Seeding! Over-Seeding! Sodding!

how to seeding overseeding sodding guide

No matter how good a shape your lawn is in, you may find it necessary to seed it to fill in bare spots or create a thicker, healthier lawn. Lawns grow thin over time due to a number of factors but can usually be repaired or filled-in easily. Some extreme cases require more drastic solutions but these are very rare.

Spot Seeding and Over-Seeding

The method you use depends on the current condition of the lawn. There are three basic things to consider when deciding how to seed the lawn:

  1. Always use good quality seed. If you buy seed that’s twice as expensive but only need to use half what you would of a lower-quality brand, it’s still a better value.
  2. Provide good soil contact. The soil should be raked and tilled before seeding, even in small spots.
  3. The seed needs to remain well-watered. If it isn’t, it won’t germinate.

Spot Seeding and Overseeding

Spot seeding is an easy repair for small barren areas. Be sure you provide a well-tilled bed for the seed to germinate and cover lightly with tamped-down soil. Over-Seeding is the application of seeds over a wide area. Remove excess thatch and provide good soil contact for the seed, but you will not rake or till when over-seeding. The point here is to “thicken up” the lawn and grow new grass amid the existing. Things will need to be kept amply moist so you might want to consider using a lawn sprinkler for this purpose.

Timing is Important

The timing for seeding is also important. Grass can be seeded and grown anytime but it will require more effort and maintenance in spring and summer due to the heat and ongoing need for water. For this reason, it is recommended that spot seeding is performed in the spring and over-seeding in late fall after all the leaves have been raked.


Sodding involves growing a brand new lawn using pre-grown turf over fresh soil. This should only be done when starting a new lawn or when an existing lawn has become too damaged to repair by any other method. The basic process looks like this:

  1.  Turn and till the soil, removing all roots and weeds
  2. Apply a layer of fertilizer, then a layer of compost
  3. Re-till the soil to mix in the nutrients
  4. Level the soil with a rake
  5. Working from the outside in, lay your sod strip by strip, cutting to fit and seal gaps
  6. Make sure each strip of sod is level. Fill in with topsoil, if needed
  7. Use a water-filled roller to press the new sod into place (you can rent these at garden centers and through landscaping supply stores)
  8. Water every day for several weeks. Try not to walk on the lawn until the roots are set.

Using any of these methods will yield a vibrant, healthy lawn that will flourish for years to come with proper care.