A fabulous expanse of manicured lawn is one of the most satisfying sights for any homeowner. Knowing you laid that beautiful lawn from scratch makes it look even better, and the good news is that growing grass from seed is relatively straightforward, even if you’re not particularly green-fingered.
In this article, we’ll show you how simple it is to grow a stretch of turf that will make you beam with pride every time you look out of the window. If it makes your neighbours green with envy as well, that’s a bonus.
And, of course, all the equipment you’ll need to make it happen with minimal effort is available to hire from us at HSS. So, let’s get to work.
Seed or turf?
That’s the first question when you’re ready to start laying a new lawn. Turfing can be quicker, but it’s a more expensive option. And there’s something wonderfully rewarding about preparing a plot, planting seeds and watching bare earth spring into vibrant green life.
Choose your moment
Mid-spring and early autumn are the best times to seed a lawn, thanks to plenty of moisture and moderate temperatures. autumn is the best of all as the roots have all winter to establish themselves. However, if it’s heading towards late autumn, be sure to sow the seeds at least ten days before any frost is due.
Clear away old grass, weeds and debris
The key to creating a flawless lawn is to purge the area of vegetation, stones and debris thoroughly. Use a sharp spade and a keen eye to remove every trace of old grass or other plants, such as bindweed, daisies and buttercups. Or consider using a turf cutter to make light work of large turfed areas.
If you choose to treat the area with weed killer, make sure it’s a herbicide that acts on the weeds then disappears. Avoid the residual type that stays in the soil, as that will stop the new grass in its tracks.
(Credit: schulzie) URL: https://www.istockphoto.com
Rotavate and enrich the soil
Step three is where the HSS range of gardening and landscaping gear comes into its own. You’ll need to clear and turn over the soil to a depth of around 25 centimetres, and one of our power rotavators is made for the job.
This is the perfect opportunity to cultivate the best soil for grass by digging in plenty of well-rotted manure, compost and topsoil, especially if the earth is sandy. Leave the enriched soil to settle for at least a few days, or better still, a few weeks.
Level, compact, fertilise and rake repeatedly
Now you’re ready for the final phase of preparation before sowing:
- Re-weed to clear any unwelcome plants that took hold while the soil was settling.
- Tread the earth down by walking over it in different directions.
- Check that the lawn area is level, then rake in 70 grams per square metre of general-purpose fertiliser.
- Finally, rake over the ground repeatedly in different directions to create a fine tilth — perfect conditions for grass growth.
Choose good quality seed
There are lots of different types of lawn, and most feature a mix of grass. For an average family lawn, a blend of durable ryegrass, fescue (with smooth texture), and self-repairing meadow grass is a safe bet. The one type of seed to shun at all costs is the cheap type. Low-cost blends are often contaminated with weeds or contain coarse agricultural ryegrass. Only fine or turf ryegrass is suitable for lawns.
If your garden is particularly shady, sunny, wet or dry, ask your garden centre to recommend the correct seed type.
(Credit: schulzie) URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/
Sow your seeds
You should spread the grass seed as evenly as possible. Remember that each seed becomes a separate plant, so they need a bit of growing room. Aim for 25 to 30 grams of seed per square metre.
When seeding a large area, divide it into square metre sections. Split the seed quantity in half and spread that half over the whole area, working in parallel rows lengthways.
Then repeat the process with the other half, working in parallel rows widthways.
After sowing, rake over the ground so that the seeds get a light covering of soil. Soak the ground immediately after sowing, using a hosepipe with a sprinkler attachment.
Wait and water
How long does grass take to grow? It can be an average of 10 to 15 days before the seeds germinate, depending on the temperature, the amount of sunshine and the type you’ve planted. It’s essential to keep the area moist and protect the seeds from birds throughout that period.
Your new lawn can have its first cut when the grass reaches around 7.5 cm tall. Ideally, use a cylinder-bladed mower and remove the front roller to avoid flattening the young grass. Ensure the blades are ultra-sharp.
If you’ve sown in the autumn, you can leave the grass unmowed over winter. If it’s spring, keep mowing every week or so. It’s wise to collect the clippings for the first few mows as they can stifle new grass.
Try to avoid using the lawn as much as possible for the first few months of its young life, and you’ll give the grass the best chance to establish itself.
Learn more before you sow
Now you know all about growing grass from seed, but what if you’re having second thoughts? If you’d like to explore laying turf or creating a low-maintenance lawn, no problem, we’ve got HSS blogs for both of these options too. Read them here.
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