Home Lawn Care New Lawns How to Sow Grass Seed Create a New Lawn, Step-by-Step

How to Sow Grass Seed Create a New Lawn, Step-by-Step

By Tim Stephens

In this article, I’m going to show you, step-by-step, how to sow grass seed to create a new lawn.

It’s around 7 times cheaper to sow grass seed than it is to lay turf. That said, you’ll have to wait much longer before you can enjoy your new lawn.

However, my advice is that you don’t even bother reading this article until you;

  1. Know for sure whether you want to sow grass seed or lay turf
  2. Prepared the ground properly, and
  3. Figured out how much grass seed you need

The following articles will help;

Then you need to prepare the ground in the best way possible;

  • How to Prepare the Ground For Sowing Grass Seed – Preparing the ground is the most important step of the whole process. If you get this wrong, your new lawn won’t ever be as healthy or look as good as it should. This article will show you, step-by-step, how to prepare the ground properly so your grass seed germinates and grows as quickly as possible.

Only after preparing the ground is it time to think about ordering grass seed;

  • What’s the Best Grass Seed for My Lawn? – This article will help you choose the best type of grass seed to sow your new lawn with. Use the wrong type and again, your lawn won’t be as healthy or look as good as it should. Choose the right type, however, and your lawn will look fantastic.
  • Grass Seed Calculator – Use my grass seed calculator to work out exactly how much grass seed you need to sow your lawn with. It’ll work out how much grass seed you need for square, circular and triangular lawns. I’ll also show you how to measure an odd-shaped lawn that a calculator can’t help with.

For the best possible results, read these guides before getting started. Putting in the reading time now will ensure fantastic results later.

I promise you that.


When to Sow Grass Seed For a New Lawn

When learning how to sow grass seed, you should understand when to sow it to make sure it germinates quickly and establishes itself as soon as possible.

Sowing grass seed should be done when growing conditions are at their best. That means warm soil, plenty of moisture and good levels of sunlight. Ideally, you’ll also want to sow grass seed when there are fewer weed seeds floating around and germinating in your new lawn.

This means that the best time to sow grass seed is late summer/early autumn.

The soil will still hold the warmth of the summer, rainfall will start to increase and there will still be plenty of daylight hours. Also, weeds tend to be in larger numbers in spring and early summer, much less so at this time of year.

Not only that, but new grass roots establish better during the winter. If you sow seed in the spring, grass tends to want to flower before the roots have had a chance to establish themselves. This can mean the grass isn’t as healthy as it should be.

Avoid sowing grass seed during the summer, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to give the soil the moisture it needs to promote germination and growth. Some people say winter is a brilliant time to sow seed and if it’s mild, why not?!

So How Long Does it Take For Grass Seed to Grow?

Grass seed germination can take from 5 to 30 days. It depends on several factors including;

  • The variety of grasses in the seed mix
  • How much moisture is in the soil
  • The temperature of the soil and air
  • And MANY other factors

But generally speaking, you should start to see new grass shoots within a couple of weeks.


Tools You’ll Need For Sowing Grass Seed

To create a new lawn, or repair an existing lawn you’re going to need the right tools and equipment.

Here’s what you may need (or may not need, depending on your situation);

Grass Seed

grass seedWhen you’ve decided on the type of lawn you want, how you’ll use it and the soil type, choose the best grass seed for the job.

It’s always a good idea to order more than you need so you’ve got the same seed mix if and when you need to overseed or renovate your lawn in the future.

Read: Which is the Best Grass Seed For My Lawn?

Pre-Lawn Fertiliser

pre lawn fertiliserAt the very minimum, you need to fertilise the soil before spreading grass seed.

If you don’t, the roots will have a hard time establishing themselves and the whole lawn will be very slow to grow.

Rolawn’s GroRight Lawn Establishment Fertiliser is the best I’ve come across.

Grass Seed and Fertiliser Spreader

seed fertiliser spreaderSpreading grass seed or a pre-lawn fertiliser evenly on a small lawn can be done fairly easily by hand.

Or you can get little handy spreaders that’ll help do it that bit quicker and more evenly.

However, if you have a large area that needs seeding and fertilising, invest in a bigger spreader. It’ll make the job so much quicker and easier.

Landscaping Rake

landscapers rakeYou’ll need a rake to rake the new grass seed into the soil once it has been levelled and prepared.

A landscaping rake with strong tines and a flat back is the ideal tool for this job.

Hose and Sprinkler

garden sprinklerWith the grass seed spread and raked into the soil, you’ll need to keep the ground moist in order for the seed to germinate and new grass roots to grow and establish.

