your lawn.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT
Seed starter mat
PREPARE THE LAWN
Remove all debris and any wood, stones, or large roots.
• Use a spade and garden rake to scratch the soil 1 to 2 inches at the surface.
• Add seeding soil to the top of your existing soil and smooth with the rake.
• If you are not using seeding soil, add the starter fertilizer on top of the existing soil with a spreader.
CALCULATE THE SEED AND SPREAD
A spreader is necessary for uniform growth of the new grass. In large areas, you can use either a broadcast or drop spreader for uniform coverage. In smaller areas, you may use a hand spreader.
• First, divide the seed into two equal portions. Sow the first portion across the lawn in rows, then sow the second portion in rows at right angles to the first until you have crisscrossed the whole lawn.
• Depending on where you live, some grass seed comes in an annual version only and will not return year after year. Be sure to look for a perennial version or ask a Garden Center associate for help.
TAMP THE SEED
Fill your lawn roller with water or sand to add weight, and go over the top of the area to tamp the seed down. This will help with erosion and will keep the birds from eating the seed. If you live on a slope, you may want to use a seed mat to prevent the seed from washing away.
Soak the soil 6 inches deep immediately after seeding. Use a gentle sprinkler or hand sprayer with a mist setting to avoid washing away soil and seed.
• It’s important to never let the seed dry out. This inhibits germination. It takes a minimum of seven to 14 days for seed to germinate, and much longer for warm-season grasses (up to 30 days for grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia).
• Until seedlings are visible, lightly water with a sprinkler as often as three to four times a day until the grass is about a half-inch high.
• Once you are able to mow the lawn, water at a rate of 1 inch per week to keep the grass roots healthy. It is more important to water deeply and less frequently than to water every day. This will allow the roots to grown down and will help grass survive in drought conditions.