How to Grass Seed a Lawn


Growing new grass is all about site preparation. Unless you add the correct nutrients and pay it enough attention, grass seed will not germinate. Spend a couple of days, when you know it's going to be dry outside, preparing the soil. It is best to spread the seed on non-windy days, or you will end up with grass in undesirable places. Plant grass seed in the spring or fall. It is usually too warm to plant it in the summer.

Step 1

Get rid of any debris that may prevent the grass seed from touching soil. This includes rocks and branches. Break up soil clumps that are larger than 1 inch in diameter.

Step 2

Pull weeds. If there are too many to rip out by hand, use an herbicide to kill them. You must apply it a few weeks in advance to ensure that it does not affect grass growth. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 3

Loosen the soil to add air pockets for root growth. Run a rototiller over it until the top 4 to 6 inches is loose. Add topsoil to low-lying spots. Rake until smooth.

Step 4

Add nutrients in the form or sand and compost. This will also make the drainage better. Put down 1 inch of each substance. Till them into the top inch of dirt.

Step 5

Apply a starter fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. Follow the instructions on the package to determine the rate to set the broadcast spreader.

Step 6

Spread grass seed with a mechanical or hand spreader. Use whichever method works better for the size of your lawn. Spread an average of 8 to 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet for a thick lawn. Different grass varieties require varying amounts of seed, so check the seed bag for specific application amounts.

Step 7

Rake the grass seeds with the back of a metal rake gently. Cover it with a small amount of the amended soil to keep it in place and promote fast germination.

Step 8

Water the grass seed to encourage sprouting. Set your sprinkler to an oscillating setting. Give it water at least twice a day for five to 10 minutes at a time. After 10 days, cut down to daily watering for 15 to 30 minutes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not water grass at night because you increase the risk of fungal disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Soil
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Mechanical or hand spreader
  • Sprinkler
  • Water


  • Organic Approach: Guide for New Lawns
  • Spring-Green: Lawn Seeding Tips
  • This Old House: How to Seed a Lawn
Keywords: grass seed lawn, plant grass seed, grow grass

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.