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Grass seed – sowing, preparation and aftercare

If you want a good-looking lawn but don’t want the hassle or expense of buying and laying turf, try creating it from seed. Using seed instead of turf has several advantages; other than the cost, there’s a huge range of seed mixes available, and seed is much better for those hard to reach areas such as corners and slopes. Seed also sees the benefit of storage until ideal conditions present themselves, whereas turf may deteriorate if not laid within 24 hours of delivery.

Grass seed is best grown in spring time or early autumn when the ground is damp from rain which makes it ideal for seed germination, don’t attempt to sow in summer as the lawn will not have enough water and seedlings will die off.

Soil preparation

  • Skim off any old grass before you lay the seed, removing any debris such as weeds and stones, making sure that you roughly level the surface with a fork or rake. Don’t use a residual weed killer to clear the weeds as it can remain in the soil and prevent the grass from germinating.
  • Firm the soil up by walking over it in different directions using the weight in your heels, then rake again in different directions. You could also apply a general purpose fertiliser to kick start growth.

Sowing seeds

  • Use canes or markers to identify the area that needs to be seeded
  • Shake the seed up to mix it
  • As a reference, spread the seed at 50g/per square metre or at the rate directed on the packaging – splitting the 50g and scattering half in one direction across the square and the rest in the opposite direction.
  • After sowing, lightly rake over the area and water.


  • Birds have a tendency to eat grass seeds so think about protecting the newly sown areas with a net.
  • Prevent people from walking on the area and flattening the grass.
  • Seedlings are susceptible to drought so water during dry spells.
  • Weed by hand as weeds stifle grass growth; weed seedlings can usually be killed when mowing begins but you will need to monitor this. If using a weed killer, ensure it can be used on newly sown lawns.
  • When the new grass is around 2” high cut with a rotary mower to around 1”, making sure that you rake up the clippings afterwards. This process will need to be repeated for the next four cuts.