Sowing seeds of good lawn

Attractive: A lovely lawn
Attractive: A lovely lawn
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If your lawn looks tired and tatty and is covered in weeds, moss and bare patches, it might be time to sow a new one.

If your lawn looks tired and tatty and is covered in weeds, moss and bare patches, it might be time to sow a new one.

The advantage of sowing a lawn from seed is obviously the cost - it is much cheaper to sow seed than to buy turves which may not be the exact quality you want and will also deteriorate rapidly if they are not laid as soon as you have bought them.

You can also pick your day to sow. It doesn’t matter if the weather suddenly turns frosty - you can just wait for it to warm up a bit. There is more of an urgency if you buy turf - and if you are having it laid for you, you can’t pick and choose your day.

With lawn seed, you can also select a number of different grasses which will be suitable for particular areas of your garden. If you have children you are likely to need a tougher variety than if you just want a velvety lawn which is rarely set foot upon.

But remember that there is no point in buying a very fine grade unless you are prepared to cut it at least twice a week, feed it, water it and give it all the TLC it needs.

Growing a lawn from seed requires much initial preparation of the soil. It is hard work, but it will be worth it in the end.

You will need to dig the ground over thoroughly, to a spade’s depth. If you have a really big area to sow, it may be worth hiring a rotavator, but make sure you get rid of all the weeds beforehand. Otherwise, a rotavator will simply chop up running roots which will then spread, encouraging weeds to spring up all over the place.

If you have very heavy clay soil, lighten it with grit, which you need to dig in. Rotted manure or compost should be added to light soil to give it some substance. You can level minor humps and bumps as you go, but if the site is seriously uneven, you’ll need to remove the topsoil and stack it somewhere, level off the subsoil and then replace the topsoil layer. Remember when digging that the clods need to be broken down or your lawn will end up uneven. Trample roughly dug earth with your feet and break up hard clods with the back of your fork.

One of the most important jobs when sowing a new lawn is to consolidate the soil, firming the site as you go. Walk in overlapping steps, treading over the whole area with your heels, before sprinkling on a general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or a special lawn fertiliser. Finally, rake over the area and remove any remaining stones and debris, making sure that the surface level is firm.