lush lawn

How to Overseed a Lawn

It's no easy feat to maintain a "living carpet" level of lawn awesomeness. Name another surface that endures trampling feet, digging dogs, invading moss & more. Every few years, whether it’s looking bedraggled or not, overseed your lawn to add vigor & verdancy.

What You'll Need

  • Grass seed
  • Lawn mower
  • Dethatching rake
  • Metal rake
  • Drop- or hand-crank spreader
  • Compost, top soil or coconut coir
  • Optional: Lawn roller

Overseeding simply means adding grass seed onto an existing lawn.

Six Steps to Overseeding A Lawn

holding grass seed

1. Pick a Windless Day

Grass seeds are teeny tiny. Seeding in a breeze is tantamount to leaf blowing in a windstorm; It’s not going to work out as well as it could have. Choose a day after a few days of rain. The extra moisture in the soil will make your job that much easier.

mowing the lawn

2. Mow the Lawn Low

Shorter grass gives seeds a better chance of reaching soil. After mowing, collect clippings and rake up moss or detritus. Dethatch lawns of moss & dead grass if you haven’t in a few years. Use a dethatching tool, heavy metal rake or mower attachment to remove matted dead grass or moss at the base of grass blades.

raking soil

3. Rake the Soil

If you didn’t dethatch, you should still do this. Though time-consuming, you’ll get way-better results. A vigorous raking session will loosen soil & clear the way for easy seed penetration. Grass seed only germinates in soil, so you’ll grow more if you rake first.

spreading seed

4. Get to Seedin'

Divide the total amount of seed in two. Load half into a spreader: A push-style spreader is best for big yards, a hand-crank model is super for littler lawns. Walk in parallel lines as you distribute over your lawn. Then use the remaining seed to cover horizontally. This crosshatch dispersal ensures an even application.

lawn roller

5. Tamp Seeds into Soil

Using a lawn roller, or your feet, tamp down the area to help seeds make contact with the soil. Then spread a light layer of compost, topsoil or coconut coir. You should still be able to see soil underneath it. This layer increases germination, keeps birds from eating your hard work and, if you’re seeding on an incline, it’ll keep the seed in place while it does its thing.


6. Water Well for Weeks

Grass seed needs constant moisture to germinate & grow. On the day you overseed, gently water to a depth of six inches, being careful to not wash away seeds. For the next two to three weeks, water daily for 10 minutes at least. If it’s particularly warm or dry, water twice a day.