Cover the soil with the correct grass seed for your location and the amount needed to cover the area. For example, some parts of the San Francisco Bay area work best with warm-season grasses — such as St. Augustine, buffalo or zoysia grass — while other Bay areas thrive with cool-season grasses such as tall fescue and perennial rye. Use your gloved hands to distribute the seeds evenly over areas smaller than 150 square feet. For larger areas, use a seed spreader.
Apply a thin layer – about 1/4 inch – of high-quality topsoil over the grass seed. Applying too thick and the seeds have a hard time germinating. Attach a garden hose sprayer with a mist option to a water hose. Dampen the top 6 inches of the soil with the water hose set on mist. Using a mist of water instead of a stream will prevent the seeds from washing away.
Remove the weeds from the area by either manually pulling them out of the ground or applying weed killer to the area. Hand-pulling weeds is safer for the soil, but removing all the roots can be difficult. Chemical weed killer kills the weeds and their roots, but may damage grass seed and leave pesticide residue in the soil, if you plant the seeds too soon after the herbicide application. If you choose to use weed killer, wait 2 to 3 weeks before planting new grass seed.
Till the top 6 inches of soil with a soil tiller. You can rent or purchase soil tillers at home improvement centers and rental yards. After the tiller turns under the dead weeds and soil, rake the soil with a garden rake to level the area as much as possible. Remove large rocks and break up clumps of soil.
Trying to grow grass in a weeded area is a frustrating task that generally provides undesirable results. Weeds are aggressive and invasive plants that choke out grass and flowers. They quickly take over an area and are notoriously hard to get rid of. When you choose to grow grass in an area overrun by weeds, you essentially have to start fresh by establishing new turf.
Continue watering the soil two to three times a day until the seeds have germinated and the grass is about 1/2-inch high. After germination occurs, you can cut back watering to once every day or two. Never let the seeds dry out.
To find out more about how to achieve this – follow our How to prepare the perfect seedbed guide.
We hate to sound like a school teacher, but it is true that if you fail to prepare – you should prepare to fail. Preparing your seedbed well goes a long way to ensuring successful germination and the future growth of your lawn. One of the first things you should consider is the quality of the soil you are working with – determining what soil type you have will greatly help this. In some instances, you may have extremely poor soil quality (e.g. leftover builders material in a new build) and it may be advisable to add top soil. Other soil types – sandy, clay and loam can all be worked with but will still need to be well prepared. The ideal seedbed should be:
Sowing season in the UK is generally from mid March – September, this is when temperatures are 8-10 degrees and above consistently, which is required for germination to occur. When planning to sow grass, make sure to consult a two week forecast to mitigate any risk of adverse weather or sudden drop in temperatures. If you plan to sow in particularly hot weather, make sure to water your soil adequately before and after sowing so that your seedlings do not dry out.
Knowing when to sow grass
You can sow grass seed by hand by simply scattering it, or by using a handheld spreader – please contact your manufacturer to calibrate the correct setting that matches the spreading rate of the seed. For sowing a new lawn, we recommend sowing the seed at 50g per m2. For overseeding an existing lawn, we recommend sowing at 35g per m2.