How to make a lawn from seed

We discussed the benefits and ‘when to’ aspects of creating a lawn from seed in sowing a lawn from seed. This article will give a step by step guide on how to make a lawn from seed.

Firstly we need to prepare the ground for a lawn. This includes removing any existing objects such as stones, bricks, weeds / other vegetation, digging the soil over and breaking up large clods, raking the soil to achieve a finer soil structure.

If you like you can apply some lawn fertiliser (no weed or moss killer are required - these are found in some ‘all in one’ lawn feeds). Special pre-sowing lawn fertiliser is available. Adding an initial dose of this fertiliser will help accelerate the lawns establishment. Incorporate the fertilizer into the soil using a rake.

After you have performed the levelling of the soil and raked you then want the soil to consolidate so the underlying structure of the lawn is firm. This will ensure that we don’t end up with lumps and hollows in our lawns surface. If you like you can let the soil consolidate naturally over a period of weeks, otherwise you can ‘tread’ the lawn site to firm the soil. Rake again.

You are now ready to sow your seed. The key to sowing grass seed is to obtain a uniform, even distribution. This is easier said than done but there are methods that can help you achieve this goal.

One of the simplest and most effective is to create a device that will help you measure how much soil you are covering. Create a 1m2 area by taping / tying 4 1m long garden canes together in a square. Sow the lawn systematically starting at one end and flipping the cane square over until you reach the other end. Now flip the square over sideways and work you way back up the lawn. Continue this pattern until you have covered the whole lawn.

How much grass seed?

There may be instructions on your grass seed packet for how much seed to use per square metre but if not then around 30-60g per square metre is a good guide. To ensure even application measure out the amount required for a metre square and place it in a mug. Note how full the mug is and then you will then be able to fill the mug to the same level each time you move to the next metre square.

When applying grass seed make sure that you cover the soil in directions that are at right angles to each other. To do this take half the amount of seed out of the mug and apply it using a top to bottom direction and then use the other half of the seed in the mug spreading it in a left to right direction.

You should be able to track your progress visually and see if you have left any bare patches.

After you have finished sowing the lawn you can gently rake the soil to help incorporate some of the seed into the soil.

Lawn care after sowing

After you have sown your lawn you with patience you will have the enjoyment of watching the lawn develop and firmly establish itself. Water if the soil seems to be drying out. If birds seem to be going for the grass seed then you can lay some twigs across the lawn to help deter them. Apart from this then try to keep everyone off the lawn site until the lawn is fully established.

When the grass has reached a height of around 3 inches you can make the first cut with the lawn mower. Before the first cut ensure your lawn mower blades are sharp so they can cut cleanly through the grass blades instead of pulling the grass out by the roots. If your lawn mower has a grass box / bag then make sure it is fitted so that you do not need to rake the grass clippings which can snag and pull out some of the remaining grass with its roots.

If you can adjust the height of the blades on your lawn mower then raise the blades to a high height that just trims the top off the blades. You DO NOT want to cut the grass short at this stage as it will find it hard to recover and lose its vigour. Taking just the tips of the grass blades off will also encourage bushy growth and root development. This will soon result in the ‘thickening up’ of your lawn.

After a few cuts at the highest setting you can start to progressively gradually lower the height of the blades with each cut until they are at a height that is suitable to the grass types that make up your lawn.