Woman holding seeds in her hand over a lawn.

How to Seed a Lawn

Sowing lawn seed is much cheaper than turfing, but you will have to wait a few months before it is ready for use. The best time to seed a lawn is in early autumn when the soil is warm and germination quick; sowing in early spring is an option but the colder soil conditions may prolong germination.

When to plant: Early autumn or early spring.

At their best: All year round.

Time to complete: 3 hours or more for larger lawns.

You will need: Lawn seed, well-rotted organic matter, horticultural grit, all-purpose granular fertilizer, stakes or string, pen and plastic cup, bird-proof netting.

Choose your seed

Unlike turf, where you have a choice of just two or three types, lawn seed is available in many forms, including seed for shady spots or dry areas and clover lawns. Prepare the soil as for turf. Mark out a square yard (meter) with stakes or string, and weigh the right quantity of seed for that area. Pour the seed into a plastic cup and mark the top level with a pen. You can then use it as a measuring cup.

Sow systematically

Cover the soil evenly by scattering half the seed in the cup over the square yard (meter) in one direction, and then the other half at right angles. Set out the next square and fill the cup to the marked level; repeat the sowing process. Continue in this way until you have sown the whole area. If you have to walk over soil you have already seeded, stand on planks of wood to prevent your feet from creating hollows in your new lawn.

Protect from birds

Rake the seed into the soil to just cover it. Water with a can fitted with a rose, or spray lightly with a hose. Cover the seed with bird-proof netting, raised off the ground about 12 in (30 cm). The seedlings should appear in 14 days; continue to water regularly. When the grass reaches 2 in (5 cm), make the first cut with your mower on a high setting. For autumn-sown lawns, maintain this height until spring, then lower the blades.