How to Start a Lawn from Seed


  • Author Ricky Luttrell
  • Published March 15, 2021
  • Word count 717

How to Start a Lawn from Seed

Having the most excellent lawn on the block is an award that most homeowners work for years to achieve. If your lawn is unattractive and needs a fresh start, reseeding the lawn may be the best option. Starting from seed will allow a homeowner to choose the variety of grass that best fits the surrounding environment. Seeding a new lawn is an easy project that can improve curb appeal and increase a property's value. With a few easy steps, a yard can have a new lease on life:

Begin the reseeding process at the right time of year

Planting a lawn from seeds will need to be done after the last threat of frost has passed. Grass seed will not germinate in cold weather and can be damaged by freezing temperatures. Consult your growing zone's later frost date and plan to plant after. A general rule of thumb is to wait seven to ten days past the last frost date to plant grass seed. Waiting for the frost threat to pass will ensure that the fruits of your labor will not be killed by cold weather.

Remove existing vegetation, grass, and debris.

Clearing the area of all obstacles is the next step to reseeding a lawn. Remove all pine straw, leaves, and sticks from the site. Using a rake to remove all debris is the easiest and fasted method. Getting rid of vegetation will remove any plants that will compete with freshly planted grass seed. Two weeks before planting, spray any living grass or vegetation with glyphosate. Glyphosate will eliminate any existing plants and will break down before seeds being planted.

Add any fertilizers or soil enhancers.

If the soil suffers from a nutrient deficiency, a homeowner can take steps to improve growing conditions. Applying sulfur or lime will help to adjust the pH of the soil. A simple soil test can determine if any corrective action is needed. Spreading a nitrogen-based fertilizer before planting grass seed will pack the soil with nutrients necessary for germination.

Level the ground

Level the soil with a gardening rake or shovel. Ensuring a smooth and level surface will help to spread grass seed evenly. Remove any remaining debris before planting as well.

Apply grass seed

Apply the recommended amount of grass seed to the prepared soil. Remember always to follow the manufacturer's application rates. Most application rates are outlines in a per 1,000 square foot rate. Applying coated grass seed is easier and more efficient than an uncoated variety. Depending on the size of the lawn, a hand spreader is usually ample for application.

Cover the seed with soil or sand

Covering the newly applied seed with soil or sand will assist in the germination process. A light layer of soil will help to hydrate the seeds. Keeping seeds hydrated and protected from the elements will pay dividends in the germination process. Covering freshly sown seeds will also prevent them from being blown or washed away by the elements. Predators, such as birds and squirrels, will also be deterred from eating the seeds if they are covered.


Most grass varieties will need to receive between one and two inches of rain per week. Grass seeds are no different. Keeping freshly planted seeds moist is one of the most essential parts of growing a new lawn. Watering multiple times a day will help to hydrate the seeds. If dry or drought conditions persist after planting, the seeds will require increased watering. Most seeds will need intensive watering for at least three weeks post-planting. Do ensure that grass seeds do not sit in excessive amounts of water. Over hydrating seeds can lead to rot and disease.

General maintenance and enjoying the lawn

Most lawns can be trimmed or cut after five to seven weeks have passed. Mowing a newly planted lawn too early can damage the turf and lead to decreased growth rates. Watering schedules can be reduced after the grass' roots have taken hold. Continue to fertilize and apply nutrients to the lawn as prescribes. Homeowners can typically add Pre-emergent and post-emergent products to the lawn after eight weeks of growth. After working to plant a beautiful new property, the most important advice is to enjoy the healthy and happy grass you have created!

With a love of gardening and landscaping, Ricky has always enjoyed sharing gardening advice. Ricky contributes to multiple sites including Lawn and Petal. Ricky enjoys working in his lawn and helping his wife with her annual vegetable garden.

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