How to Grow Grass on New Lawn


There are two ways to grow grass on new lawn--by sod or by seed. Sod are pieces of lawn containing grass that is already rooted into soil. They are cut into strips and, once spread, give you an instant green lawn. Grass seed needs to germinate, so it takes longer to achieve a manicured lawn. However, grass seed is cheaper to plant. No matter which method you choose, properly preparing the planting area is essential.


Step 1

Remove debris such as weeds, stones and branches. Run a rototiller over the soil to loosen it to a depth of at least 4 inches. Rake until smooth.

Step 2

Apply a starter fertilizer with a 2-1-1 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio. Moisten the ground with water so the food can get down to the roots.

Step 3

Gently lay down a full strip of sod along the outer edge of the lawn. Put the next one down as close to the first one as possible to avoid gaps and lines. Work your way across the area, using full strips whenever possible.

Step 4

Cut pieces of sod with a sharp blade to fit smaller and irregular spots. When working in corners, overlap the sod over the border and cut off the excess sod later. Use small pieces in the middle only. Those on the outer borders will die.

Step 5

Run a half-full roller over the sod. Water it until the top 6 to 8 inches are moist.

Grass Seed

Step 1

Clear debris and weeds from the yard. Break up soil clumps that are larger than 1 inch in diameter. Run a rototiller over it until at least 4 inches of soil is loose.

Step 2

Level low-lying spots with topsoil. Rake until smooth.

Step 3

Improve the nutrients and improve drainage in the soil. Add an inch of sand and compost each and work it into the top inch of ground. Apply a starter fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. Use a broadcast spreader, as per the instructions on the package.

Step 4

Spread grass seed evenly on the new lawn. Too many seeds causes competition and too few causes a sparse outcome. Use a hand or mechanical spreader, depending on the yard size.

Step 5

Run the back of a metal rake over the grass seed to lightly cover it with some amended soil.

Step 6

Water the seed for five to 10 minutes two or three times a day. Continue this schedule for 10 days. When the seeds sprout, cut back on watering to once a day for 15 to 30 minutes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid watering grass in the late evening because of the risk of fungal diseases. Do not allow traffic on the lawn until it becomes established.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Sod
  • Knife
  • Rake
  • Top soil
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Grass seed
  • Hand or mechanical spreader


  • Building a Lawn
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Turfgrass Establishment
  • "This Old House": How to Seed a Lawn
  • Spring-Green: Lawn Seeding Tips
Keywords: grow grass, plant sod, plant grass seed

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.