Sowing and laying lawn: Instructions and tips

A well-maintained, green lawn is the pride of every garden owner. If you don’t want to use a ready-made turf, you need to pay attention to the choice of lawn seeds, sowing and subsequent care. With our detailed instructions including valuable tips, you will successfully lay your new lawn.

Planning the new lawn

The basic requirement for a beautiful lawn is a well-prepared soil. When laying out the area, you should take into account that stones, trees and minor unevenness could make it difficult for you to care for the lawn later. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid or eliminate such difficulties if possible.

A lawn should be continuously maintained and, above all, regularly mowed. On average, the lawn is mowed 15 to 20 times a year. Therefore, the edges of the area should also be well thought out. For example, lawn edging stones are popular – they look beautiful and make it easier to drive the lawn mower.

Choice of lawn seed

One of the most important factors for a healthy green area is the choice of the right lawn seeds. You need to pay attention not only to their quality, but also to the purpose of use.

If you use seeds of inferior quality, you risk later appearing lawn diseases, because cheap seeds are often infected with fungi. You can read about which diseases can occur in our guide Lawn Diseases: Tips for detection and control. Therefore, it is better to invest a little more money and buy high-quality lawn mixtures.

Depending on the location, type of use and intended use, you should choose the appropriate lawn seed. Do you prefer an English lawn or will the area later serve as a playground for the children? Is the grass mainly exposed to the blazing sun or is it in the shade all day?

A rough distinction is made between four different types of lawn:

Utility turf

  • offers medium tread resistance and dense grass growth

Play turf

  • offers high tread resistance and good regeneration

Sports turf

  • offers very high tread resistance and good regeneration

Ornamental turf

  • offers low tread resistance and very dense grass growth

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In addition, there are other types of turf suitable for more demanding conditions. Among them are, for example:

  • Shade turf
  • Drought resistant dry grass
  • Parking lot and gravel lawn

By the way, a lawn seed is always sold as a lawn mixture. Instead of just one type of grass, it generally contains 3 to 5 different varieties in order to be able to guarantee the promised properties. An overview of the common standard seed mixtures (RSM) as well as a sample table for estimating the required seed quantity can be found in the guide Beautiful lawn through the right lawn seed.

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Seeding – preparation, timing and temperature

Before seeding, the soil should be carefully leveled, as uneven surfaces make lawn care much more difficult. This is best done with the help of a lawn or garden roller. Furthermore, the area must not be too dry before sowing. It is therefore very important that the soil is sufficiently watered a few days before. Even after that, the fresh seed wants to be watered regularly, but not too much.

Furthermore, the time for sowing must be well chosen. It is essential to protect the young lawn from frost, otherwise it will freeze. So, planting the lawn seeds can be done only when no cold temperatures below 10 degrees are expected in the following two to three weeks. Therefore, a good period is in the spring between March and May.

How much lawn seed should be sown per square meter, you can find out in the description of the seed. The amount specified there is about 20 to 25 grams per square meter for very good mixtures.

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By the way, you can sow by hand, which distributes the seed quite unevenly, by hand spreader or very evenly by spreader truck. You should then use the lawn roller again to compact the fresh seed firmly with the soil. This also reduces the risk that the seed will be eaten by birds.

Do not walk on the lawn

The grass seeds contained in lawn mixtures often have different germination dates. Therefore, while the first sprouts may already be visible, other seeds may still need a few weeks to sprout.

During this time, you should avoid walking on or otherwise disturbing the area so as not to trample any of the young grass plants. An uneven lawn could be the case afterwards.

Watering the lawn

In order for the young lawn plants to develop well, balanced watering of the entire area is necessary. Make sure the soil is neither too dry nor too wet.

In the summer months, avoid watering during midday, as the sun is strongest at this time and water evaporates quickly. The water droplets on the stalks can also cause the plants to literally burn. Therefore, it is recommended to move watering to the morning and evening hours.

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Our expert tip: If you don’t have time for regular watering, you can have this job done by an irrigation computer and sprinkler systems connected to it, such as lawn sprinklers.

In our guide Lawn watering – how to water your lawn optimally you will find more tips on the optimal water supply in the garden.

Mowing and cutting

When the new lawn plants have reached a height of about 6 to 7 centimeters, you can mow for the first time. This is usually the case after 3 to 4 weeks. As a rule, you should not cut more than a third of the blade length, so that the lawn plants still have enough strength to grow.

You can therefore set the cutting height of your lawn mower to the recommended 4 centimeters for utility lawns without hesitation. It is best to use a catcher bag for the first few mowings so that no clippings can hinder the young plants from growing.

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Once the lawn carpet has finished developing, you can switch to mulching or leave the mowing to a robotic mower.

Our expert tip: Even with later lawn care, always make sure not to mow the lawn too short, or it will burn out on very hot days or die during a dry spell.

If you have not managed to shorten the lawn for some time, this should be done gradually. Read also our tips for mowing long lawns after the vacation.

Further lawn care

Once the young plants have developed well and a closed carpet of grass has formed, further care is required. This mainly includes the removal of weeds and moss, which can form over time. For smaller lawns, these can still be weeded by hand; for larger ones, the use of a scarifier is helpful. It removes the unwanted plants and thus ensures better aeration of the lawn roots. Occasional fertilizing can also have a positive effect on growth.

Summary – step by step instructions

The optimal time to completely replant a lawn is in the spring – between March and May, depending on temperature and weather. A soil temperature of around 10 °C and above is ideal.

The following steps are helpful when laying a lawn

  1. First, the area must be cleared of weeds and dug up.
  2. Then, you should straighten the ground with the help of a lawn roller and remove large rocks and soil, as they would interfere with mowing later. In addition, large stones can contribute to the fact that the grass may not spread evenly. If necessary, additional sifting of the soil can be done to remove even very small stones.
  3. Water the soil a few days before seeding to create an optimal foundation for the seeds.
  4. After that, the sowing of the lawn takes place. When doing this, also sprinkle a small layer of soil over the seeds so that they are adequately protected from birds. A tillage roller further compacts the soil.
  5. Avoid walking on or otherwise tilling the lawn for the next three to four weeks.
  6. Provide adequate watering in the weeks following to allow the small plants to thrive.
  7. From 6 to 7 centimeters in culm length, you can shorten the young lawn to about 4 centimeters for the first time.
  8. Should weeds form, they must be removed immediately so that the new lawn can develop unhindered.

The cost of lawn seed

The cost of a newly laid lawn varies depending on the quality of the lawn seed used and, of course, the size of the area. One kilogram of seed costs between 3 and 20$, although more expensive mixtures do not necessarily have to be of higher quality.

In the product description of the seed you will find the recommended sowing rate per square meter. This is also where the difference between bad and good lawn seeds often reveals itself. While you can get by with 20 to 25 g of seed per square meter on average for a high-quality seed mixture, the amount required for cheap seed is considerably higher.

Our expert tip: When buying lawn seed, pay attention not only to the price per kilo, but above all to the quantity required per square meter. Otherwise, a supposedly cheap mixture may end up being more expensive than a high-quality product.


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