Once your Katahdin Cedar Log Home is close to completion and most of the outdoor construction activity is over, you’ll want to get started on seeding your lawn.
Should you have a lawn?
If you’re in an area that is subject to drought or low rainfall, or if your lot is well shaded, you may want to opt for an alternative to the traditional grass lawn. Your local garden center can offer up some low water or shade tolerant options to grass lawns. The best times to seed a new lawn are the spring, fall and early winter, depending upon your climate.
Tips for seeding a new lawn
Though many folks opt for sod to cover a new lawn, if you have the time and ambition, doing the seeding yourself can save a lot of money. One of the most important parts of starting a new lawn is preparing the ground for the seed. If you’re not sure about the soil type, you may want to have the soil tested to determine what kinds of soil amendments will provide the best medium for growing grass.
Selecting grass seed
The local garden or lawn care center can help you identify the best species of grass for your area and specific property. Many people opt for a blend of grasses to promote strong growth both initially and in the long term. If water conservation is a factor consider drought-resistant and low water varieties that will require less water once established. Grass types that feature deep root systems will be more drought resistant.
One company, Scotts, found that many people weren’t successful with seeding a lawn because they didn’t water it enough. Their Turf Builder® grass seed uses new Water Smart™ technology to coat the seed with a super absorbent coating to keep the seed moist and help it germinate faster. Their website also offers tips on ways to reduce water consumption in your garden and lawn.
Preparing the soil
You’ll need to weed the area where your lawn will be planted to prevent your grass seedlings from being overrun by crabgrass or other vegetation. If your land is fairly rough still you may want to have the lawn area rototilled to break up the dirt into smaller pieces, about the size of a pea. Remove any large debris or rocks and level out low areas that might collect water in rainstorms. Spread the fertilizer —usually one high in phosphate —over the area, and then add a soil amendment such as compost, manure or other organic matter, and work that into the soil. Rake the area until smooth.
Many experts recommend lightly rolling the lawn to compress the newly “fluffed” soil for optimal germination and root growth. This is easily accomplished with a rented roller filled halfway with water. Resist the temptation to bring in a load of “topsoil,” as this will contain a lot of seeds from weeds and other undesirable plants, as well as the possibility of certain insect pests.
Spreading the seed
Once you’ve chosen the type of seed and prepared the soil, it’s time to spread the grass seed. Using a broadcast or rotary spreader to get an even covering. One expert website we consulted recommended taking four passes over the lawn area, going in a different direction (vertical horizontal and two diagonals) each time for the most even coverage. You’ll want to spread the seed with enough room for the seedlings to sprout and thrive— overseeding may actually cause weaker, thinner grass. Most commercial grass seed have a recommended setting to use on the spreader.