How to Grow Grass Guide
Time Required: Over 1 day
The least expensive way to start a lawn or restore your existing landscape is by planting grass seeds. As long as the area is relatively flat, starting and maintaining a lawn with seed is quite simple.
This guide will teach you how to grow grass in your lawn and fill in empty patches for a lush, green landscape in just a few steps. A full list of necessary tools and materials can be found at the bottom of this page.
- First, target the problem areas and prepare the soil properly.
- Remove all debris and any wood, stones or large roots.
- Use a spade and garden rake to scratch the soil 1 to 2 inches at the surface, then dig about six inches deep to remove roots and rocks.
- Add seeding soil to the top of your existing soil and smooth with the rake.
- If you are not using seeding soil, add the starter grass fertilizer on top of the existing soil with a spreader.
- Mix well-rotted manure or compost into the soil, refilling any holes.
- Smooth the area with a rake and lightly pat it down.
- Now it’s time to plant grass seeds.
- A spreader is necessary for uniform growth of the new grass. In large areas, you can use either a broadcast or drop spreader for uniform coverage. In smaller areas, you may use a hand spreader.
- Use a rake to cover the seeds lightly with soil.
- Cover the area with a shallow layer of wheat straw to hold the seeds in place and help them retain moisture.
Note: Depending on where you live, some grass seed comes in an annual version only and will not return year after year. Be sure to look for a perennial version or ask a Home Depot Garden Center associate for help.
- Fill your lawn roller with water or sand to add weight, and go over the top of the area to tamp the seed down. This will help with erosion and will keep the birds from eating the seed.
- If you live on a slope, you may want to use a seed mat to prevent the seed from washing away.
- A properly watered lawn is crucial to growing grass.
- Soak the soil 4 to 6 inches deep immediately after seeding. For new seeds, a gentle approach is key. Use a sprinkler or hand sprayer with a mist setting to avoid washing away soil and seed.
- Depending on weather conditions, follow up with daily or twice daily watering until the seeds are well established.
- It's important to never let the seed dry out as this inhibits germination. It takes a minimum of seven to 14 days for seed to germinate, and much longer for warm-season grasses (up to 30 days for grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia).
- Until seedlings are visible, lightly water with a sprinkler as often as three to four times a day until the grass is about a half-inch high.
- Once you are able to mow the lawn, water at a rate of 1 inch per week to keep the grass roots healthy. It is more important to water deeply and less frequently than to water every day. This will allow the roots to grown down and will help grass survive in drought conditions.