Not simply a massive cost-saver, growing grass from seed can also give a level of satisfaction that’s hard to obtain from rolling out your load of instant lawn. And when done right, it can be far less time-demanding than many people might assume.
By following just a few simple steps, you can be enjoying a beautifully covered front yard in a matter of weeks.
Choosing Your Grass
A few basic factors will determine the ideal grass type for your garden.
What’s The Climate Like?
The ideal grass for your situation will depend on what sort of climate you have. Generally, grasses can be split into 2 groups – Cool Season Grasses and Warm Season Grasses.
Cool Season types are generally best planted in late summer/early autumn as their rapid growing season is mid-to-late autumn. Areas that experience cold winters and mild summers are best suited.
Warm Season grasses should be planted in the spring so as to capitalise on the vigourous growth they experience in summer. Mild winters and hot summers are the order of the day as these strains generally enjoy a good dose of sunlight, and aren’t particularly fond of frosts.
What Are You Looking For?
So within the span of grasses that will thrive in your climate, what do you need from your grass? Questions need to be asked in order to pinpoint the best choice, such as:
- Form or function? Will your lawn be purely for display, or do you want to run around with the kids on it?
- Is your yard shaded or exposed to full sun?
- How often are you willing to mow? Some grasses grow quickly and establish themselves soon after planting, but may need to be mowed weekly to be kept in check.
- How is your yard’s drainage? Between drought-tolerant types and those engineered to survive waterlogging, work out what conditions the grass might face at your place.
- The amount of seed required for your backyard will change depending on the type. Mckays shows the required amount for each type on the website.
Prepare Your Soil
So you’ve got a fresh bag of perfect seed in your hands. Don’t go throwing the stuff on the ground just yet. First we need to make sure the seed gets the best possible start in life.
Firstly you’ll need to till the soil, breaking up its top layer to allow your seeds to take root. You can either do this by rake or hoe, or for larger areas, by way of hiring a tilling machine. You’ll also need to remove any rocks and sticks from the soil.
Then it’s a matter of levelling the ground, ensuring water won’t pool in any areas after rain. Add topsoil to lower patches, then run the tiller or a rake over to blend in the surrounding soil.
The addition of a good lawn fertiliser to the soil will also give the seed the best possible chance of taking root. Blend it into your topsoil prior to seeding.
Plant Your Seed
Okay, your little patch of soil is looking pristine. Let’s get something growing in it!
Firstly, you’ll need to scatter the seed. Scattering by hand is fine (and economical), but if you’ve got a larger area to cover you may want to think about renting a mechanical seeder or lawn spreader. It’s tempting to overseed your lawn, but stick to the instructions given to you by Mckays. Overseeding will lead to a thin, unhealthy covering, as seeds will be competing for the available nutrients.
Once you’ve seeded, it’s just a matter of covering your seeds with a thin layer of topsoil, in order to protect them from birds and the elements. This can again be done by hand, or for larger areas, a cage roller.
Once covered, water your seeds using the mist setting on your hose until the soil is damp throughout. You’ll need to repeat this daily until your grass sprouts to a good 4-5cm.
For the first few weeks you’ll also have to resist the temptation to throw yourself onto your new patch. Keep people and pets off until it’s taken a good hold.
Maintain Your New Turf
After the first few weeks you will still have to water your lawn regularly, but scale it back from every day to a few times a week. Be careful to avoid heavy watering after rain though, as you may waterlog the soil.
Mow the lawn when the grass gets to 10cm. And feel free to leave clippings on the lawn, as your new turf is particularly cannibalistic.
If you’ve planted your lawn at the right time, after 6 weeks you should be getting towards your variety’s peak growing season. Re-fertilise at this point for healthy growth for the rest of the season.
Now you’ve got nothing left to do but grab an ice-cold beverage, sit back, and enjoy the well-earned fruits of your labour.