How to Seed a Grass Lawn


Planting grass seed is a popular choice for establishing a lawn because it is cheap and easy. However, your lawn won't grow to be green and vibrant without weeks of proper watering. Another factor that will contribute to the success of your lawn is the quality of the grass seed. When purchasing seed, read over the label carefully. Look for a product that is at least 90 percent pure with an 85 percent germination rate, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. The more pure the grass seed is, the more weed-free your lawn will be.

Step 1

Apply a high-phosphorus starter fertilizer to the soil where the grass seed will be planted. The fertilizer should be applied only to the top layer of soil and not worked into the ground.

Step 2

Spread the grass seed in the planting area. Check the label directions for the proper seeding rate. Seed can be spread by hand, but using a wheeled seed spreader or a hand caster can help distribute the seed more evenly.

Step 3

Rake over the soil surface lightly to help the seeds get planted in the soil. Most grass seed should be planted shallowly, between 1/4 and 3/4 of an inch, according to the Purdue University Extension.

Step 4

Roll over the area with a lawn roller to solidify and firm the soil surface and ensure that the seed makes good contact with the soil.

Step 5

Cover the area with a mulch consisting of hay, straw or weed-free grass. Full coverage is not essential, but at least 50 to 75 percent of the surface area should be covered to help the soil conserve moisture, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

Step 6

Water the grass seed immediately after it has been planted. Ample watering is the most essential component of planting grass from seed. The soil needs to be kept moist for two weeks after planting to allow the seed to germinate and grow, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Depending on weather conditions, you may have to water several times a day to keep the soil moist.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant grass seed on a windy day. The seed can be blown from the soil surface, resulting in a patchy lawn. New grass should not be mowed until the blade height is at least 1/3 of the suggested growing height, according to All About Lawns. For the first mowing, set your lawn mower on its highest setting.

Things You'll Need

  • High-phosphorus starter fertilizer, such as a 1-2-1
  • Hand caster or wheeled seed spreader (optional)
  • Rake
  • Lawn roller
  • Straw, hay or grass for mulching


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Establishing Your Florida Lawn
  • Purdue University Extension: Cool-Season Grass Seed Production
  • All About Lawns: Planting by Seed
Keywords: spreading grass seed, planting grass seed, establishing grass seed

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.