How to sow a new lawn

The first stage in creating a new lawn from seed is to remove the existing weeds and grasses using Roundup weedkiller or by covering the area with landscape sheeting for 6 weeks to kill the weeds and grass. Alternatively if you have the time you can strip any existing turf with a spade stack it into a loam stack allow it to breakdown and use it as a topdressing from the new lawn in the autumn.

The ideal time to establish a new lawn is in the autumn or early spring

After the weed killing is to carry out a light rotovating of the area to become the lawn no deeper than 75 millimetres. The reason you do not want to go any deeper, is that by rotating too deeply it’s possible to bring up weed seeds into the surface of the final seedbed. These weed seeds might have been dormant for more than 10 years. 

Before rotavating it’s also the ideal time to add a handful of Growmore fertiliser per square metre so it is worked into the soil 

The third stage is to create the general levels. After the initial renovation the soil can be moved around quite easily with a rake, garden spade or a shovel to create the basic required levels. 

If the soil is wet or heavy such as clay soil you can add some sharp or grit sand available from a builders merchant to help break up the surface of the soil. Normally we recommend using a builders barrow full per 3 square metres of area. 

The fourth stage is to start to get the final levels. This is done again by raking and by using your feet to tread the soil, so that you can feel the high spots and low areas as you walk around the lawn area. 

Rolling the lawn seed bed will not level the lawn area but has the advantage of showing the high and low spots that can be adjusted by raking.

With this second levelling stage, rake in two directions, you can remove any large stones that you come across over 30 millimetres. With regards to small stones at this stage, it’s not really worth removing stones that are less than 25 millimetres.  As these will be dealt with later. 

The fifth stage is the seeding. Once you’ve achieved the levels, and created a reasonable seed bed, seeding should take place by spreading the seed in two directions. Sometimes it’s helpful to mark out the area with strings into metre square patches.

Seeding is being carried out in the autumn or early winter. A second sowing is recommended in the spring at the end of April, beginning of May, depending on the weather. 

Once the area has been initially seeded it’s a good idea again to either roll or to walk around the area to make sure the seed has good contact with the soil. This is important as if the seed has only light contact it will dry out and not germinate. 

If no rain is forecast for the next two or three days after sowing, watering will help the seed make contact with the soil and begin the germination process. 

The seed will need to be kept damp with watering if you have no rain for 21 days