A fantastic lawn isn’t as difficult as you think and doesn’t need to be costly either. Armed with the right information, you can figure out when the best time to sow grass seed is, how to choose it, sow it, and look after it. Get to grips with the basics with our tips and tricks.
When to sow grass seed
If you are wanting a new lawn, you’re likely impatient to start, but the key to success is knowing the best time to sow grass seed. The best time to do it is between late summer and mid-autumn. There’s a few reasons for this: firstly, the soil is warm and damp from rain, which provides the ideal environment for your seed to germinate. Another advantage is there’s less competition from weeds around this time of year.
If the ground is drier than usual for this time of year water the lawn after sowing seed and keep moist until the lawn is established.
If you missed the chance to sow your grass seed in autumn, you can also try in mid-spring, but you should be prepared to tend to your lawn and give the grass plenty of water.
The worst time of year to sow grass seed is summer. It’s too hot and dry - the seeds are more likely to shrivel up and die.
One of the advantages of seed over turf is it’s easy to cover difficult areas like slopes and corners, and you can choose from a range of different seed mixes depending on what your needs are.
If you’re sowing a new lawn for the first time, products like Miracle-Gro EverGreen Super Seed Lawn Seed, Miracle-Gro EverGreen Fast Grass Lawn Seed and Miracle-Gro EverGreen Multi Purpose Lawn Seed are versatile and hard-wearing.
You can also choose from a range of more specialist mixes, like Miracle-Gro EverGreen Luxury Lawn Seed, which uses a sports-grade seed, or Miracle-Gro EverGreen Shady Lawn Seed, that’s designed to thrive in more shady locations.
You can also choose from low-maintenance seed that comes not just with seed but also controlled time-released fertiliser and soil enricher to help your lawn grow thick and healthy.
Preparing your lawn
To give your seed the best chance to grow evenly, first you need to prep your lawn. We recommend killing off the old lawn before any cultivation. Just skimming off the old grass can leave behind weed roots which will grow again to re-infest the new lawn. Clear all debris off the lawn such as stones or roots and rake the soil flat to give you an even surface to work with. You can do this by forking over the surface with a rake or level.
Next, firm the soil by walking over it, then repeat the process. If you are working with sandy soil, you’ll want to add lawn soil to help hold moisture better as well.
A couple of days before you sow your grass seed it’s also a good idea to rake in a small amount of general lawn fertiliser such as Miracle-Gro Growmore Garden Plant Food at 35gm/sqm a few days before sowing seed. This will help prepare the soil and give your grass the best chance of growing.
Sowing the seeds
Take some time to read the instructions of your seed packets, as different mixtures have different requirements. Be sure to follow them as closely as possible.
Divide the area into small plots so you can easily keep track of where you’re working and evenly distribute the seed. Using a lawn spreader will help with distribution. Sow half the seeds over the surface in rows going lengthways, then repeat with the other half of the seed mix, working in rows going widthways.
Alternatively, if you have a spreader with a half seed rate employ this setting on your spreader.
Once that’s finished, rake the whole area to make sure your seed is distributed evenly across the soil.
After sowing the lawn seed water in and keep moist until established - do not rely on rainfall alone.
Caring for your lawn
Watching your lawn grow is one of the most satisfying parts of the process.
The warmer the ground is, the faster the germination process will happen, but expect it to take 2-3 weeks. Try to make sure the ground is disrupted as little as possible during this time.
When the new grass is about 7.5cm high cut off the top ⅓ with a sharp mower blade. Cutting the grass will encourage it to send out more shoots to thicken up the sward.
In the first six months, tend to any weeds by hand and avoid using grass feed or weed product. Weed seeds from the soil will germinate with the grass seed, most will be annual weeds which will die out with cutting, and in the winter. Perennial weeds can be treated when the lawn is established.