How to Grow Grass on Dirt


It is possible to turn a patch of hard dirt full of weeds into a green lawn. Lawns contain thousands of individual grass plants or blades growing closely to create ground cover. Left uncut, many grass types grow to several feet tall and bloom. Homeowners cut grass to keep it lawn height. Properly prepared dirt yields green grass for groundcover and an aesthetically pleasing lawn.

Step 1

Spray the dirt area with liquid herbicide, particularly on weeds. Wait 24 hours. Spray the area again with additional liquid herbicide.

Step 2

Wait two weeks. Use a weeding tool to extract all weeds and roots from the dirt area.

Step 3

Water the dirt with 1 inch of water if it is compacted and hard. Begin at one corner and till the area 10 inches down with a garden till. Till back and forth in equal rows to break up all of the dirt.

Step 4

Remove rocks, twigs, root clumps and other debris from the dirt.

Step 5

Leach the soil with water. Wet the tilled soil with 3 inches of water. Wait 24 hours. Repeat for three consecutive days.

Step 6

Allow the soil to drain for 48 hours. Spread lawn starter fertilizer over the area following the instructions on the bag to determine the volume needed per square foot of dirt.

Step 7

Spread 2 inches of aged cow manure over the dirt. Till the dirt 4 inches deep to mix in the starter fertilizer and manure.

Step 8

Rake the soil level with a metal garden rake. Roll the soil with a lightweight yard roller.

Step 9

Fill a seed spreader with the recommended amount of grass seed that grows in your USDA Hardiness Zone. Start at one corner and walk back and forth in rows to spread the appropriate amount of seed.

Step 10

Place a water sprinkler on one corner of the area. Allow it to run for five minutes on a mist setting. Move the sprinkler until the entire area is moist with water.

Step 11

Cover the entire area with 2 inches of straw to protect the seed from being eaten by wildlife.

Step 12

Water daily until the soil is moist but not drenched for five consecutive days. Remove the straw when the grass reaches 1 inch tall.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear disposable gloves when you handle aged cow manure.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid herbicide
  • Weeding tool
  • Water
  • Garden till
  • Lawn starter fertilizer
  • Aged cow manure
  • Metal rake
  • Yard roller
  • Lawn sprinkler
  • Straw


  • "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep It Green, Groomed and Growing Every Season of the Year"; David R. Mellor; 2003
Keywords: grass on dirt, growing grass, starting lawns

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.