The best way to water the lawn gently without washing the grass seed away is to do it with a sprinkler.

Read: The Best Garden Hose: My Top 6 Picks


How to Sow Grass Seed, Step-by-Step

So, how to sow grass seed…

It’s a simple process as the video from Rolawn below explains how to spread the seed and care for the lawn as it establishes.

However, something that isn’t covered in this video which I’d advise you to do is water the prepared ground a couple of days before sowing your seed.

Water to a depth of around 6-inches and leave it to soak in. If you do this once you’ve

Then, watch the video;

Step 1: Spread the Lawn Seed at the Specified Rate

The specified rate for many grass seed mixes is 35g per square meter.

It’s best to do this with a number of passes to ensure you spread the seed as evenly as possible. If you have a small lawn, this can be done by hand fairly easily. However, I’d still recommend you use a spreader as it’s quicker and more accurate – especially on larger lawns.

Be careful not spread seed onto paths and into borders. You can always spread seed at the edges of the lawn by hand.

Step 2: Rake the Seed into the Soil

Take your landscaping rake and lightly rake the grass seed into the top 12mm – 25mm of soil. Be careful to keep the area as flat as possible, you don’t want a bumpy surface.

To ensure a good contact between soil and seed, either tread the area again or use a lawn roller.

Step 3: Keep the Area Moist

Critically, you need to keep the soil moist.

If not, the grass seed has no chance of germinating. But you need to be careful about how you water the area. If you’re too rough you risk drowning the grass seed or washing it away.

So, get a sprinkler that has a fine spray setting.

If you watered deeply before sowing seed then there should be enough moisture under the surface. The idea here is to water only as deep as the new roots so they can consume that moisture and the nutrients within it.

Hopefully, the weather will help you out here but as we know, the weather rarely works in our favour.

If there is no rain, water for 20 minutes or so in the morning and evening.

You should see the grass seeds germinate within 10 – 14 days.

Step 4: Watch Out For Weeds

It’s inevitable that weed seeds will blow in and contaminate your new lawn. Remove them by hand as soon as you see them. Don’t put a weedkiller on them as the grass seedlings are too delicate and you’ll kill them.

And because the seedlings are so delicate, be very careful about where you stand, how you walk, crouch and turn on the soil. You could damage them. It’s a good idea to use a couple of wooden planks to walk on.

Step 5: Mow the Grass

After 8 – 12 weeks your lawn will start to look like a lawn but the chances are it’ll look a bit scruffy. This is ok.

Wait until the grass is between 6cm – 8cm high and mow the lawn. You only want to take the top off the grass, so set the mower on a high setting. This mowing encourages the grass to root deeply and grow sideways shoots and in turn, more leaves which thicken the lawn.

Keep removing any weeds and weed grasses that have snuck in.

Step 6: Spread More Grass Seed (If Needed)

Depending on the growing conditions your lawn might look really good during the autumn. However, you might see there is still a lot of bare soil.

If this is the case, don’t worry. Take some of the excess grass seed and spread into the bare soil. This can be done during autumn but also in winter, providing it’s mild and not cold.

Grass seed will germinate between 8 – 12 degrees Celsius which means you should have plenty of opportunities to sow new seed.

Step 7: As Spring Rolls Around, Keep an Eye Out For Weeds and Mow More Regularly

As spring rolls around the grass will start to grow much more quickly so you’ll need to cut it more often. This will further cause the grasses roots to grow sideways and knit together creating a thicker, lusher lawn.

Spring is also the time when weed seeds are in their highest numbers, so keep an eye on the weeds in your lawn. You’ll still need to remove them by hand at this point as the grass won’t be so tolerant of weedkillers until it’s a good 12 months old.

By the time summer arrives, your new lawn should look fantastic!


In Summary

In this guide, I’ve shown you, step-by-step, how to sow grass seed to create a new lawn.

As you can see, creating a new lawn from seed can take a few months and your new lawn will need close care over the year.

It’s often a slow process which makes laying turf a tempting alternative.

That said, if you want to create an ornamental lawn, it’s often the only way to to do it as there are very few suppliers of ornamental turfs.

Now it’s Your Turn

If you’ve been trying to find out how to sow grass seed, I’d love to hear what you think of this guide.

If you have any questions, want to share your experiences or if you don’t fully understand something, please leave a comment below and I’ll jump in and answer you.

I’d also love to see your pictures too. If you have any before and after pictures, send them in. I’d love to share them with the community.