How to Top Dress Yard Grass Seed


Top dressing the soil is a great way to give a new lawn a healthy start. When the soil is amended with a quality top dressing, seed germination rates improve and lawns grow healthier longer. A yard fortified with an initial top dressing will grow more thickly and better resist weed and moss growth. But top dressing isn't just for newly seeded lawns. To ensure the long term health of your lawn, top dress it annually in fall to keep soil quality high.

Step 1

Mix the top dressing. For most lawns, top dressing should be a mixture of 3 parts sand to three parts loam to one part peat. For clay soils, increase the amount of sand and decrease the amount of loam. For sandier soils, reduce the amount of sand. You need 3 to 4 pounds of top dressing mixture per square yard of lawn you intend to seed.

Step 2

Hand or roto till the soil to a depth of 6 inches.

Step 3

Use a shovel to spread the top dressing over the tilled soil.

Step 4

Till the soil again, to a depth of 6 inches.

Step 5

Rake the soil smooth.

Step 6

Spread a high-quality grass seed over the soil. Broadcast rates vary depending on the type of seed that you are spreading. However, a general rule is 3 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Small lawns can be hand broadcast. Seed larger lawns with a seed broadcaster.

Step 7

Ensure that the grass seed has secure contact with the soil by walking over it.

Step 8

Top-dress the seed by spreading a 1/4-inch layer of peat moss over the yard.

Step 9

Water the grass so that the top inch of the soil is moist. Continue to water the soil daily until the grass seed germinates.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Loam
  • Peat
  • Grass seed
  • Hand tiller or roto tiller
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Seed broadcaster


  • Lawn and Mower: Topdressing the Lawn
  • Peat Moss: Top Dressing
Keywords: top dress yard, top dress seed, top dress soil

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.