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How to Plant a Lawn From Seed & Newspaper

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

The traditional way to start a new lawn is to prepare the area by removing all of the plants, grass and weeds before laying the seed. But by removing all of the unwanted plant life, you rob your new lawn of essential nutrients. Using newspaper to recycle your lawn's existing plant matter not only nourishes the soil, but also helps it retain the moisture it needs to start a healthy new lawn.

Cover the seeding area with a layer of newspaper that is six sheets thick. Cut down with pruning shears any plants too sturdy to crush underfoot.

Water the newspaper thoroughly to weigh it down.

Spread a 2-inch layer of topsoil over the newspaper.

Smooth and flatten the topsoil with a garden rake.

Distribute the seed over your lawn using a seed spreader. Read the package that your seed came in for instructions on how much seed to broadcast.

Apply a liquid seed starter fertilizer to your newly seeded lawn according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Go over the seeded lawn with a lawn roller to ensure that the seed has good contact with the soil.

Water the lawn thoroughly so the soil is wet to the level of the newspaper. Continue to keep the soil moist at this depth until your grass seed sprouts.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Newspaper
  • Garden hose
  • Topsoil
  • Garden rake
  • Seed spreader
  • Liquid seed starter fertilizer
  • Lawn roller

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.