How to Grow Grass on Hard Dirt & Rocks


If your yard is a lumpy mess of hard dirt and rocks, you may think that having a healthy, lush lawn will be an unachievable task. While it is true that your soil is an inhospitable environment for grass in its current state, a luxurious green lawn is not out of reach. There will be a lot of work ahead of you, but with careful preparation, your lawn will look just as great as the one down the street growing on rich, loamy soil.

Step 1

Pick up all the rocks from the surface of your soil. Load them in a wheelbarrow and dispose of them where appropriate.

Step 2

Rototill the soil down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Spread 1 to 2 inches of peat moss or compost across the soil and till it in to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

Step 3

Rake the soil with your garden rake to remove any tilled-up debris and to even out the soil.

Step 4

Push a lawn roller filled with water across your newly tilled planting area to firm up the ground.

Step 5

Fill your broadcast spreader with your selected grass seed. Set the dial on the spreader at the bag's indicated rate (usually 6 to 10 lbs. per 1000 square feet).

Step 6

Walk back and forth over your seedbed and spread the grass seed. Rake the seed into the top 1/4 inch of soil and roll with an empty lawn roller to press the seed into the soil.

Step 7

Set up your sprinklers and water the lawn two or three times each day for five to 15 minutes at a time. Adjust the watering schedule as necessary to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Step 8

Mow your grass when it reaches 3 inches in height. Mow to 2 inches. Continue mowing every four to seven days to a height of 2 to 3 inches.

Step 9

Cut back on watering after the first mowing. Provide 1 inch of water per week over the lawn. Apply the water in one or two watering sessions.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rototiller
  • Peat moss or compost
  • Garden rake
  • Lawn roller
  • Water source
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Grass seed
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Garden hose
  • Lawn mower


  • North Dakota State University Extension: Evaluation, Preparation and Amending Lawn and Garden Soil
  • Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association: Your Guide to a Carefree Lawn & Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: Planting a Lawn
  • The Garden Helper: How to Plant, Grow and Care for a New Lawn
Keywords: grow grass, hard dirt, amending soil, rocky soil, planting a lawn

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.