How To: Reseeding Your Lawn Step by Step

Step 1. Select the correct turf seed or blend of seeds that is best suited to your lawn’s requirements. Is it sunny or shady? Do you have irrigation or do you need a more drought tolerant lawn seed? Do you require a more durable family lawn? Or are you growing a golf course grade putting green?

The best turf grasses for a West Coast lawn are:

  • Chewings Fescue
  • Slender Creeping Fescue
  • Hard Fescue
  • Rough Bluegrass
  • Kentucky Bluegrass

Common blends available at local stores often break the blends into sun, shade, or even sun/shade mix. Read the label and really get the grass seed that is best suited for your lawn.

Step 2. The first task in either the spring or fall is to mow the lawn shorter than normal or about 1.5 inches tall. Make sure to remove all clippings and any weeds in the lawn area.

Step 3. Hand rake the entire lawn area making sure to remove a good amount of the thatch as well as any other loose materials, and in the process, roughing up the earth. 

Step 4. If the soil is compacted, the most common sign is a pooling of water in areas of the lawn. Then, you must hard rake deeply or aerate the lawn before reseeding.

Step 5. Apply seed with a manual or broadcast spreader, evenly at a varying rate of from 3-4 lbs. per 1000 sq ft. based on your lawn’s seed requirements. I like to carefully hand seed around the garden beds to avoid planting a huge crop of new grass plants in the garden beds.

Step 6. Topdress the entire lawn area with a fine covering of either a sandy soil or straight sand to a depth of 3/16th up to 1/4 inch depth. Use a wheelbarrow and a shovel, scooping and spreading the material across the lawn with a gentle golf club side swing. Gently rake out the soil or sand to level it out, if required.

Step 7. You can either walk all over the lawn or you can roll the seeds and soil with a light grass roller. This allows the grass seeds to grip into the soil, which helps with germination. Loose contact is one of the main reasons that grass seeds do not take.

Step 8. Make sure that the grass seed is lightly watered many times everyday until the seed germinates. If it does not rain then you will need to use a sprinkler or a hand sprayer on a fine or mist setting. As soon as the seeds germinate, which is between 7 and 12 days, you can reduce the amount of watering. Do NOT let the grass dry out as many of the seeds will die.

Step 9. As your existing lawn starts to grow back after 7 to 10 days then you can mow as needed at your normal cutting height with a well-sharpened mower blade. Also, make sure to bag the clippings.

Step 10. Schedule in a regular organic fertilizer program and ongoing maintenance program.

Bonus Tip:  Ordering top dressing material for your lawn.

If your lawn is an average size, say 1000 square feet, you may require a large amount of top dressing soil material. The best move would be to order one cubic yard of lawn soil or sand for delivery. You can search online for suppliers in your area. One yard of material is plenty for a 1000 square foot lawn. For smaller lawns, you can purchase pre-mixed bags of lawn soil at the larger home and garden stores.

We have gone over the steps involved with reseeding or overseeding your lawn. Now get out there, get it done, and you will be blown away by the difference.

Read Part 1: What Is Lawn Reseeding, Why You Should Reseed and When To Do It.