How to Grow a Lawn Easily

Three Parts:Preparing Your LawnGrowing From SeedGrowing a Lawn From Sod

Everyone wants a perfect lawn. What's better than looking out your front door and seeing lush, green grass? You don't need to be a landscape artist to have the lawn of your dreams. Whether you start from seed or sod, it all comes down to proper planning and good soil.

Part 1
Preparing Your Lawn

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    Pick which grass is best for your climate. Depending on where you live you will have better luck with some grass varieties than others. Grasses fall into two basic categories: warm-season and cool-season.[1]
    • Warm-season grasses will be able to survive a brutal summer and tend to do well in the southern states. Choose from varieties such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Kikuyu.[2]
    • Cool-season grasses handle cold much better than warm-season grasses. They can tolerate freezing temperatures and some drought. Don't expect them to survive the heat or go longer than 4 weeks without water. Kentucky bluegrass is a popular cool-season grass.[3]
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    Know when to start. If you choose a warm-season grass, plant in late-spring. If you choose a cold-season grass, plant in late summer or early fall.[4]
    • If you're going with sod, the time of year doesn't matter as much, though summer may still be too hot.
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    Test your soil. Before you get started planting grass, you'll need to make sure your soil is in good condition. It's a good idea to test your soil. Soil testing will give you an idea of how much fertilizer to use, and what kind.[5]
    • It is difficult to amend soil in an established lawn.[6]
    • If you need to add fertilizer work it into the first 4-6 inches.[7]
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    Prepare your soil. This is a critical step. Soil preparation is the most important part of healthy lawn growth. Your goal is a soil that is loose, rich in organic matter, and able to hold moisture while draining well.[8]
    • Clear the area of all weeds, rocks, and roots. Using a shovel dig up any large objects in the area where you'll be planting grass. Make sure you get rid of all weed roots.[9]
    • You may have to use a chemical weed killer to get rid of weeds completely. If you must use chemicals, refer to the manufacturer for instructions on how much to use.[10]
    • Till your soil either by hand or using a rototiller depending on the size of the area. This is the perfect opportunity to mix any compost or other amendments to your soil.[11]
    • Add gypsum to your soil to improve drainage.[12]
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    Level out the area. Now that you've cleared and tilled the area, it is ready for leveling. Use a garden rake and smooth out the entire area. Fill in any low spots and break up any remaining clumps.[13]
    • While leveling the area it is a good idea to apply a "grade," or slope, away from the house foundation. Applying a grade will help you avoid any water runoff problems in the future.[14]

Part 2
Growing From Seed

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    Spread your seeds. Set your seed spreader to the recommended rate and fill it with half of your seeds. To ensure the best coverage, make the first pass in one direction over the entire lawn. Then, fill the spreader up with the remaining seed and cross over the initial direction. Think of making a crisscross pattern over the area.[15]
    • You may choose to cover the entire area again with an empty spreader to ensure good seed to soil contact.[16]
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    Top-dress your soil. Once you've seeded the entire area, add some peat moss to your soil to set the seeds and help them hold moisture. Using a cage roller, apply a thin layer of peat moss to your seeds.[17]
    • This layer of mulch will help keep your seeds moist during germination. It may also protect them from birds and limit their movement in the event of heavy rain.[18]
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    Water your seeds. Perhaps the best way to water is with an oscillating sprinkler. If you have access to multiple sprinklers set them up in various parts of your yard to wet the entire area.[19]
    • For best results, water your seeds 2-3 times a day for about 5-10 minutes for the first 8-10 days. During this period it is critical that your seeds stay moist. You don't want to over water the seeds, but you do want to encourage germination. Water in the morning to decrease the chances of evaporation.[20]
    • Don't use a strong spray when watering a newly seeded lawn. You run the risk of drowning your seeds or washing them away.[21]
    • When watering your lawn, be aware of any potential rainfall in your area. Take the amount of rain into consideration when watering and aim for about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water a week.[22]
    • If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, you could lose some seed. However, the rain must be heavy enough to move the soil before it can move the seed.[23]
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    Mow your new lawn. When the grass reaches about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) it's time to mow. Make sure the soil is dry when you mow; if it's wet you could pull the grass out of the ground.[24]

Part 3
Growing a Lawn From Sod

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    Buy your sod. Growing a lawn from sod is much more expensive than growing from seed, but much faster. Sod, which comes in rolls, is grass that has been grown for a little over a year. The roots hold the strips together allowing you to put long strips onto your prepared soil.[25]
    • You can plant sod in almost any season, but if you plan on laying sod in the summer, make sure you give it plenty of water.[26]
    • Keep the sod moist and cool while you work with it. Keep a spray bottle handy to keep it from drying out.[27]
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    Lay the first row. Start laying your sod along the longest straight edge in your yard, usually by a fence line or a driveway. Don't walk on the sod while you're laying it and if you do happen to step on it, smooth out the footprints with a rake.[28]
    • Trim any excess sod off with a sharp knife and save it for odd corners.[29]
    • Make sure the sod is smooth as you lay it. You want it flat against the soil so the roots will take.[30]
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    Keep the sod tight. As you start laying the sod, avoid any gaps between pieces. The sod should be snug near hard surfaces, such as pavement or bricks, so that the edges don't dry out.[31]
    • Cut off half of the second piece of sod when you lay it. In doing so, you will create staggered seams, much like brick-work. This will make the seams less noticeable and keep the edges from drying out.[32]
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    Water as you go. New sod needs to stay moist. Once you've put the first few rows down, give your sod a good watering. Take a break to check the moisture every few rows or so.[33]
    • Pay special attention to the edges as they can dry out fast.[34]
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    Fill in the gaps. While it's best to keep the pieces of sod tight against each other, you may still find some gaps. Rather than use small pieces of sod which will dry out too fast, fill the gaps in with potting soil or peat moss.[35]
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    Give your sod a final watering. Once you've finished laying the last of the sod, soak your lawn.[36]
    • Water your sod until the soil beneath is soaking wet. Not only will this allow the roots to take quicker, it will ensure the sod is too wet to walk on.[37]
    • Avoid heavy traffic for the first two weeks as it could disturb the sod and prevent solid roots from forming. After about two weeks, it will be safe to mow.[38]


  • Fertilize after the first mowing. Whether you started from seed or sod, it's important to keep your lawn fertilized.
  • Each grass has different requirements. Pay attention to the specific needs of your grass of choice.
  • After a row of sod is done give it a quick rinse of water just make it moist. Then, after a few weeks, it will be ready to mow and step on.
  • If you happen to lose any seed from heavy rainfall, smooth out the soil when it dries and add more seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Grass Seed or Sod
  • Fertilizer
  • Peat Moss
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Hose or Sprinkler
  • Seed Spreader
  • Gloves

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care