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The lot that we purchased was a nice size for this area. It’s not a huge, sprawling area but it’s certainly enough for the kids (and future dog?) to run around and play. It gives us enough room to set up a swing set for the kids, along with an outdoor living room and outdoor dining room for ourselves. We really love the property, but the lawn was not healthy when we purchased it. In our defense, we bought this place in the heart of winter (with several inches of snow on the ground), so we had no idea the lawn was this dead! However, to be honest, we would have purchased the place anyway even if we knew exactly how bad the grass situation was! That’s how much we love the rest of the property!
Here’s a picture of our lawn right when you walk out of our front door. There were so many bare patches all over our lawn- here are a few!
To hire a professional to plant grass seed can get pricey really quickly. One of our neighbors did just that, and it cost them a few thousand dollars!! However, just like almost everything else in our house (like replacing that sink, painting that wall, setting up the outdoor living room), we wanted to DIY the whole thing! So today, I will share with you our trials and tribulations, hopefully making the process proceed a bit more smoothly for you. All told, I’m really happy with our results. And when I think about how much money we actually kept in our pocket? It puts a big smile on my face!
1. Focus on timing. It is incredibly difficult to plant grass seed during the winter or summer. Spring and fall tend to be the best times to plant seeds. Many experts believe that fall is the optimum time to plant seed, while spring is a close second choice. We planted our seeds during the spring.
2. Find the best grass seed! Grass seed comes in so many different varieties and quality levels. In fact, there are actually many ratings that are designed to evaluate grass seed for the grass color, disease resistance, drought tolerance, etc. Don’t skimp on the quality of grass seed that you purchase. Planting grass seed takes such a big investment of time, so make sure you are setting yourself up for the best final outcome by getting a top-quality grass seed. Different grass species will be appropriate for different parts of the country. This grass seed brand is the one that we used, and we really LOVE the outcome. Make sure you find a grass seed that is suited to your geographic location. Feel free to ask one of the professionals at a local nursery for recommendations!
3. Get the soil prepped! To ensure that the grass can get the best start, it’s important to loosen the top few inches of soil. Remove any sticks or stones and break up any larger soil clumps. If you have a large lot to till, consider getting one of these babies to make your life easier. Level the soil to get rid of any large soil hills or soil troughs. Finally, fertilize the soil with a product designed for grass seed. When planting the seeds, be sure to spread the seed evenly. Use a lawn spreader for large areas.
4. Cover the seeds! Seeds are very delicate and fragile. To keep them protected, lightly rake after planting so that 1/4 inch of soil covers the grass seed. Some people recommend placing straw on top of the seed to further protect the seed from drying out, but we didn’t take this extra step.
5. Water often! This is probably the single most important step and is perhaps the one where most amateurs fail. Keeping the grass seed moist for 6-8 weeks is essential to promote germination. We watered the grass lightly but frequently (2x / day) for almost two months! It was a lot of work, since we don’t have underground sprinklers. However, it was worth it to establish a healthy lawn!
After 6-8 weeks, here is the picture of the front of our lawn!
Want to save these tips for another time? Pin the image below and check out this amazing Before & After transformation!
Want to see more backyard projects & inspiration? Check out these posts below.