How To Prepare Your Soil and Seed Your Lawn

If you’re looking for a natural and cost-effective way of creating a beautiful lawn, seeding is the ideal option.

With the right care, a natural lawn can produce an outstanding effect. However, as with any gardening, preparation is key. Before you even begin thinking about sowing the seeds, you need to be sure that your soil and land are in the best possible condition.

From getting your soil ready to care for your grass once the seeds begin to shoot, we’ve put together everything you could possibly need to create a lawn that will truly bring your garden to life.

Shovel in the earth close up

Choosing your grass seed

There are a whole host of grass seeds available depending on your garden and your needs. If you are:

Of course, there are a whole host of options available to suit a variety of lawns — explore the full lawn seed collection at Gardeners Dream to find the perfect one for you.

Preparing your lawn

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again — preparation is key! To ensure your soil is in its prime before seeding, you need to:

  • Begin preparing your lawn a few weeks ahead of time. You should start with basic weeding and cleaning up — dig out any thicker-rooted weeds, and remove any stones from your soil.
  • Turn over the ground. The soil should be dug to a depth of at least 20-25cm and rotated using a gardening fork or spade.  
  • Use a large landscaping rake to level the ground.
  • Once the soil is level, it needs to be firmed down to get rid of any large air pockets and prevent the soil level from dropping at a later date. You can use a light roller to do this, or simply tread the soil down with your feet.
  • Give your soil time to settle — a few weeks is recommended.
  • Before you begin sowing seeds or laying turf, rake a final time with a fine-toothed rake. For sowing seeds, this top layer of soil will need raking to a fine tilth.
  • Finally, ensure once again that any weeds or debris are removed from your soil.

When to seed a lawn

If you are looking to seed your lawn the optimum time is in the height of spring. While autumn sowing is also a possibility, ideally we would recommend seeding your lawn between April and May. During these months the temperatures are even, and your lawn will benefit from rain and natural moisture. Any earlier, and there is the chance of frost or snow affecting growth. Much later, you will be entering the summer months — at which point much more manual watering will be needed.

Grass in a sunny day close up

How to seed and grow a lawn

By this point, your soil should be more than prepared for seeding. To get your grass seeds off to the best possible start:

  • If you are working with a large area, divide your lawn up into small sections of around a square metre.
  • Evenly scatter the seed over the ground. This works best if you split the seed into four lots and seed in different directions for an even distribution.
  • Use a rake to gently mix the seed with the soil. At this point you can add a starter fertiliser to your soil — we would recommend the Gardeners Dream Spring & Summer Turf Enhancer Grass Feed.
  • Use a light roller and roll the soil in two directions to gently secure the seeds in place.

Once you have your seeds planted, you need to carry out a strict watering routine over the first three months to ensure your soil is getting all the moisture it needs.

In the first two weeks

The most important thing is to ensure your lawn and seeds don’t dry out. Water your lawn with a fine spray twice a day for the first two weeks. It is important that you don’t use heavy water, as this can move the seed — as a general guide, anything strong enough to create a puddle is too much.

In the second two weeks

After the first two weeks, you can drop your watering to once every two days, or once a day if needed. Keep an eye on your soil during this vital period — if it begins to dry out, you can up the amount you water. Conversely, if your soil receives a lot of natural rain, you can manually water it less frequently.

In month two

During month two, you can begin to water your lawn less frequently and more heavily, as the soil will be able to handle a heavier flow of water. In month two, you should ideally be watering your lawn twice a week.

In month three

Grass in a summer day

By month three you should have a healthy-looking lawn. At this point, you can lower your watering to around once a week.

Of course, these rules are not set in stone: always keep an eye on the condition of your soil and adjust accordingly. Hot and dry or very damp weather can mean you need to water more or less.

It will depend on these external factors — the seed used, the seed depth and the temperature — but as a general guide, you should begin seeing shoots within 10 to 14 days.

When it comes to maintenance, you should not mow your new lawn until it hits 2.5 inches, at which point you can slowly and gently mow on a high setting. After these crucial first three months, you can begin using a lawn feed to encourage growth. However, the lawn will remain delicate for the first 6 months to a year, so do not carry out any aerating or scarifying in the first year, and avoid chemical fertilisers in the first six months.

And there you have it — how to grow a beautiful, natural lawn from scratch! To keep your lawn in the best possible condition all year round, be sure to explore our full lawn care collection.

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