Sowing Grass Seed

Starting From Scratch - Sowing Bare Ground

A lawn can be sown from the middle of spring onwards and it will cost you less than turfing. There are grass seed mixes available to suit every garden, from shady spots to gardens with low rainfall.

When to sow a lawn

If you want a fantastic lawn, but don’t want the expense of buying turf, try creating it from seed. Grass seed is best sown mid-spring or from late summer to mid-autumn; there is less competition from weeds, and the soil is warm, and damp from rain. Perfect for seeds to germinate.

Using seed has several advantages over turf. Apart from the cost, there are lots of different mixes available and seed is better for trickier areas, such as slopes and corners

Choosing seed

  • Buy a seed mixture that is right for your garden. Many suppliers have a large range including blends for drought, shade or for a fine ornamental lawn. If you have children or dogs a hard-wearing family lawn mixture, containing rye grass, would be suitable.

Soil preparation

  • Prepare the soil by skimming off any old grass, removing large stones and weeds, and then roughly levelling.
  • Fork over the site and rake level to leave a fine finish.
  • Firm the soil by walking over it or using a roller.
  • Two or three days before the seed is to be sown, lightly rake in a granular fertiliser.
  • It may be advantageous to test your soil to check that the pH, N, P, and  K levels are optimal for seed germination.  This can be carried out with simple soil testing kits: SOIL TEST KIT

How to sow seeds

  • Use canes to mark out the area to be sown into square metres.
  • A good rule of thumb is to spread seed at 50g per square metre. Weigh out the seed to cover each square metre into a container and mark the level on the outside to act as a guide.
  • Split each 50g in half and scatter seed in one direction diagonally across a square and then spread the rest in the opposite direction.
  • After sowing, use the roller again, twice to make sure the seed is embedded into the soil. You want the soil to be firm so if you rode a bicycle over it you would not see any tyre tracks.
  • Gently water the area.


  • Protect the newly sown seed from birds by stretching fruit netting over the top.
  • It is also worth cordoning off the area with string and canes to prevent people from walking across the soil.
  • Seedlings are susceptible to drought, so keep them watered during dry spells. Test your soil regularly by pushing your fingers into it.
  • Carefully weed the area by hand, removing any weeds before they flower. As the grass continues to grow, it will stifle weed growth.
  • When the new lawn is 5cm (2in) high, cut with a rotary mower to 2.5cm (1in). Carefully rake up the clippings. Do this for the next four cuts.

Here are links to the products mentioned above: