Grass seed is the cheapest way to create a new lawn. The team at Turfonline offer advice on choosing and sowing grass seed, and guidance around how long it takes for grass seed to grow.

The 8 stages in creating a new lawn from grass seed

  1. Clear the area of vegetation and debris
  2. Dig or rotovate the soil to a depth of at least 15cm. Bring in fresh topsoil if necessary
  3. Rake and level the surface until you have a fine tilth
  4. Incorporate some pre-seeding/turfing fertiliser
  5. Choose the right type of grass seed for your lawn
  6. When sowing the grass seed, apply an even layer that isn’t too thick. It takes between 5 and 30 days for grass seed to germinate (dependant on a variety of factors)
  7. Keep the soil moist and protect from birds until germination has kicked in and the grass seeds are growing strongly
  8. Your new lawn can have its first cut when the grass reaches around 7.5cm tall

Clear the area of any vegetation and debris

Any plants, weeds and remains of an old lawn need to be taken away before you can create a new lawn by sowing grass seed. Either use a sharp spade to lift old turf and plants from the surface, or apply a systemic weedkiller such as Roundup. If you choose weedkiller, it will take 3 weeks or so to kill the roots and leaves of the plants.

family lawn

A family lawn needs to cope with all sorts of activities. Choose a grass seed that will grow into a hardwearing lawn.

Dig or rotovate the soil

For a really strong, healthy lawn, the grass plants need to be able to send their roots deep into the ground. Digging the soil breaks up any compaction and opens up the structure so that water can penetrate and roots can grow. The time it takes for grass seed to grow properly will improve.

Rake and level the soil surface

A bumpy lawn will be difficult to mow so this stage of ground preparation is crucial for a beautiful lawn in the future. Before sowing grass seed, remove any large stones and old roots.

Once your lawn-to-be is nice and level, firm it down with your feet. A fluffy seed bed will sink whenever you walk on it. Unless the area is firmed down at this stage, you’ll have footprint sized depressions all over your lawn.

preparing soil for grass seed

Preparing soil for grass seed

Incorporate some pre-seeding feed

Apply a granular feed to the surface of your soil and gently rake it in. This will ensure there is plenty of goodness in the ground to help your new grass plants to thrive.

The Turfonline team recommends Rapid Roots which is just bursting with essential plant nutrients. Rapid Roots will guarantee that grass seed germination is completed with premium results; the grass seed will grow in no time.

Choose the right type of grass seed for your lawn

There are many different types of grass seed available to buy. All that choice can be quite confusing. For a family lawn, select a seed mix that contains

  • Perennial ryegrass for durability
  • Fescue grasses for a velvety texture
  • Smooth stalked meadow grass for an element of self repair.

This premium grade grass seed is ideal for a hardwearing lawn 

For a partially shaded garden, Shadesman is a good choice of grass seed.

Sow seed evenly but not too thickly

Don’t be too generous with grass seed

The biggest mistake that most people make when sowing grass seed is to put too many seeds in too small an area. It doesn’t need to be slathered on thickly. Each seed will make a plant. Each plant needs room to grow and plenty of daylight. When plants are too close together they become sickly and weak. Sometimes a fungal disease will attack crowded seedlings and kill them. Just like salt on your chips – it’s better to go sparingly and then add later if you think it needs it.

25 – 30 grams per square metre is the recommended sowing rate for grass seed.

Lightly run the rake over the surface to part cover the grass seed. Grass seed does not need to be buried deep in the soil, a couple of millimetres deep is plenty.

Keep the soil moist until the grass is growing strongly

All plants need water. As soon as you have finished sowing grass seed, give the soil a good soak. Use a sprinkler attachment on your hosepipe – the water needs to fall gently onto the soil, otherwise it could wash the seed away.

Don’t let the soil dry out until the grass is growing really strongly. If you’re lucky, Mother Nature will help you out with some rain.

How long does grass seed take to grow?

It all depends on the weather but provided the soil is damp and warm (above 6 degrees celcius), you can expect to see green shoots within 10-14 days.

It takes around 6 months until the plants are strong enough for heavy traffic so please be gentle with your lawn in the first few months.

When to give your new lawn its first cut

Mow your new lawn when the grass is 7.5-8.5 cm long. It’s important that your mower blades are nice and sharp and that you only cut off the top 1cm of growth. It’s best to collect the clippings for the first few cuts as they could suffocate the young plants if they are left on the surface.

For help and advice

The team at Turfonline are always happy to answer your questions on any aspect of lawn growing.  Here’s how to contact us.

Order grass seed online

Buy pre-seeding fertiliser online

Check out our range of topsoils for grass seed.

Useful information for anyone creating a new lawn

Seeding or turfing? Which is the best way to create a lawn

Growing a lawn in a shaded garden