How to Plant Grass Seed

The most affordable way to get that lush green lawn you’ve always dreamed of is by seed. If your area is fairly flat, getting your grass to grow should be pretty easy. The hardest part is preparing the ground and making sure that you’re dealing with good quality soil. There are also the actual seeds themselves to consider. There are many kinds to choose from and several factors to consider, but most importantly you need to think about your climate. Do you live somewhere with harsh winters? There’s a certain grass that will work best for you.

Planting Grass Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide

Seeding a new lawn

Step 1: Measure and Buy

The first step is to measure your yard. Knowing the size will help you determine exactly how much seed you require. The final amount will also depend on what type of grass you’re trying to grow. At least two or three days before planting, you should heavily water the ground. Don’t start planting until the surface has dried.

Thoroughly prepared yard for new grass seed planting

Step 2: Prepare

Use a rake to clear out the remaining debris. Then, grade the yard and consider adding a soil-enricher of your choosing such as mulch or manure. Grade the soil one last time before you start planting.

Cleared yard prepared for planting new grass seed

Step 3: Size It Up

Planting grass seed is a bit scientific. You want to stick with the manufacturer’s suggested application rate. For example, if the seed says apply so many pounds per 1,000 square feet, you’ll want to make sure you’ve sized out an area that matches this specification. To do this, you can use flour, chalk, or landscapers’ paint.

Cleared and prepared yard area for planting new seeds

Step 4: Weigh

Weigh all of the seeds in the package and then divide the seed by how much you’ll need to cover every 1,000 square feet of your lawn. Take half of the amount you need to cover your first marked area and place it into the drop spreader.

front yard grass seed planting in progress - lawn care Toronto

Step 5: Time To Spread

You’re finally ready to spread the seed on the lawn. Adjust your spreader to a low setting and start walking back and forth across your lawn. At the end of each row, switch off your hopper, and don’t start seeding again until after you’ve made the turn. Keep this going until you’ve emptied the spreader.

Seed spreading

Step 6: Spread The Rest

It’s time to take the other half of the seed and load it into the hopper for another pass over the area you just seeded. This time, when you’re walking back and forth, run perpendicular to the original path you took.

Garden rake used to drag the soil to cover the seeds

Step 7: Ready, Set, Rake!

Using your garden rake, drag the soil to lightly cover the seeds. Don’t cover them with any more than a ¼” of soil. A good rule of thumb is to try to make it so that only 10% of the seeds are visible to your naked eye. You just have to trust your best judgment on this one.

Garden roller is used to help seeds germinate

Step 8: Roll Lightly

The seeds won’t grow unless they have good contact with the soil. This is where the roller comes in. A bit of light rolling will help the seeds germinate without packing down the soil too tightly. The best rollers to use in this case are ones that can be filled with water. But don’t put any water on the roller to achieve the desired lightness.

Adding mulch on top of your seed

Step 9: Mulch It

Adding mulch on top of your seed helps retain moisture so your grass will have a better chance to establish itself. Ask your local garden center about the best kind of mulch for this job. Many people use wheat straw, but sometimes that can contain other seeds which may encourage the growth of annoying weeds.

Lawn watering system

Step 10: Water…A Lot

As the grass starts to grow, continue watering the lawn 2-4 times a day! These seeds can’t dry up or they will die. You need enough water to make the soil moist about 1-2 inches below the surface. As the grass grows taller, you can start reducing the watering frequency.

lawn mower shown on newly grown grass

Step 11: Mowing

Even though it cuts your lawn down, mowing encourages the grass to spread out and fill out your lawn, giving it that lush look you’ve always wanted. Start trimming your lawn when the grass has finally reached the standard mowing height. Never remove more than ⅓ of the grass height of the time.

Fertilized green grass

Step 12: Fertilize

After your grass has been around for 4-6 weeks, it’s time to add fertilizer. Wait another 10 weeks before adding yet another round of fertilizer. A good guideline to follow is to slowly release the fertilizer at 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.


Can I Just Throw Down Grass Seed?

No. If you just walk around tossing grass randomly onto your lawn, it will not grow because the seeds are not going to germinate properly. If the seeds aren’t protected by a thin layer of topsoil they’ll either wash away in the next rainstorm or dry out in the sun.

What Month Is Best to Put Grass Seed Down?

It all depends on your climate, but fall is the best time to plant cool-season grass seed and spring is the best time to plant warm-season grass seed.

Will Grass Seed Grow on Top of Grass?

Yes. If you choose the right kind of seed and wait until the right time of year, seeding over your existing lawn can be effective to thicken your turf and even fill in empty patches.

Will Heavy Rain Ruin Grass Seed?

Absolutely. Heavy rain and too much water can accelerate soil erosion, removing that protective layer of soil from atop your seedlings.

JHC Landscaping company truck

Taking care of your own lawn can be a daunting task. If you just want a lush, green lawn without the hassle, call up the team at JHC Landscaping today. Our team of grass experts can help you choose the right seed and start helping you plan a beautiful vision for your yard. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote, and let’s grow something great together.