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Landscaping 101

How to plant seed

4 min read

how to plant new seed in your yard

If you are getting ready to plant grass seed in your yard, there are a few things you should know beforehand. Getting grass to grow isn’t effortless, but it also doesn't have to be rocket science. As long as you can follow the correct procedures and are willing to put in just a little bit of effort, you will have a healthy and full lawn in no time. Let us now walk through all of the steps that should be taken in order to have great success in growing grass seed.

Necessary materials

In order to make things easier for yourself, it is a good idea to gather all of the necessary materials prior to starting the project. Different situations may call for slightly different materials, but they are going to be similar across the board. In general, you will need the following materials for seeding your lawn:

  • Seed: As you have probably speculated, you are going to need a mixture of grass seed. When it comes to choosing the actual blend for seeding your lawn, the most important factor to consider is the amount of sunlight that will cover the area you are planting on. Bags of seed will often be labeled with terms such as 'sunny mix' or 'shady mix' or even 'sun and shade mix'. If you are planting in a very open area with all sun and no shade, you're going to want to choose a 'sunny mix'. Alternatively, an area with lots of trees and shade will call for a 'shady mix'. If you're unsure, a 'sun and shade mix' will do the trick either way, as it has seeds for both conditions in the mixture.
  • Shovel or hoe: A shovel or a hoe is what you will need next. This is a tool that will be very useful for prepping the ground before you plant. If you want to save your back, choose a tool that stands tall enough so that you don't have to bend over too much to use it. Either tool will work.
  • Water source: Depending on how much rain you will be expecting, you may want to water your seed after it is planted. You may not need to water at all, depending on your individual circumstances. Just to be safe, try to have a water source ready.
  • Seed spreader (optional): If you are planting seed over a large area, a seed spreader can make your life a whole lot easier. It is also useful for providing a consistent spread of your seed. You can always plant the seed by hand, but this tool can make the process less of a chore.
  • A bale of straw (optional): If you've ever seen yellow straw spread out over the ground, it is a strong indication that someone just planted grass seed under it. People spread straw on top of grass seed because it increases the likelihood of the grass seed sprouting. Straw keeps animals from eating the seeds and it keeps moisture down more effectively.
how to make grass grow from seed

Prepping the soil

Now that you have gathered all of your materials, it is time to get to work. The first thing you will need to do is prepare the soil. This will be done with a hoe or a shovel. You're going to want to break up the soil on top and at least a couple of inches down into the ground. You want the soil to be fine, not chunky or hard. If the soil is very dry, add some water to it before breaking it up. Don't worry too much about not preparing the soil perfectly. There are no predefined rules for what 'prepared' soil is. You just need to work with it until you feel like it is actually capable of growing seed.

Planting the seed

The next step is putting down the seed. This step requires attention to detail, and cannot be performed in a careless manner. If you have no idea how to plant seed, it's alright. Just remember: do not put down too much seed. The old slogan of 'more is better' does not apply to growing grass seed.

The problem with putting down too much seed is that there is a limited supply of nutrients. Just like any living organism in an ecosystem, plants battle amongst each other for nutrients. When you plant too many seeds, they are going to battle against each other and end up not growing at all. A general rule of thumb is, there shouldn’t be two seeds on top of one another when you are planting. This will make more sense when you actually get to this step.

After you plant

After you have planted your seeds, you could potentially be done. The problem with walking away from the project and never looking back is that you may have done all the work and not see any seeds sprout. In learning how to seed your yard, you will want to remember that your work isn't done until you see grass growing.

In order to ensure proper growth, it is a good idea to regularly follow up and see how things are progressing. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may need to do more or less of the following:

  • Watering: Chances are, you will have to water your seed. You don't need to water it a ton and you certainly don't want to water too much, but you want to make sure there is a generous water supply for your seed, the first few days especially.
  • Putting down straw: A lot of people have trouble growing grass. They try it once or twice and then give up because it doesn't work. They think they'll never learn how to plant seed correctly. In all honesty, the problem could be as simple as animals eating your seeds off the ground. Birds in particular, are known to feed on grass seed, especially if you just lay it right out for them! If you've had trouble in the past or just like to use preventative measures, you may want to invest a small amount of money into a bale or two of straw. Straw can be thrown directly onto the ground, over your seed. You can't really mess it up, but aim to throw down just enough so the ground is covered but you can still see it. Again, straw has benefits in regard to water retention. It is not just for fending off animals.
  • Re-seeding: If all else fails, you may find yourself needing to put more seed down. Thankfully, putting the seed down is the easy part. If you find that your grass is not growing at all after a week or two, it wouldn't hurt to throw down another thin layer on top of the previous one. This is why it is important to not put too much down the first time, because you can always add more but it is very difficult to pick up seeds that have already been planted.

Hopefully, you've learned a thing or two about how to seed your yard. Growing grass is a process that isn't too hard and that has a sweet reward at the end. If you are reading this, chances are you already know how great it feels (or want to know how great it feels) to have a full, healthy lawn. Just like anything in life, a good yard takes effort, consistency, and willingness on your part.

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