FAQ: How do I grow a new lawn from scratch?

You Asked: How do I grow a new lawn from scratch?

We answered:

Planting a new lawn from scratch can seem easy to people who have never done it before.  Removing the old grass, stirring the soil, and throwing on new seedlings seems to be part of the basic process.  However, planting a lawn is actually a subtle and precise procedure that has to be done right in order to get the best results.  The process itself adds complexity to the question, “How do I grow a new lawn from scratch?”

Testing the Soil

Grass, just like any other plant, requires specific conditions in order for it to thrive.  The soil has to have the proper mixture of nutrients and minerals in order to grow properly.  The PH level in the soil also has to be just right.  In order to test the soil, professional help can be hired or you can do it yourself with a kit like the Luster Leaf test kit.

Clearing the Soil

Once all of the testing has taken place, the soil needs to be cleared of all debris.  Remove any large objects that might hinder the grass’ ability to grow.  Break down the soil so that it resembles small pebbles.  The smaller the soil particles, the better the grass can grow. Basically you're just trying to get rid of most rocks and large clumps of soil. If you have to, bring in some top soil for this. BUT, you must be careful about where you get your top soil. It's preferred to get soil specifically for this as many "places" advertising top soil for sale can cause problems. The issues arise when the top soil you bring in has a ton of weed seeds in it. Meaning you're bringing in unwanted weeds for your nice new lawn.... just something to think about and keep in mind.

Evening out the Soil

In order to create a flat lawn with no peaks or holes in it, you have to even out the surface.  The best way to do this is with a rake.  Drag the rake along the ground so that small lines are made in the soil.  Continue to remove any debris or pebbles as you go along.

Seeding the Ground

Once the soil is prepared, it is then time to place the seeds in the ground.  Some people like to do this by hand but it can actually cause the grass to grow in clumps.  Instead, it is best to use a rotary spreader that can distribute the seeds evenly on the ground.  Once the seeds have been planted, fertilizer should be placed on top immediately.

Covering the Seeds

After having been spread on the ground, the seeds are still exposed to the elements.  A gust of wind or the meddling of a pet can undo all of the hard work that has been put into a yard.  In order to avoid this, it is a good idea to lightly cover the seeds with dirt.  This can be done by dragging the back of a rake along the soil. Or, commonly uses as well is straw or mesh designed specifically for this purpose.

Watering the Lawn

This should be done as soon as the seeding has been completed.  For the first two to three weeks, the soil should be kept wet through constant watering. You want the soil moist and wet, but NOT drenched and puddled. This is another good reason for the mesh or straw to keep rain from washing the seeds away.  Once the grass begins to sprout, the watering can be reduced to once a day.  Consistent and proper watering is the best way to grow a lush lawn.

These are the tips to follow the next time you ask, “How do I grow a new lawn from scratch?”  Every part of the process has to be done precisely and no shortcuts should be taken.  The more effort you put into your lawn, the better it will grow.

Watch for a later update on this as we look into new lawn options with Sod.

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