Growing grass from seeds is one of the most economical ways to grow a lawn at home. From a small box of seed you can typically sow a new lawn up to 50 metres square* or more! The trick to growing a successful lawn from seed is in preparation and care. It’s also important to sow at the right time and this will help lawn seed grow quickly and establish faster.
Early autumn or spring are ideal times to grow a lawn from seed. Most lawn seeds germinate within 7 days, but this can take longer depending on the seed type and climatic conditions. With the right care, the lawn should be established within 12 weeks. While you won’t have an instant lawn like you would with rolled turf, the cost to turf the same sized area would be significantly higher than it would be with seed.
*This is dependent on the size and volume of the product. Please refer to product label for full details on coverage.
Lawn falls into two main categories: cool season grass or warm season grass. As obvious as it sounds, cool season grasses – perennial rye, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, bent – thrive in cool conditions and warm season grasses – couch, kikuyu, buffalo, zoysia – thrive in warm conditions. Most Australian backyards have warm season grasses as they’re tough, self-repairing, readily available as turf rolls, and generally require less watering. Warm season grasses can suffer in winter though, especially in colder areas where frost is expected. However, depending on the level of care, they can bounce back in spring.
Warm season grasses are not the most shade tolerant though, and this is typically where cool season grasses shine. Cool season grasses, particularly the improved varieties of perennial rye and tall fescue, are adaptable to varying sun-shade conditions. They can become heat stressed and brown off in summer though, but you can assist by giving the lawn a light mist – aka syringe cycle – on very hot days. This will help protect the leaf blades during the hotter parts of the day.
You will find lawn seed of most lawn varieties, except for buffalo grass. Many lawn seeds also come in blends that include a mix of cool season and warm season grasses; this takes advantage of the strengths of each grass type. It’s important to note the differences in texture and colour of cool versus warm season grasses. Cool season grasses are often finely textured and grow more upright, unlike warm season grasses that typically have wider leaf blades and a spreading growth habit.
What’s the best lawn seed for you? Walk around the neighbourhood and see if you like a particular look or variety. Ask homeowners about how much care is involved, and this will give you an idea about how much time, effort, and money is required for upkeep.
Both lawn types and lawn varieties have their own pros and cons. For example, buffalo and zoysia are more shade tolerant than couch or kikuyu, but perennial rye and tall fescue are by far the most superior in terms of shade tolerance. For more information, see our guide on Varieties of Turf, then view the Yates Lawn Seed Range to see what best suits your needs.
Measure the area to calculate how much seed is required. The product packaging will indicate the coverage rate. Tip! A good practice is to purchase 20 per cent more seed than required for your lawn area, in case there are issues with external factors such as application or watering.
Image above: steel or metal rakes are ideal for soil cultivation
Spread Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Lawn Food evenly over the area and cultivate the soil to a depth of 10-15 cm. Rake to level.
Tip: Leave this to sit for 7-14 days to allow for any weed growth and control as needed.
Lightly rake the area one way to create furrows.
Image above: soil furrows - shallow grooves raked into the soil surface
For even coverage, scatter half the seeds in a north-to-south direction and the other half in an east-to-west direction. Only use as much lawn seed as is required, otherwise you may end up with patchy growth.
Water with a fine mist spray to keep the soil moist at all times. You may need to do this several times a day, especially with hot, dry and/or windy conditions.
Water regularly until the lawn is well established. If there are any patchy areas due to uneven sowing or insufficient watering in areas where the soil tends to dry out faster, resow in those areas and provide more care, if required.
Image above: use a sprayer gun on gentle shower or fine mist spray setting
Mow the lawn when the grass is 5-6 cm tall, just to remove the top 2 cm off the top. As the lawn matures, the blades can be gradually lowered.
Feed your new lawn with a complete fertiliser once it has established – typically after 12 weeks. Try Yates Lawn Fertiliser as a premium formula contains fast and slow release nutrients - one application feeding for 12 weeks.