How-To: Overseed a Lawn


It's no easy feat to maintain a "living carpet" level of awesomeness for your lawn. Name another surface that weathers trampling feet, digging dogs, moss invasion and shade. Lawns have it tough. Every few years, whether it’s looking bedraggled or not, overseed your lawn to add some vigor and youth.

What you’ll need


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


overseed callout




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 that follows a few days of rain. Any extra moisture in the soil will make your job a whole lot easier.




Collect the clippings and rake up any moss or detritus. If you need to dethatch, de-that now. Use a dethatching tool, heavy metal rake or mower attachment and remove the matted layer of dead grass stems that accumulate at the base of the grass.




This may be the most time consuming but important step in overseeding a lawn. Grass seed only germinates when it’s made contact with soil. In addition to dethatching and clearing away large debris, you’ve got to take a metal rake to the grass and loosen a good half-inch of soil anywhere you want the seed to grow. Plastic tines can work but metal is better.




Divide the total amount of seed in two. Load half in to a push-style drop spreader to make quick work of a large yard, or a hand-cranked seeder if your lawn is small. Walk in parallel lines up and down your lawn. When that’s done, use the second half of your seed and change directions so you’ve seeded in a crosshatch. Criss-crossing your dispersal ensures an even application.




Using a lawn roller (or your feet) tamp down the seed. This seed needs more contacts than a college grad at a job fair! Once compacted, spread a fine layer of compost, topsoil or coconut coir. You should still be able to see soil underneath it, but a light application will increase the likelihood of germination, keep 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.




Really well. Grass seeds need constant moisture to germinate and grow. On the day you overseed, water to a depth of six inches. For the next two to three weeks, water every day for at least 10 minutes. If it’s particularly warm or dry, water twice a day. Use a light mist or sprinkler so you don’t dislodge the seeds.