Step 7: Rake in the grass seed

Take a plastic leaf rake, turn it upside down, and use the back of the tines to gently work the seeds into the soil.

Make short, light strokes. Avoid long sweeping motions, which can redistribute the seeds and cause the grass to grow in uneven patches.

Tip: Don't compact the seeds with a weighted roller because it will create depressions that collect water.
Ask TOH users about Lawn Care

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
      Pointed shovel,
      to remove rocks and to disperse sand and compost
    • rotary tiller
      Rotary tiller,
      rents for $50 to $75 per day
    • wheelbarrow
    • walk-behind spreader
      Walk-behind broadcast spreader,
      for applying lime and fertilizer; rents for $10 to $20 a day
    • metal garden rake
      Metal garden rake
    • hand spreader
      Handheld seeder/spreader,
      for dispersing grass seed
    • plastic rake
      Plastic leaf rake,
      for working grass seed into the soil
    • oscillating sprinkler
      Oscillating sprinkler

    Shopping List


    to test the pH level of the soil. Do-it-yourself soil kits are sold at garden shops and hardware stores for less than $15, or for about $10 more you can contact your local extension service for a mail-in kit that takes about two weeks for results.

    2. SAND

    to mix with existing soil; about 3 cubic yards covers 1,000 square feet

    3. COMPOST

    to condition soil before seeding; you’ll need 3 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet

    4. PULVERIZED LIME, peat moss, or sulfur

    to correct the pH of soil; you’ll need lime if your soil is acidic, peat moss if it’s slightly alkaline, and sulfur if it’s very alkaline.


    use a 12-25-12 mix; the numbers refer to the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium. You’ll need about 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.


    about 4 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet