The process of beginning a healthy, aesthetically pleasing lawn starts with choosing the right grass seed and properly applying it. Each situation may be different, depending on the amount of shade on your lawn, your geographic location and the season in which you start. In all cases, though, starting a healthy lawn is more than just getting a spreader and walking it around the yard.
There are two main types of grass seed, warm season and cool season. Some yards, especially in more temperature areas, may have blends of both warm season and cool season grasses so that the yard looks full all growing season. To get this effect, grass seed blends are popular, and are sold at hardware stores and lawn and garden centers.
Because grass seed can be somewhat fragile, there are certain times of the year to avoid planting. Neither winter nor summer are recommended planting times. Even in the southern portion of the country, where it is warmer and may not freeze, most warm season grasses will not grow as well in winter. In the summer, grass seed does not grow well because it dries out faster.
Applying grass seed can be done with a spreader or by hand. In some cases, grass seed can germinate when thrown on the surface of the lawn. In other cases, it will need to be covered with topsoil. Usually, covering the grass seed with one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch of soil is all that is needed.
Though grass seed can germinate from open ground, the cover is often recommended. Because grass seed is so small, it is easily washed or blown away in wet or windy climates. Therefore, the size is an important consideration when it comes to the recommended technique for grass seed.
Planting the proper amount of grass seed is important for the overall success of the lawn. In most cases, the label on the grass seed you choose will provide you with a recommendation for the amount. Generally, this will be listed in pounds per 1,000 square feet. The amount recommended usually falls between 10 to 20 seeds per square inch.
An alternative to planting grass seed is to lay sod. This is fully mature grass that comes in strips. Eventually, the sod will take hold in the yard's topsoil, but this often requires a great deal of watering. Sod is the more expensive option, as well.